I took my granddaughter (7), to the cinema over the weekend. It was a rare and pleasant opportunity for the two of us to spend some quality time together. We chose a film, Hotel Transylvania 3, purchased the tickets and our popcorn, and made our way to the cinema screen.
We were comfortably seated as the lights dimmed and trailers commenced for the exciting a preview of films to come. This part for me is almost as exciting as a film. It provides an opportunity to see what new films are coming out, and often it’s during these film trailers that we make plans for future cinema visits.
So, imagine my delight when I saw that Disney’s Wreck It Ralph 2, the long-awaited sequel to the film that my son had enjoyed some six years previously would be out in November 2018. I, therefore, made a mental note to myself that it would be a great film to come along to watch with my family.
Disney Characters Transformed
The two-minute trailer showcases the highlights from the film which takes place in the ‘Oh My Disney’ an interactive website visited by Ralph and Vanellope. All well and good you think, however, what I wasn’t prepared for was the appalling scene in the Princess’s room, within which Vanellope happened to stray. The excitement on her face at seeing all her favourite childhood princess characters, quickly turned to one of being terrified as she was greeted with an aggressive and intimidating pack of completely transformed characters.
These iconic ‘role model’ princesses quickly ganged up on Vanellope, peppering her questions because she didn’t ‘look like a princess’ but what horrified me further was when Cinderella took off her glass slipper, smashed it, and presented this as a weapon to use against the child!
Sadly, the news frequently reports on stabbings by and of children. People on social nights out get embroiled in fights, arguments, disagreements, resulting in some people reaching for the first item they can find, sometimes a glass, smashing this, and causing irreparable damage and scarring to others.
Albeit this Disney clip was over in moments, and the reality is not many children in society today have glass slippers which they could smash and use as weapons, the sheer notion that Disney thinks it’s acceptable to portray such iconic characters behaving in this way is truly shocking.
Strong Female Role Models
As an advocate for diversity and inclusion, and women in leadership, I’m all in favour of women and children finding their voice, finding courage and confidence to share their beliefs and stand up for what is important to them. But the pack like behaviour which unfolded in the Princess’s room was more akin to somebody entering a lion’s den.
According to the BBC, the Wreck it Ralph 2 film will be the first time the universe’s female leads have been seen on screen together. I’m therefore even more shocked that Vanellope’s first experience of meeting these influential female role models is one in which she is threatened and questioned by the other princesses to establish if she’s a princess because she ‘doesn’t look like they do.’
There’s enough bullying that already takes place in the playgrounds and classrooms. Sadly, this behaviour can filter through into adulthood and enter the workplace in later life. Naturally, I’ve not watched the whole film to see if Disney, in fact, turns this around and these iconic female role models go on to demonstrate support, encouragement and solidarity but more importantly recognise that we all have unique differences.
A Step Too Far?
In the workplace, women are encouraged to ‘break the glass ceiling’ and ‘smash the glass floor’. But Disney you’ve taken this too far! The pack-like behaviour, the questioning because Vanellope ‘looks different’ and is treated differently, and finally the smashing the glass slipper and portraying this as a weapon to use against a child, is truly disturbing.
I for one have lodged a complaint with the British Board of Films Classification – I’d love to hear your views.