Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Mother Figures & Disney Movies

For this blog post, I chose to analyze Disney movies in relation to motherhood. Many of the Disney movies do not have what is considered a traditional mother, but they do contain mother roles in other forms of characters.

In the Disney movie, Beauty and the Beast, there is no traditional mother, but Mrs. Teapot acts as a mother towards the Beast. She gives him advice on how to interact with Belle and how to change to become a more compassionate caring person. Keeping the members of the household in order is another one of the ways that she acts like the mother of the household.

The Little Mermaid, another Disney movie, also has a nontraditional mother figure. Sebastian, the crab, is put in charge of taking care of Ariel by her father, Triton. He is responsible for making sure that she attends the events she is supposed to and that she doesn’t get into any trouble, which is generally what mothers are thought to be accountable for. Triton also makes Sebastian liable for Ariel’s safety, much like a mother would.

This concept is also shown in Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, in the Kim Wilde section. The girl is walking down the street and the Women’s Branch of the Guardians of the Revolution stop her and wants to arrest her for being improperly veiled and because she wasn’t dressed the way the thought Muslim women were supposed to dress. They can be seen as a kind of mother figure in a very nontraditional way. They are trying to protect the girl and makes sure that she behaves properly, which is what mothers do.

These different forms of popular culture show us that mother figures don’t have to be the traditional view of a mother. Mother figures can come in many forms. It doesn’t matter whether a person is male or female, they can still take care of people the way a mother is usually thought of doing.

Marjane Satrapi, “Kim Wilde,” Persepolis (2003).