Okay so I have read some of this conversation as it is on my tumblre feed, and I would like to comment. As I’m continuously learning how to be an ally, I see things your posts that are really problematic Leny. First of all, too often white people get offended when they are called out on something, get defensive, and then refuse to listen. It becomes about /you/ rather than the people that are actually experiencing oppression. As a white person, you DON”T get to decide what is racist and what isn’t. When you feel defensive, why don’t step back and reflect why exactly you you feel that way, and then listen with a clearer mind what the person is actually saying? And saying that people exaggerate racism in Disney movies? Really? There is a lot of media critiques and written articles that focus on the racism and sexism in Disney movies. Your focus was just on noting the ‘blond haired blue eyed princesses’ but Snow White, Ariel, and Belle are all still white. And yes, there have been more POC princesses, but those are still rife with racial and ethnic stereotypes, and don’t even get me started on the problems with the movie Pocahontas.
So I would advise Leny, that instead of trying to make yourself out to be the victim and closing your mind, just open it up and try to actually listen and learn. Just because something seems a certain way to you doesn’t make it so, and people of colour are the ones who know best when it comes to issues of racism. Whitewashing is a general problem in the media and history, and to not acknowledge so is contributing to that oppression. Just because some progress has been made doesn’t mean it is anywhere close to where it should be.
<snipping out everything else because oh my god>
Ok, yes, I’m being obtuse and stubborn about this shit right now, I just realized I’ve been doing it so I’m going to stop, and get back to my original, and primary, complaint. Which isn’t that criticism is a bad idea period, it’s that if you’re going to criticize, be both specific, and FAIR AND ACCURATE about it so that it’s constructive criticism instead of over-dramatic hate. The example of the text in the image of the original post is one of the over-dramatic things. Saying “the typical Disney princess is white/blonde/blue eyed” is just downright inaccurate and misleading to people who don’t think about it for themselves (unfortunately that’s a lot of people) and realize that black-haired, brown-eyed Disney princesses actually outnumber blonde-haired, blue-eyed ones (Snow White, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana all have black hair and brown eyes, making 5 against the 4 that actually fit the “typical disney princess” described above: Aurora, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and now Elsa… and then there are the redheads). It’s overstating the level of racism that exists in Disney princess movies as a whole, and encourages people to forget about the gorgeous and brilliant and generally really damn amazing non-white Disney princesses that already exist in favor of saying, (effectively) “make a non-white princess for once, damnit!” It’s not “for once”, they’ve done it. More than once, several times in fact. You wanna see MORE of that, that’s great, but maybe say “I’d really like another dark-skinned princess like Tiana/Jasmine/Pocahontas/Mulan” instead of (again effectively) “FUCK YOU I DON’T WANT ANOTHER WHITE PRINCESS”. No need to be rude about it, rudeness is NOT constructive criticism.
And then calling it “whitewashing” to have a character that has good logical reasons for being white… because calling it whitewashing implies that the character’s whiteness is unrealistic and entirely for purposes of erasing POC. Which, I mean… there are so many reasons one might choose to design a character like Elsa with pale skin that have nothing to do with anything intentionally OR subconsciously racist — primarily her association with snow and ice!
So really. My complaint with the original posted image here is the misleading and over-dramatic representations of Disney that ignore the things they’ve done that are in fact good (there might be imperfections about them, yes, but overall it’s good to have four non-white princesses rather than none, right?)
And then I got into a grump because I see this kind of thing a lot, and it irritates me every time, and this time is the one I blew my top over. So yeah, I overreacted (again) in continuing and really should have just clarified my original point and left it at that. And for doing that I apologize, again.
Yes. It is whitewashing. They are choosing to tell white stories. They are choosing to include white characters. They do not have to do this. I mentioned this to you already. Any reasons for doing this besides racism, however valid they might be, means that they are prioritizing those reasons over representation for POC.
Also I see you moving your goalposts there and trying to act like your original post was really all about the blonde hair and blue eyes remark when your original comment was talking about 'realism' and white skin makes sense because ice is also white.
