Well it’s pretty damn damaging trope considering the “strong, independent black woman” who don’t need no man, nor help, apparently is so imbedded in society that white people literally believe black people feel less pain and therefore are administered less pain medicine in need and are given less sympathy when experiencing pain because it’s assumed we’ve been hardened by this life and can “just take it.”
There’s a reason these tropes like “angry black woman” and “strong independent black women” exist, and it isn’t in our favor. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with being independent and I think it is a result of the life we’ve for the moment part been forced to lead, but ya gotta realize if we’re subjugated to just an independent black woman trope, always tough and always in control, then we’re the joke. We have no femininity. In fact, we’re interchangeable with Black men.
Plus I don’t see why being soft, which shouldn’t even be synonym to sub servant and helpless, is a regressive trait. Needing and relying on help does not make you weak; it makes you human. The fact that society likes to push us into this singular story of the strong and independent black woman with few other facades should make you wary as it perpetuates this idea that we’re in no need of sympathy. Empathy,
Therefore you can be a 19-year old teenage girl in need of help after a car accident, but i’m going to shot you in the back of the head because the idea of a Black woman actually needing help as opposed to being the help is such a bizarre concept that my life feels threatened, right?
Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes.
And I’d like to add this link, as it specifically regards young Black children and fantastical stories. The focus is on sci-fi, but the moral works here too, primarily the takeaway of:
and that’s totally your right!! I’m not here to tell anybody how they should feel about how their own people are represented. All I can tell you is that a lot of black women have written about how the strong, independent black woman trope is damaging and I take them at their word!
blogs like lookatthewords and jhenne-bean are both blogs ran by black women who have talked about Tiana in length before if you feel like talking about it with someone who has a foot in the door, so to speak :)
Realism has become a trap for black children and they realize it.
Clutch.com had a thinkpiece on the phrase (+ the internalization of “strong” being the superior and only way for us to operate) stripping away our humanity. BuzzFeed (bear with me) has one that dissects a few current Black women on television, which might help. Mikki Kendall (Karnythia) also has a Storify page housing some great tweets on the subject.
Lookatthewords already hit on the dangers of perpetuating the strong don’t-need-no-help Black woman as a trope, and it certainly helps no one to insist that it is the only portrayal of Black women illustrated in the media.
- Sometimes we want escapism and that is okay.
- Sometimes we want to be romanced and desired and that is okay.
- Sometimes we want to be the Princess right off the bat, without having to slave for our
restaurantcastle, and that is okay.
- Sometimes we just want to be saved, and that is okay.
There is nothing wrong with being soft, or being the princess, or needing help: you can be all those things and still recognized as a Black woman— as a person. Still be a good example.
Imo, it is better to imagine (and write, and portray) black women of all ages in multifaceted and rounded ways.
“Considering the Princess and the Frog didn’t do that well at the box office, I’m grateful that they still have Tiana at the parks.”
Now let’s break that down:
This movie did do well at the box office. It may not have outrageously performed like Tangled or Frozen, but this would not be considered a flop by any means. Stop lying about this movie.
I recently made this blog post about the upcoming Dreamworks movie, Home. I’m excited for it because I love animated movies and Dreamworks. But really got me extremely excited for the movie was the lead character, Tip.
You guys know me. I am always dying for representation. Not only does Tip look great but she’s voiced by Rhianna who sounds fantastic. Also, Jim Parsons is the alien. I mean, what is not like?
In that post, I made a jab at Disney saying, "Your move Disney."
And I stand by it.
Disney had a really bad track record when it comes to POC characters. Both Pocahontas and Mulan are extremely historically inaccurate and somewhat offense to Native Americans and Chinese people. Hell, I know some Chinese people who hate Mulan just because of what they did to their culture.
And Princess and the Frog? As much as I love that movie, that movie is beyond problematic. First, Tiana doesn’t get to be born royalty. We have to make her poor. Lets also get her a funny, white sidekick who will hog most of the attention! Her hair, instead of being curly and bouncy, she stuck in a bun. And of course, she is a mother flipping frog for most of her movie.
Not only that but the last four princesses we got were white. The last two were cardboard cuts of Rapunzel! Hell, even Wreck It Ralph, which I adore, focused on a white man! Do you see what I’m getting at here? And Moana isn’t coming out until 2018! I have to wait for four years while Home is coming out in 2015!
Another thing about Dreamworks is that I feel like they are trying when it comes to character design. They are able to make them females look different while still maintaining their sense of style. Look at Eep, the last heroine from The Croods.
Eep is muscular. She doesn’t have a slim, petite waist line. She’s different. She stands out and she’s memorable. At the same time, I related more to her than I did Anna. I know what it’s like to butt heads with your dad and her awkwardness seemed real while Anna’s seems forced.
Lets also look at Fiona.
