6 Reasons to See Disney’s Moana

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Image courtesy of Walt Disney Animation

Calling (Out) All Princesses

The term “princess” doesn’t have the best rep in 2016. So when Maui calls Moana “princess,” it isn’t just that he’s a male condescending to the young woman he thinks is a child; it symbolizes a return to a time when Disney ladies did little to save themselves (or turned in their voices for a pair of legs). Moana, rightfully, calls Maui out on the term. His response: “If you wear a dress and have an animal sidekick, you’re a princess.” It’s a mixed message, no doubt about it. Maui brings it up as an acknowledgement of Disney’s own fraught past with feminism, yet it’s hard not to see Moana as a princess because of those Disney tropes. Disney doesn’t want to ruin a good thing completely. Thankfully by the end, Maui’s insult is proven wrong.

Without spoiling things, our heroine strikes out on her own to become the heroine of her own story. Maui ends up taking a backseat for Moana to conjure up her own plan, free of male influence. This might sound like the end of every previous Disney movie, but considering her motives are love for her people, as opposed to love for an individual, Moana’s on par with a Marvel superhero!

Next: Introducing Auli’i Cravalho