Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tangled message

I debated writing this post at all, because I'm not a fan of when people read into dialogue or song lyrics too much. I don't want it to sound like I'm suggesting writers should change what they have to say in case the message isn't well received - because I'm not.

Okay...so I went to see the movie Tangled a couple of weeks ago. I have to say - it's a super-cool movie and I'd recommend it to anyone, with or without kids (I was there without). Overall - no complaints. I liked the story (okay, so it's not exactly new), the music was fun, and the 3D effects were pretty good. I mean - it is Disney.

Who're you callin' chubby?
(Image used without permission)
There is a seen where Rapunzel's "mother" is attempting to quiet her daughter's desire to go outside the tower. It's a musical scene; mom is singing a list of reasons why Rapunzel should stay away from the rest of the world. On the list? "You're looking a bit chubby."

Before you say it - no one knows better than me that no one should get her self-esteem from a movie, much less one that's animated. Of course it makes sense that "mom" would say that - the whole point of the story is that she's vain and caught up in appearance. Of course I realize that any well-adjusted little girl would understand that, in this case, everything the character is saying is a lie, and should therefore be discounted.

I guess what stood out for me is the fact that, even with all that we've learned about girls and body image and self-esteem and eating disorders - we're still okay with using "chubby" as an insult. The girl had been locked in a tower for her whole life eating apples - I would think "pale" or "jaundice" or "lacking muscle tone" or "uneducated" would be more appropriate flaws to point out.

I guess, when it comes right down to it - I would prefer that chubby not be considered a flaw at all. But, then again, I'm hardly objective. :)


  1. But again, like you even said, the point is to illustrate how vain the mom is... so naturally it's gonna be a low blow.

    Plus since when do we think about what's "okay" for an insult? Was there a Geneva convention on cruel language that I missed? LOL

  2. I see your point. But it's Disney - land of G-Rated Political-Correctness. If they're using it as an an insult, it's probably considered acceptable.

  3. That's a good point - any insult would be considered watered down for that audience, and thus would be considered a lesser insult in general use... good point