Fiona is a major bad ass and I was in awe of her when I first saw her movie. She chose to be an orge so she could be happy. She gave up her good looks for love. She isn’t a typical Disney princess and that is great! I know girls who can relate to her more than the Disney princesses.
The Dreamworks characters are also somewhat more relateable than the Disney princesses. Lets take a look at Hiccup from HTTYD
Hiccup is disabled. In the first movie, he looses his foot and has to use prosthetic. And he is the hero. A disabled hero. You guys don’t seem to understand how important that is. There are so few animated characters who are disabled and stay disabled. And the thing is that he gets to still be the hero despite that. They didn’t have some magic bullshit for his foot. He lost it and he isn’t getting it back. But he doesn’t let this stop him. He doesn’t dwell on it, he goes forward.
I love Disney but as of now, it seems like they only care about white people. The POC princesses hardly ever have their own merch. Hell, me and bunch of tumblr people had to ask Hot Topic to get a Tiana shirt. We get one and the design is crap! There are other POC who aren’t in the Disney princess line but Disney doesn’t care about them and the Disney fandom ignores them too.
The thing about Dreamworks is that they are trying and taking risks. They are giving us females who are strong yet flawed and beautiful in their own, special ways along with a hero who is disabled. At this point in time, I have more faith in Dreamworks than Disney.
Black Excellence▶◀ ↪ Anika Noni Rose
"I think that one of the most detrimental issues with regard to the vision of black women in in the media is not having well-rounded images.You see one thing where you see the other, very much the virgin whore complex it is somebody is really really fabulously great like so great you like really I’ve never met that person or they’re so foul and nasty that once again you never met that person.”
Jennifer Hudson, as Princess Tiana, is photographed by Annie Leibovitz for Disney Parks
I am so sorry this is so long. I didn’t mean for it to be like this, tried arranging some side by side but the size difference is jarring.
Don’t reblog this, The reblog friendly link is right here.
So sorry for the major scroll!! <3
As much as I love that film, it’s extremely problematic, if not offensive to some Black people.
- Once again, Disney reinforced the idea that people of color can only star in movies about them when history allows it. Whereas all of the White princesses exist in their own geographically/historically ambiguous fantasy lands (for the most part, there might be a few references to specify here and there) , many of Disney’s PoC characters are restrained to historical settings. Is this a bad thing? No, not necessarily. But why couldn’t our first Black princess exist in her own fantastical kingdom, instead a time period of segregation?
- Our first Black princess … isn’t really a princess. She’s a poor waitress. To some extent one may argue that titling the film The Princess and the Frog is false advertising since Tiana doesn’t actually become a princess until like, the last five minutes of the film. Her White friend actually has more screen time as a “princess” than Tiana does. I’m not saying it’s bad to portray a hardworking Black woman, but … eh, I couldn’t help but feel that Tiana’s overall character was somewhat inspired by the “strong independent Black woman who don’t need no man” stereotype.
- Some would say it’s problematic that our first Black princess doesn’t have a Black prince. While I was personally refreshed to see Disney portray a PoC couple, I still acknowledge that Disney passed on a great opportunity to have a character for little Black boys to look up to.
- the portrayal of New Orleans Voodoo reflects that of the American stereotype of voodoo being “evil” and Satanic.
- And the most obvious part, Disney’s first Black princess spends half, if not the majority, of her respective film as a mucus-secreting green animal. Not ONE Disney princess received that treatment before Tiana. -__-
Let me tell you a story. Once at a party, I had all the little girls sitting around me and I was asking them about their favorite parts of all the princess movies. The birthday girl was sitting next to me, and tells me, “Princess, your skin is the same color as mine.” I smile and agree, and try to move the game along, but she interrupts and says, “Your skin is brown and you’re a princess. It’s the same color as mine, but you’re a princess.”
“Well, if my skin is brown and your skin is brown, and I’m a princess, then you must be a princess too.” I tell her. And then I spent the next 10 minutes assuring all the black girls at the party that yes, they have lovely skin and yes, they can be princesses with me.
This happens at most of the parties I go to. I have had my arm stroked, my hair patted, my skin color commented on more times than I can remember. I am not simply hired out to entertain a bunch of cute little girls dressed in poofy skirts who want to play with a big girl in a poofier skirt. I am hired out because I am an affirmation. For these little black girls (and boys! I’ve dazzled a few of them too) Princess Tiana is proof that for once, they can be special BECAUSE of the color of their skin, not IN SPITE OF.
Adding some of her pictures for emphasis.
We’ve featured pictures of this lovely Tiana before, but I wanted to add this post to the blog as well :)
TELL ME AGAIN HOW REPRESENTATION ISN’T IMPORTANT AND YOU MAY FIND A SIZE 13 TURNT SIDEWAYS UP YO ASS.