written by Jamie Anderson
June 26th, 2017
I’ve seen Moana about four times…maybe five. Six? And oh. My. Gosh. I love it so much. Moana came out in 2016 and is the newest Disney Princess movie. But Moana is unlike any other Disney princess that has ever been on the screen.
Moana Is The Hero
In most Disney movies (notable exceptions are Brave and Mulan and… kind of Frozen) the men save the day. Even if the female character(s) are badass and can handle themselves, the men usually push them out of the spotlight. This is called the Trinity Syndrome.
“The Dissolve” explains it like this: “For the ordinary dude to be triumphant, the Strong Female Character has to entirely disappear into Subservient Trophy Character mode. This is Trinity Syndrome à la The Matrix: the hugely capable woman who never once becomes as independent, significant, and exciting as she is in her introductory scene”.
But in Moana, she is the protagonist, and eventually the person who saves the world. (Spoilers) She is the one who puts back the heart of Te Fiti back, stopping the darkness.
Yeah, Maui helps, but he doesn’t save the world like he was originally supposed to. He helps. He’s the supporting character.
There is No Love Interest
Sure, love in a movie is cute and sometimes funny, but it’s in just about every Disney movie. Usually, it’s the only thing the female characters do. They fall in love. That is their purpose. Even Rapunzel, the lovable lead in Tangled falls in love during her life-changing adventured to find out who she is. But in Moana, there is no love interest. It’s never brought up. She doesn’t say love is bad or she doesn’t want to marry, it’s just not there. Instead, she has a fun, platonic relationship with Maui, almost like a sister-brother relationship.
Moana (and other characters) are Properly Proportioned and Animated
Disney Princesses are always thin. Skinny hips, bigger boobs, thigh gaps, you know what I’m talking about it. Skinny Minnies. But that isn’t realistic at all. That tradition changes in Moana: she looks like a teenage girl…because she is one! Thighs, hips, muscular arms. Her parents, who are older, had wrinkles and laugh lines. They had tattoos and piercings. They looked like people! Yay!
Moana is Not White
If you do some research, you know that a lot of the Disney stories originate from different places in the world, which is great. But there is not a lot of diversity, particularly in casting for the voice actors. Moana is the first Polynesian “princess.”
(Technically, daughter of the village chief. Anyways…) Disney is slowly expanding their stories to include and focus on women and girls of color. Shout out to Hawaiian-born, American actress Auli’i Cravalho who voices Moana. Hurray!
Lastly, Moana is Actually a Good Leader
The princesses that are born into it are never seen being taught how to lead. We just assume the man in their life is going to take over? Lame! In Moana, we see her being taught to lead. And she’s good at it. She accepts her role, too. She solves problems, saves her island (and the world), teaches everyone how to sail on the open ocean, thinks of her people, and is shown teaching children, saving animals, and helping others through pain. Do you see what I’m saying?
In conclusion, I love Moana. By far, she’s my favorite Disney Princess. If you haven’t seen it yet, you have to.
Photo Credit below. Moana vs. Ariel. Featured photo from Google Photos.