Wiehl On Moana:
1) GO SEE IT
2) Bring tissues. I started crying from the beginning and pretty much didn’t stop until the end credits finished. It was… everything.
I’ve been taking Gender Studies 101 this semester. I love this class if for nothing else than it makes me see things differently. Granted, I’ve been much angrier lately, but it’s an anger that is about growth. I see more often the subtle ways gender, race ethnicity, and class color my everyday interactions.
So, when Moana opens, and the music starts playing, and I realize it’s traditional music without a hint of appropriation or mimicry. When the first words are from a wise female elder. When the young star, who is a girl, is the only one listening who is not scared, I lost it. There wasn’t sobbing, but I was happy we sat closer to the screen than normal.
Throughout the movie, I cried. Each moment where I actively realized stereotypical tropes were avoided. Each moment the power of a young girl was just accepted, not remarked on or astonishment shown but just was, the tears flowed. There was an angry father whose actions were out of an instinct to protect his daughter, not because she was a girl but because he genuinely feared to do himself the very thing her heart desired. When it was taken for granted that a young woman would lead a civilization. When a gender neutral character was introduced as such, and remained that way throughout the entire movie. Streams of tears here people.
The love interest in this movie is the love of a person for their family and their people. The danger comes from poor decisions made and their consequences. The redemption happens when people accept who they are, come into their own as a person, and believe in themselves in ways they previously did not know were possible.
Within the first minutes of this movie, a realization came over me. Disney, a company founded by an anti-Semite, who in its past has portrayed horrific caricatures of races, exemplified whiteness to the detriment of everyone, pushed emotional abuse as finding true love, praised giving everything up to earn the love of a man you don’t know, and on and on. Disney made this movie.
Forty-five minutes into Moana, I had another earth shattering moment: there were no white characters. None. I have gotten to the point with my media where I can’t consume total and complete whiteness anymore. Any media that has no representations of people of color, or different abled-ness, or different sexualities whatsoever is anathema to me. I can’t tolerate it anymore. So to watch a movie where people of color abounded, and it wasn’t a thing, was heavenly. This is how you get all of my money, Disney. Take note.
Moana is fabulous. I cannot praise this movie enough. I paid full price to see it. I will defiantly see Moana again, but next time I’ll bring tissues.
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