People love being outraged these days.
This time the sensitive social justice warriors have their sights on Disney Motion Pictures- the stalwart creator of childhood living room memories in front of the Telly.
I’m not sure if Disney is actually manufacturing this outrage as a marketing tool (I would) or if people really are that upset that a movie is based on….wait for it…. real world cultures (as opposed to say, supposing up some Alien culture that won’t offend anyone).
In short, there are two problems here according to the miserable and fun devoid middle upper class arts studying brown shirts of thought:
- the main character looks fat.
- They are selling merchandise with Polynesian inspired design.
The Human Rights Commission is calling for Disney to listen to concerns raised by the Pasifika community about its Moana costumes.
Disney has been accused of cultural appropriation for selling costumes for children based on the character of Maui, the Polynesian demigod voiced in the film by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
The costumes, for sale from the Disney’s online store, are a kind of zip-up skin featuring Maui’s signature tattoos, rope necklace and island-style skirt.
Members of the Polynesian community, including Maori New Zealanders, have condemned the costumes as cultural appropriation.
“Right now Polynesian people from across the Pacific region are voicing their views about this costume and it’s their voices that are important right now. We hope Disney listens to the views of the communities and people whose cultures their movie is based upon,” the spokesperson said.
Karaitiana Taiuru, a Christchuch-based advocate for Maori, was concerned the costumes could be the start of a fad for appropriating Polynesian cultures.
“We need to take a stand now and say, ‘Look, this is not appropriate,’ to prevent other entrepreneurs trying to do something similar. … There are unlimited opportunities for discrimination and exploitation,” he said.
Look, I would be the last person to say I’m chuffed to see Maori/pacifika tattoos on the arm’s of steroid and gym loving British louts while I am overseas.. But some people want to look a certain way and if they want to look like someone that they are not, then that is their cringeworthy problem. The “representatives” of Tangata whenua of wherever have no benefit getting their knickers in a twist. Dress up has been practised for centuries and isn’t about to change.
It is a movie. Disney makes movies about fantastic worlds, and they also sell merchandise. I mean what can they do here?! Kids can’t drag there bloody parents to K-mart, get the Moana costume box set, come home to unwrap it, then discover a fricken bat-man spandex suit now can they?
The Maui costume’s appropriation of Pasifika tattoos was particularly problematic as it ignored the important meanings typically associated with Polynesian body art, Taiuru said.
All art has meaning to someone. What is especially problematic here?
“The tattoo is sacred and it’s unique to the wearer. People don’t just go and get some sort of design, in Maori culture you don’t just go and get something that looks Maori. It’s a form of identity, it’s about your family origins and your achievements and your history. So to wear something like that would be I think … not good. I’d almost liken it to taking the clothes off a dead person and putting them on, wearing their jewellery or something.”
Undressing dead bodies. That escalated quickly.
“It would be quite disturbing to see children think it’s okay to wear those kinds of outfits. If parents realise the cultural issues of doing that, hopefully they might boycott the product.”
On Sunday, Maori Party co-leader and MP Marama Fox said in her personal opinion Disney was looking to “make a profit off the back of another culture’s beliefs and history”.
Well I guess Marama Fox is right in so much as Guy Richie was out to make profit with the hilarious antics of indiginous”pikeys“of the UK in the film masterpiece “Snatch”.
I mean… how much of a story can you write before you are stepping on someones toes these days… gees!
“[Disney’s Maui costumes are] no different to putting the image of one of our ancestors on a shower curtain or a beer bottle,” she said.
Moana has already come under fire from Manukau East MP Jenny Salesa.
In June Salesa, who is of Tongan descent, complained Moana’s sidekick in the fictional Pacific cartoon adventure set 2000 years ago, demi-god Maui, was obese and fat-shaming Polynesian kids.
Homer Simpson is a big blob…middle class American… it is a characterisation of whoever the script writers are trying to portray. The moment artists take their creative direction from vocal people with their own justifiable- or unjustifiable- agendas it is no longer art, but propoganda.
And besides, Maui -one of the leads in Moana– is being pinned up as being fat and thus shaming fat people. I wouldn’t say that is fair actually. He’s portrayed massively, and as a powerful man. The archetypical type of character he is playing often has their physical bodies exaggerated in animated film. Here is but one example from another Disney film, Hercules:
And here is Maui:
Not a massive difference is there? So stop whining June Salesa. Fat shaming this is not.
The Moana controversies aren’t the first time pop culture giant Disney has run into trouble over its depiction and use of ethnic identities to help generate multi-billion profits.
In July 2016, Guardian opinion writer Melissa Lozada-Oliva hit-out at Disney for its token efforts creating Hispanic characters by merely giving them brown complexions.
Honkeys, or european natives are way too boring these days. It has all been done before. Snow White got preggas and isn’t kicking around with the lads anymore. Quasimodo’s ribcage collapsed and he died. Tinkerbell drowned after flying under a dairy cow’s tail at the wrong time. As for Simba and Lady- PETA got involved on behalf and they’ve been withdrawn from further film productions by their human custodians.
But the show must go on- Disney has millions of parents worldwide who rely on them to shut their kids up for a couple of hours in the weekends.
Get ready for some screen time my beautiful and exotic brothers and sisters!
I love cultural appropriation.
See that guy in my photo photo bombing us on the left!? Yeah! He’s dressed up just like his genealogical history indicates he should… look how fucking sad he looks!
Cant wait to see the film it looks awesome.