If what you are NOW saying is that people need to be respectful and fair and accurate when they criticize then we are once again facing the issue of feelings from the privileged being worth more than the oppression and anger of other groups. That’s tone argument and it’s a shitty thing to do.
PS: As someone who thinks that no good can come from unsolicited criticism I’m curious as to how you sought approval for feedback on this issue from the person who wrote the original text.
Did you totally miss the part where I acknowledged I let this thing get out of hand? This is literally the very last thing I will respond to about it at all. I’m so fucking done my done is done. But this one, I gotta take on because… oh. my. fucking. god. are. you. serious.
Now it’s whitewashing to even *include* white characters! We don’t wanna see any of you disgusting white people, fuck you all you had your fun and now you can all go sit in the corner. Is that where you’re going with this? Because that is actually how it looks to me right now.
Do you honestly think that it’s active and malicious racism simply to create a white character??? To say “hey, I kinda like the idea of an ice kingdom and I have this idea for a fairytale story and I’m gonna make it because it’s pretty cool (haha see what I did there, cool hee hee hee) oh btw the main character is super duper pale because she’s the queen of the ice kingdom and also has ice magic so I want her to look as much like a snowflake as possible while still appearing human”… ? Because oh my god that is exactly what I mean by taking social justice way the hell too far. If there were an over-reaction olympics that would win gold.
(Yes, I realize that’s only one of an unbelievably vast number of possible reasons why someone might have thought to make THIS PARTICULAR movie and the odds are it wasn’t anyone’s actual thought process. But as far as the information we have goes, it’s as likely as any other you could think of, and there’s no reason to assume that someone thought something nasty instead.)
My original comment was objecting to calling it whitewashing to create a white princess, when telling a story that includes reasons that make sense for that particular character to be white. I clarified my intent, and mentioned my additional and very related distaste for the other misleading bit of the original image’s text. Am I not allowed to clarify, either? No white characters, and also no clarification of reasons for objecting to something?
And I am facepalming SO hard because there is a difference between unsolicited and unconstructive. Criticism can be both, one and not the other (either way), or neither. Both is worst, unconstructive is worse than unsolicited, and criticism that is both solicited and constructive is most useful.
Right now yours is both, for one thing because I already said I wanted to be done with this, and for another because you haven’t made a single criticism that actually stands up to scrutiny for making sense.
People do need to be respectful and fair and accurate when they criticize. Being disrespectful, unfair, and inaccurate are shitty things to do, aren’t they? I’m sure YOU take disrespectful, unfair, and inaccurate criticism oh so very easily, and use it as a motivator to change yourself to suit the whims of every critic who’s nasty to you? Oh wait, you don’t? Hm, that’s probably because NO ONE RESPONDS THAT WAY unless they have a serious victim complex. Any remotely self-respecting human being will disregard you if you are not accurate and fair and respectful in your criticism, making such criticism the only effective way to accomplish anything. Criticism in this case, though the word generally implies a negative, also includes positive criticism (IE “this thing in particular that you did is really quite good and you should keep doing that more”).
There is no excuse for disregarding someone’s feelings. Feelings from the privileged are EQUALLY (not more, but not less either) valid to feelings from the not-so-privileged. There is no excuse for being an asshole. Privileged or not, you don’t get a free pass to be mean to other people just because OTHER other people have been mean to you. Being angry about the way some people have treated you doesn’t mean you can take that anger out on people who happen to have physical characteristics in common with the people who treated you poorly. If believing that makes me a shitty person in your eyes, you might want to think about maybe taking the chip off your shoulder and finding a pair of underwear that fits better so it’s not constantly in a bunch. Sometimes, ‘problematic’ is in the eye of the beholder.
I have better things to do than argue with someone who refuses to even try to understand what I’m saying, so I’m not going to respond on this subject again. If you’re that set on believing me to be some evil racist manipulative bitch, well have fun with that and hopefully it at least helps you feel good about yourself.
I. Am. Done.