By Jamie Walsh
Growing up, it's uncommon for a little girl for to skip the princess phase. Walking around the house in crowns and poofy dresses, pretending I ruled the vast and mountainous land that was my living room. The idea of a princess, particularly in Disney movies, is a girl who is beautiful but helpless and weak. That is until Moana.
Thursday night, instead of running out of house late at night and regretting the decision Friday morning as we try to get up in time for class, my twenty year-old roommates and I snuggled up on the couch and turned on the newest Disney princess film Moana.
We found inspiration in the little island girl that went out to save the world.
“She’s trying to find herself, she’s not trying to find a man. I think that’s why people were thriving over it,” said my friend Katie. “It’s not like any other Disney film where the princess is in need of a man to fix her problems.”
“I’m trying to do both. I’m trying to multitask,” joked Liz.
I think it’s important to note that in order to be an independent woman, it’s not necessary to reject a relationship. However, Moana represents the woman who does not rely on a man to fix her problems.
In most princess films, the message is based solely on the fact that women are in need of a man to protect and provide all essentials of life. Moana turned the basic timid princess into an empowered and powerful woman.
Everyone, even her father, attempted to tear her down but nothing stopped Moana. The only person who pushed her to her full potential was her grandmother. Women empowering women is a critical storyline that we need to see represented more to combat the negative stereotypes of women in competition, either for love or power.
With her grandmother’s support, Moana’s determination and courage soared. After facing defeat and faltering, her grandmother reminded her of her heritage, her strength, and her innate power. The culminating line “I am Moana!” as a personal rallying cry is a rare of example of a woman’s pure existence as being the source of her power.
Together, we also highly noted how Moana was portrayed as an average sized woman. It was refreshing to see a woman confidently stand in her body and did not have a waist like Tinkerbelle. It’s harmful for young girls to see only little waists and thin legs and unrealistic expectations of what a woman’s body should look like.
I never really enjoyed animated movies and ignored all the hype surrounding Frozen and decided to do the same for Moana. Until now, I had not seen the movie and didn’t imagine it could have this much effect on society as a whole. If Disney continues to put out movies such as Moana, society has a chance to change its perspective as a whole. If we teach children from the beginning that men and women are and should be treated equal, slowly society can change its ways, one mind at a time.
Jamie Walsh is a junior at Temple University and a lover of toaster strudel, beluga whales, and all things Joe Biden. She has a passion to write and explore the all possibilities Philadelphia has to offer as a student, a woman, and a dreamer.