Speaking of ugly (and Disney Movies)

One of my long standing peeves is how things are judged based on appearances. People, possessions, places, ad campaigns, pets, and even church pews. Yeah, believe it or not I recently saw an article talking about how pews could be designed to be more appealing.

Now don't get me wrong--I judge based on appearance all the time. We all do. It's a fact of nature. I just don't like it!

I was thinking about this due to the redesign of this blog but the concept is always near the forefront of my thoughts. It began with the Disney movies of my youth as well as the lessons of parents and educators. They all droned on about how you can't judge a book by its cover while at the same time it was obvious in the world about me that everyone did just that. The pretty books sold well and the plain ones (never use the word ugly!) just sat on the shelves unread, unappreciated, dusty and alone.

My pet peeve on this subject is Disney movies. Like the GOP, they profess one thing but practice another. The best example from my youth was The Ugly Duckling but more recently Beauty and the Beast is even more direct and to the point. Both movies profess to be preaching that it's not the outside that counts but what's inside that matters. An ugly exterior can clad a wonderful personality and so you should never let what someone looks like determine how you evaluate that person. Well, then why at the end of these two movies are the duckling and Beast beautiful? Seems to me that the real message is that in the end you're only valuable if you're attractive.

As far as I can recall there's no exceptions to this in the Disney universe. The Lion King has the villain as dark and sneaky, Robin Hood has the same type casting. Snakes are often villains as are other less favorable critters. It's a recurrent theme. However, if you move over to Dreamworks and their movie Shrek you see how the theme of looks don't matter should be handled. In that movie "loves true form" ignored outer looks and only saw how the two lead characters felt about one another. Now that should be the ideal that Disney should profess, not their sugar coated 'only the beautiful are important' theme that is manifest throughout their movie library.

And yes I know they're only cartoons! LOL


Jin said…
Cartoon or not, I love Shrek and Shrek 2 - of course, I tend to like movies where the social outcasts are the characters you're rooting for.
No_Newz said…
You know, as soon as I get my face lift, tummy tuck, boob implants, fake nails and hair dyed, I am soooo going to have a happy ending too. ;)
Lois Lane
utenzi said…
Congrats on your new location, Jin. You must have just moved--I was by your blog at the old location early this morning. And I must say it's nice to see your face as well. With a face like that--why hide it?!

Oh, Lois. You have absolutely no need for any work at all. It'd be a crime to change you even one little bit!

See, people?! This is the problem! These two women are very pretty and I'm treating them differently. Egad. This problem is so incidious!
catherine ryan said…
I agree with you about Disney and Shrek. Wasn't it interesting that even the girl's parents were upset that she chose love/ogre over shallow beauty??
I LOVE your header photo. It is mesmerizing.
GPV said…
glad you uplifted your blog it needed it as much as my face.
Yeah cartoons and Disney and the goody gum drops heroes.
Remember just after Fantasia,one of his artists got pissed with the Disney goody goody films and the good thing about it,is the answer.
Bugs Bunny,Daffy Duck and Woody Woodpecker were really a fiesta.
Daffy Duck is so much better than Donald Duck but Duck Dunn is good too. duck soup was a good movie and the first rule in a crisis stituation is DUCK
Did anybody else ever think about what a double standard it is to tell children that it is character and personality that matter and then to attempt to restrict their romantic relationships based the color or skin or which sex organs a person has?
utenzi said…
Thanks Catherine. As you and Liz point out, there's definitely a double standard going on when it comes to bringing up little kids. We often give lip service to the ideal but practive something very different in normal life.

GPV, I didn't know that was how Bugs Bunny et al got started but I'm glad it happened. They grew to be a very interesting group of characters. As you no doubt know, they had real bite to them when they were first created in the WW2 era with a very adult look and sensibility. It was a good while before they were really kid oriented.
utenzi said…
Thanks, Jack. Your hard won knowledge of the many attributes of ducks is well appreciated. And I certainly agree with you and GPV that Donald is pretty lame when compared to Daffy.
Lora said…
I take my cartoons very seriously and I totally agree.
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