Earlier this month, the full length trailer for Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck It Ralph 2 was released.
I’m excited as hell for Ralph and Vanellope being on another adventure together, as well as how the new character of Yesss will affect their relationships. So, I was pretty peeved when the trailer seemed to focus more on the Disney crossover material, with an extended scene of Vanellope meeting the Disney Princesses.
Why? Because instead of people talking about the original character coming back, they’re obsessed with the princesses. More specifically, how the princesses look. And there’s a LOT of angry discourse which is honestly tiring to me at this point (again, it doesn’t matter what your personality or role in the story you have, it’s all about how you look).
But, there is one issue that seems to come up. The fact that Pocahontas appears to be considerably lighter in her new design.
(Image via Digital Spy)
It seems odd that the other Princesses of Color would have accurate skin tones while Pocahontas is a lot lighter. Is it a result of lighting, or has Pocahontas been whitewashed?
Digital Spy covered it extensively HERE, but there is one part that does catch my attention:
In the original movie she was way too copper toned they might as well have made her skin red it just felt like a perpetuation of us being “redskins” so I’m glad they changed her pigment and portraits of Matoaka don’t portray her as darker skinned native she was a more light beige.
Wow, that’s a very good point. (In THIS source of what the real Pocahontas most likely looked like, she does look a lot paler than the Disney version.) Another commentator pointed out that Natives tan, too. But, unless Disney comes out and says that Pocahontas’s skin looks lighter in order to be more accurate, there’s no way to know for sure, and the whitewashing argument still holds water.
However, what does bother me is that some people act like Pocahontas’s skin tone in the new movie is the only issue.
Look at those vacant eyes. Those porn star lips. The nonexistent nose. She also has ample breasts, long bare legs, and a cinched in waist. She’s also a lot more stoic than the other Disney Princesses. Jeffrey Katzenberg told Glen Keane to make her “The finest creature the human race has to offer”.
She was ten years old when she first met John Smith in real life.
You can tell already how sexualizing a Native women who was a child when the event happened (and would suffer sexual abuse later in life by the colonizers) would make a lot of Natives hate this movie.
Now, here’s Pocahontas in Wreck It Ralph 2:
Look at that sweet face. Look at the distinct nose, the expressive eyes, the rosy cheeks, the SMILE! But, the skin is still a lot lighter, and unless Disney did change it to make her look less ‘red’, it’s one step forward, one step back.
The point is, Disney should never have made a movie about Pocahontas in the first place (it is NOT a happy story), but they did, and turned her into a stoic pinup. No matter what Disney does with this character, it’s going to be problematic at best, racist as worst. Some Natives have pointed out other issues with Pocahontas in the new movie (such as how a white woman is touching her hair), and some argue that including her in the first place is too much of a disrespect. It’s kind of disingenuous for some people to act like her looking lighter is the ONLY problem here; you can’t talk about how Pocahontas looks in CGI without acknowledging how her conception from the ground up is rooted in racist ideas.