I’m sorry, but what the heck has happened to cartoons? Not only are they hideously ugly to look at and filled with vulgar humor, but they all seem to be spewing some sort of leftist ideology. I mean, seriously, what’s wrong with slipping on banana peels and having anvils fall on your head? Is that not funny anymore? Why does everything have to have a sanctimonious message?
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HuffPost says it’s “a beautiful moment” that “could be incredibly influential for kids who are soaking up social cues about what it means to be a boy or a girl.” But really, as with so many of these misguided, preachy “feminist” statements, the whole thing doesn’t make sense even on its own terms. It’s just a mash-up of generic “feminist” phrases and ideas that make no internal sense whatsoever.
Now, I have no idea what this show is actually about. I found it hard to even watch the clip (see below) in order to write this article. There’s a chainsaw-wielding torso with one severed arm and no legs, a disembodied unicorn head, and a variety of animal-headed, gruff-voiced “princesses.” It’s truly disturbing. But, according to IMDb, the show is about “intergalactic warrior” Star Butterfly who battles villains throughout the universe. Whatever. Who cares?
In the episode, Marco Diaz (Star’s friend) dresses up as a princess in order to save a bunch of (really weird) princesses from an evil headmistress named Ms. Heinous. But, when he’s outed as a boy, the other princesses love him so much that they suddenly decide that boys can be princesses too.
The logic of the episode seems to be that “princess” is a set of attributes rather than an entity which is specifically feminine. As such, a boy could be a princess just as much as a girl could. But, as far as I can tell, the episode doesn’t actually express what those attributes are. It certainly doesn’t outline any “traditionally female” behaviors or inclinations that Marco still possesses even though it turns out he’s actually a boy. In fact, it’s his male clothing and even the crude revelation that he has chest hair, that reveal him as a boy.
Is Marco a princess because he has a secret desire to play with girl toys, or wear dresses, or express his emotions, or be taken care of by someone stronger than himself? Nothing in the episode suggests this. So, he’s not a feminine male who needs to be accepted for who he is. Are the other princesses more “traditionally male” and therefore we should rethink the girly-ness of princesses? Nothing in the episode suggests this either. He’s just a boy who dressed up as a girl to in order to forward the plot.
The thing is, male cartoon characters dress up as girls all the time. Bugs Bunny constantly dressed in drag — usually to outsmart whoever was trying to kill him. It was a gag that worked on a bunch of levels. It was funny to see Bugs dressed in women’s clothing (a boy dressed up as a girl makes us laugh because it’s absurd), it was funny to watch the bad guy falling all over himself because Bugs was so pretty, and it was funny to see Bugs hit the bad guy over the head when he leaned in for a kiss.
Marco dressing up as Princess Turdina (why must his made-up name involve excrement??) is actually pretty much the same gag. Sure, he’s not trying to seduce anyone, but he’s dressing as a girl in order to infiltrate the princess school and beat the bad guy. It’s a disguise, and no one is saying he’s actually a girl (except for the people who don’t know he’s really a boy).
When the evil Ms. Heinous arrives, she outs Marco (who was already going to confess because he felt bad about deceiving everyone) by pulling down the front of his dress and revealing a lone chest hair. (Again, why must we involve hairy chests??) At first, the princesses don’t believe that he’s actually a boy. “Princesses can be hairy,” says a particularly hairy princess. But then Marco pulls off his dress and wig, revealing his true self.
If that was it — if he’d dressed up as a girl to save the princesses and then been revealed as a boy by the bad guy — this cartoon would be pretty much like any other cartoon (except for how ugly and disgusting it is to look at). But then the other princesses fall all over themselves in order to say that Marco’s obvious (and self-identified) maleness doesn’t exclude him from the princess club.
“He can be a princess if he wants to.” “Turdina’s a state of mind!” And, totally randomly, “Free will!” the princesses shout. But here’s the thing: Marco doesn’t want to be a princess. He didn’t dress up as one because he wanted to fit in, he did it to save the princesses. He’s a boy who tried to rescue a bunch of girls. That’s pretty much as “traditionally male” as you can get.
Look, if you want to say that boys can be princesses too, that’s fine. I disagree with you but I don’t take issue with you expressing your opinion. What I do take issue with is making arguments that make absolutely no sense and then being lauded for them because they hit all the “feminist” buzz words. It’s sloppy, it’s lazy, and it’s dishonest. Get your act together, Disney. Oh, and while you’re at it, hire better artists. Your cartoons are unwatchable.