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[personal profile] weber_dubois22 posting in [community profile] disney_pocs

by disneyforprincesses

First and furthermost, I most sincerely appreciate and care for both Lottie and her friendship with Tiana, yet constructive criticism must be done.

Lottie is an interesting character, she’s your typical girly, over the top, princess loving rich girl. She’s your typical southern belle,too. Lottie is that adorable character from Princess and The Frog. She’s funny, humorous, and most importantly, one of the most, if not MOST popular character from Princess and The Frog.

The greatest problem is even though this is suppose to be Tiana’s movie and Disney’s answer to their past white princess films. However Disney deliberately decides to put in a white princess-like character who is ‘VERY HISTORICALLY INACCURATE’ (to quote my HISTORICALLY ACCURATE friends) Tiana’s bff.

The greatest problem is that she ends up taking more space than Tiana and as of right now and since the movie came out,gets alot more love than Tiana.

Disney choice to make Tiana best friend a white rich girl is the best displays of Disney’s blatant racism and whitecentricism.

They didn’t feel the African-American girl could lead a movie by herself, you see she needed to be a frog for the whole movie and have a white best friend in order to audiences to feel comfortable and ‘identify’ with her.

Here’s our two arguments in defense of Tia/Lottie’s relationship 1)”Its the first time the princess has a female best friend! THAT’S LIKE GOOD AND FEMINIST!” and of course the typical 2) “lottie and tiana being best friends SHOWS EQUALITY!!!”

Nope nope.

1.) Tiana’s friend could of been easily a PoC like herself, in fact it would of been refreshing to see Tiana have a friend of same background whom she related to and could confide on. This ties with the problem that Tiana feels alienated by the kids in her race and age, and the fact that Lottie, a white girl, is only ‘real’ friend is super problematic as hell. A good change would of been to have Tiana have a friend of her race that enjoyed Princesses as much of Lottie! It would of still been the same fun character, minus the white.

2.) Tiana’s and Lottie’s friendship is more historically inaccurate than people turning into bears or not having in PoC in Scotland. It does not show ‘equality’ because Tiana is still subservient to Lottie. She’s a lower class and economic status, she serves Lottie and accepts Lottie as more rich/successful than she is. The worst part Tiana shows not to be bothered by it or any other type of discrimination that shows up PaTF. If your argument is “WELL THAT WAS THE 20s! Duh!” Think again, Disney choice that time period with those perimeters and that economic/race distinction (Think were Tiana lives versus where Lottie lives).

In fact Disney could of perfectly created an alternate 1920s or fantasyland (seen in Tangled) where Tiana and Lottie are both equals,etc. But they didn’t.

Tiana and Lottie is a nice friendship but it is framed by racism and white ideals.


Feminist Disney:
Question: hey there, i was just perusing your old PaTF review and i was curious what you think about charlotte/ the way she has been received? i've noticed that she seems to get a lot more love than Tiana, especially on tumblr, and it's making me think...
Answer: haha I have read a fair amount about that on here (both just the love, and critique of the love); I found it interesting as well!
I think it’s operating on several levels. First, to be fair, tumblr is full of a very… loyal Disney fandom, and I think it’s sort of natural that they might sympathize highly with basically a Disney-within-a-Disney character. Like the movie sort of pokes fun at her for “wanting to find a prince [and basically wanting to be a Disney princess],” but doesn’t actually villainize her (especially since hey, it happens to Tiana) and I think it sort of was the green light for a lot of fans being like, “I know my Disney-based desires are silly and are unrealistic, but I have them anyways and I’m going to own them.”

I think some of it was also just the way the characters were set up. Charlotte is a pretty one dimensional character- she is very set in the “bubbly jumpy” tempo and doesn’t grow or change much by the end of the movie. Tiana is a more complex character and changes a lot, and makes more mistakes/has more bad to go with the good because there is more focus on her. And she’s one of the more realistic princesses to some extent, in that she worries about responsibilities/paying bills/a job/her future and it might not appeal as much to the escapism aspect many people look for in Disney.

ON the other hand, getting back to what you were, I think, alluding to in your question, I do think it is also to some extent a result of black/white and the over-representation of white women in media/under-representation of black women. I think people are so accustomed to sympathizing and seeing themselves as similar to white lead characters, and seeing black characters as background “friend” characters that it’s going to take some adjusting. To be quite frank I don’t think Charlotte would have been quite as popular had she been the same exact character, but black, rather than a white, blond-haired Southern belle. [source]

So 'Princess and the Frog' has been decidedly picked apart by internal crituqes to the point wherein there doesn't seem to be much for people to enjoy, but it isn't without reason. To a degree this is something I've felt for the longest time but could never put into words and I think the writer here gets across the problematic element of Tiana's relationship with Charlotte well. Agree or disagree?

Date: 2012-08-31 02:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'll admit, I don't like to think about the White Privilege friendship aspects between Tiana and Charlotte because I really like their friendship. In PATF's fantasy 1920's New Orleans, while they wouldn't have been perceived as equals, Tiana and Charlotte certainly treated each other like equals. Tiana didn't leverage their friendship to secure a loan for her restaurant, and Charlotte didn't take advantage of their friendship by asking Tiana to cater her party for free. They respected each other and legitimately cared about one another's happiness. Charlotte gave up her biggest dream of being a Princess to ensure Tiana would be happy - that shows character growth and development!

But that doesn't mean there weren't issues with their friendship. Tiana doesn't seem to have an opinion on Charlotte's enormous wealth and status (she seems to humor Charlotte's Big Daddy because he is a recurring customer of hers/her mother's), but if I had to guess I'd say it wouldn't be positive. I think Tiana is in some ways worn down but accepts that she has to work 1,000x harder than Charlotte to achieve her goals - she's very realistic, even when the reality is depressing. Tiana probably understands the Fenner Bros would give Charlotte the property without issue, but she insists on going her own way and achieving things on her own merit. That's part of Tiana's journey, too - overcoming that stubbornness to accept help from others. She kisses Naveen to get the money to buy the restaurant and Louis's teeth do all the talking to get the Fenner Bros to accept her bid.

I think Charlotte's popularity came from the fact that she was a humorous female character who was actually really funny, and those are incredibly incredibly rare. She's easily the funniest character in the film, and people do gravitate to characters who make them laugh. Does her blonde, white, Princess-track rich-girl characterization help her with fans? Of course, even though it isn't necessary to the story. Charlotte could have been a wealthy and successful black jazz singer, who made her money on her own and had been named part of the Mardi Gras royal court. Prince Naveen would still be after her for her wealth, plus their mutual interest in jazz.

What's odd is the humor elements actually work better with white!Charlotte: we can make fun of her for her privilege, her naivete, her enthusiasm, her temper, and her loudmouth southern belle ways without consequence. Drop those same characteristics on black!Charlotte, and you'd most likely hear that she was a offensive caricature. She probably wouldn't have been as popular, as Feminist Disney alluded, because people would be conflicted about aspects of her character that seem, or would be, racist. I think the black!Charlotte would be a neat character, but she'd also be one more element that would be ceaselessly torn apart on whether or not she's a good role model or representation.


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