sovay: (I Claudius)
sovay ([personal profile] sovay) wrote 2017-08-12 04:04 am (UTC)


I don't mean this sarcastically: the differing perspectives on the same material are instructive. For example, one of the reasons I liked that Moana's conflicts were not gender-based (her father isn't overprotective because she's a daughter rather than a son, Maui even at his most obnoxious picks on her youth, her inexperience, and her humanity instead of her gender) was specifically because sexism is so often used to feed into racism: ah, yes, these silly primitive people, you see, they don't know how to appreciate their women and that's why our heroine is so unhappy in her home culture, but don't worry, by the end of the story they'll have invented white Western-style feminism and everything will be fine; it felt positive to me that Moana avoided even getting near that trope. But I understand that for Fangirl Jeanne it just felt like a gloss over the historical reality of gender dynamics that functioned differently from those of the white American mainstream; it was romanticization at worst, a missed opportunity at best. I liked Moana not having a romantic interest because it is important to me to have stories where love and desire are not the only motivations in view; nevertheless, the playing field of who is shown to deserve love and reciprocated desire is still not level. The coconut/Kakamora issue that the Smithsonian article points out went entirely past me—I figured if anything they were coconuts so that the film could include a pirate sequence without maligning any particular ethnic group, whoops. (I'm amused I wasn't the only person who thought of Call It Courage. Also not by a Pasifika writer.) None of these things means that I don't still have "Shiny" stuck in my head.

So once again, yes, more diverse media, both brilliant and only kind of okay. It won't solve all the problems, but it will reduce the zero-sum.

Thank you for the link to Opetaia Foa'i's live performance of "We Know the Way."

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