a glimpse of my thesis: racism in Tinkerbell

Some of you may be asking, what could be so harmful in such an enchanting movie? Well it is common that Disney movies are controversial, but Tinkerbell is a little different, it’s a fairy movie for girls. Please do note that Tinkerbell is a part of Disney classic movie Peter Pan. Means, it is one of sir Walt Disney’s masterpiece and therefore, an important icon for Disney, and also for US.

But indeed, it is different. to me it’s a propaganda movie, and racist at the same time. Do also note that since the very first time, Disney is known for releasing propaganda movies such as Alice series and Der Fuehrer’s face.

I am now finishing the analysis of each scenes (I’ve got loads to work with) and hope I could finished them all this month. But to let you know, I’ll share you one sample of racism that I found there. Please pay attention to these pics. These are the screenshots from the movie “Tinkerbell: Enter the World of Fairies” released in the end of 2008.

Ok, you might think this is exaggerating. These are only scenes showing that Tinkerbell is fooling with herself, laughing at an old ugly big headed lady in the coin. But will you still think the same if you know that it is a REAL coin? See this:

You know what? Actually at first I dunno what the hell coin is that, never seen one in my life. But my feeling said it’s a British coin, since there are no other ‘rival’ of America besides UK in the term of ‘the owner of popular culture’. Mass culture is somehow essential for US especially since the cold war ended (read John Storey’s intro guide to popular culture).

Back to topic, so what I did is searched info about the coin via google (credits to James Cole for the additional infos about the coin, and also Dion for helping me to capture the scenes^^). And voila, it is! The coin is a British sovereign coin, made from 23K gold, issued in 1889. And the lady in the coin is a figure of Queen Victoria Jubilee (complete info of coin, refer to wikipedia HERE). Not an ordinary coin, from what I read it is a political coin issued during the first world war.

Besides, do consider that in the scene it’s only an ordinary coin picked in the seashore. Contextually it will appear like it’s only a penny, while the real coin is a 23K gold, and indeed it is very valuable. The degradation of value in this coin should be noted, in some ways it could be intrepeted and explained that in my reading the coin is a representation of UK. Degradating the value of the real coin while Queen Victoria’s face is so cocky in the scene could be intrepeted this way: UK is not valued ‘gold’, it is whatsoever valued as silver, copper or something much lower than ‘gold’. The way that Queen Victoria’s face is cocky means all this time, what they have, including their ‘values’ is only such a further exaggeration. And seeing that, Tink (as a representation of US) is laughing at it.

So, still think it’s just a cartoon? 😉

This is an institutional racism, spreaded by the apparatus called ideology, and it’s children watching it. Unconciously whatever the message is, it will flow inside their mind and yeah, could very possibly construct an American-superiority mind and racist thinking. UK is not the only ‘victim’ here. Will write my full analysis later when I have time. see ya later guys ;p


Superioritas Amerika dan Konstruksi Negatif Perempuan dalam Film Tinkerbell: a False Conciousness Process

Ketika orang bicara soal Disney, mereka bicara mengenai betapa banyaknya kritik dan penelitian yang sudah dilakukan tentang Disney, betapa mengagumkan karya-karya baru Disney seperti High School Musical dan Bolt, atau betapa enchanting-nya kisah-kisah klasik Disney. Ada juga yang bicara betapa beberapa tokoh seperti Mulan memberikan inspirasi bagi banyak orang, kecanggihan teknik animasi Pixar yang membuat Woody [Toy Story] nampak begitu nyata, bahkan betapa catchy-nya lagu-lagu soundtrack film Disney di telinga. Segala elemen diatas, baik yang diperhitungkan sebagai yang mayor atau minor, telah banyak diriset oleh para ahli seperti Janet Wasko, Margaret Ronnberg, Nikhilesh Dholakia dan Armand Matellart. Karya-karya mereka, baik jurnal, buku maupun karya lainnya telah memberikan kontribusi besar terhadap kekayaan pengetahuan kita dan awam terhadap Disney dan segala bentuk produknya. Misalnya dalam jurnal Disney: Delights and Doubts yang dipublikasikan tahun 2001 oleh Journal Research for Consumer [1], tulisan ini bicara mengenai efek hiperimajinasi yang timbul dalam benak pengunjung Disneyland. Sementara Margaret Ronnberg dalam jurnalnya membicarakan efek kisah Disney terhadap faktor psikologis anak dari sudut pandang anak-anak [2]. Continue reading