Thursday, April 24, 2014

Embracing Ursula

Today Mama Lisa writes about Disney princesses - be sure to comment at the bottom to sound off about this topic!

I love Disney. I'm a card carrying member of D23, the official Disney fan club. This doesn't mean that when they do something I deem as ridiculous, I don't sound off on it.

Here's an example: I do not like that the only princesses of color are Pocahontas and Tiana. While they are awesome and we love them at our house, I wish there was a Latina princess somewhere in there. See what I mean? Not afraid to call them out. So when I saw this while checking my email, I was upset all over again. As upset as this wonderful poet was. 

Disney is always trying to come up with cool concepts. It's a way of life there. One of the cool concepts is to revamp certain characters, turn them into collectibles that are truly beautiful to behold. Villains are included in the revamp. Let me digress here to say that one of my favorite places to shop at Disney World, is the Villains boutique. I love everything about it! They have Maleficent makeup, the Mad Hatter's tea set, all things Jack Skellington (squeeee!), and every other villain you can think of. This is where the villain revamp and Ursula come in. 

I'm sure that you've seen The Little Mermaid and probably sang 'Under the Sea' more times than you can count by now. Ursula, the sea witch, is the villain in this film. She tricks Ariel into giving her her voice so that she can act out her plan to oust Triton from his rule of the sea. Here's the interesting part about Ursula and what ultimately makes her more than unique in the Disneyverse: Ursula is overweight. Take a minute and think back at all the villains, male and female, up to this point. Yup, ALL of then were characterized by their slim, gaunt, skeletal-thin figures. Thin embodied evil. Ursula was a groundbreaker, nevermind that her figure was modeled after an octopus. 

Imagine the outrage when the Disney Designer Collection came on the scene in 2012 with our awesomely evil Ursula revamped into, well, Kate Moss. It. Was. Shocking. 

Rephrase!!! It still is shocking. Why? There's no need to revamp these characters!! Why mess with perfection? I can't help but think that Ursula herself would be very pissed off at this transformation. If there is one thing that Ursula embodied was self-love. She rocked that black sheath dress like it was nobody's business! She had her face made up, rocked Jungle Red lipstick, had her nails done, and yes she got her hair to stay perfectly coiffed UNDERWATER!! Ursula loved every little bit of herself. It was obvious. She was perfect in her own eyes and even though she was evil, and had a well-pronounced muffin top and back rolls, she made it look good, honey! Ain't nobody taking her down. So, why would Disney turn her waif-like? How does this make sense?

Truth is, all of these companies that cater to children have bowed down to pressure to make their products fit what society deems beautiful: a size 0. Having a 36-24-36 figure is unheard of nowadays, nevermind having a body like Ursula's. Other toys that have gotten a revamp? All the cool 1980s toys/cartoons that we loved. Raggedy Ann, Strawberry Shortcake, My Little Pony(I so hate the Equestria Girls, it's not even funny), Rainbow Brite and even old school Disney princesses. Have you seen the new Cinderella? Siiiigh. 

I can't help but shake my head. One of the things that Disney prides itself on is that their products help promote confidence, pride in oneself, and to show that we are all beautiful in our differences. How is changing Ursula, the embodiment of all those concepts, embracing that? That is not right. Ursula doesn't need to be slim, Cruella doesn't need a facelift, and Maleficent doesn't need a new wardrobe. They might be evil but they love themselves. No matte what. In the end, isn't that really what we want to teach our kids? To love the mold they came in, with all its blemishes, hard angles, and soft curves no matter what? With no excuses? 

Here's the rub: we ALL need to take a page from Ursula's book. Maybe not from the freaky spell book but from her 'To thine own self be true' one. We need to embrace ourselves. Love our differences, all our back fat, our skinny bodies, our voluptuous fronts, our curly hair, our straight hair, apple bottoms, flat butts, skin tones....everything. We are all beautiful in our differences. What makes us more beautiful is when we own our molds. We embrace all of ourselves: the villain and the princess both. 

At our house, we love all the princesses. We do. We have a little more love for the ones that don't need a prince to fulfill them, the ones that March to their own beat, and the ones that read books. With all of that, we also love the villains at our house. They may their issues but when it comes to giving you a lesson that reaches your core, the villains do it best. It's ok to be the princess but given the choice, I'd rather we all embrace our inner Ursula. 

What do you think about character make over? Let us know! 


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