At this point, follow the discussion about the protagonist of the live action de The Little Mermaid It may seem silly, but I take it as an example to put on the table some questions: Is society so divided that under any pretext it creates a media war in order to defend its ideals? Is the yearning for union and fraternity far from being fulfilled while we continue to attack on social networks? If that is the case, the inclusive discourse is not being effective.
Halle Bailey, a dark-skinned actress and singer, will play Ariel, which many internet users did not like and created the hashtag #NotMyAriel to demand that the original character be respected. How easy it would be to keep quiet and for everyone to decide to watch the movie or not, so why don't we do it?
We live in an era in which the inclusive and politically correct discourse is invading all spaces of culture and politics, which is why Bailey's choice as protagonist feels forced. Have you not noticed that now anyone can believe an authority to regulate the language and behavior of people? They talk like a mother giving a sermon about how we should be and how we should act. This tendency to impose our way of thinking on the other creates violent resistance. The thing gets worse when you want to change abruptly the beliefs that have been strongly rooted in people's mentality.
Some have interpreted the criticism of Bailey as racism, I do not doubt that many have judged the actress for her skin color instead of seeing her talent (something very similar to the case of Yalitza Aparicio), but it is also true that asking for an attached character to the original story is not racism. It's just that many millennials have a great attachment to the cartoons of our childhood and can be very fussy when someone messes with what we love.
By the way, an argument that was read on social networks says that Disney is creating stories for new generations and that millennials no longer interest them. I don't think Disney neglects the adult audience, being the one who pays. In the films for children some gags are included so that parents do not fall asleep, for example, in a scene of WALL-E (Andrew Stanton, 2008), the robot plays with a bra. Meanwhile in Up (Pete Docter, 2009) the little ones identify with Russell's vivacity and innocence, adults pay attention to other issues, such as the vicissitudes of an old man in a society that greatly appreciates the new and youth, nostalgia and confrontation with Death by losing a loved one.
I wonder if today's children can't enjoy the cartoons we saw in the nineties, after all, millennials have had fun with old Disney movies like La espada en la piedra (Wolfgang Reitherman, 1963) Robin Hood (1973) The Jungle Book (1967), and with animated series like The Flintstones, The Smurfs, Looney Toons o Scooby-Dooh, the latter have been so successful that they continue to be updated. In the case of Mexico, we have seen our parents' favorite shows, such as The Polivoces o The Chavo of the 8, thanks to Televisa transmitting them for a long time.
Young people born between the eighties and nineties, we have connection with the twentieth century, maybe that's why we can better understand the previous generations. Instead, the boys who are currently living their childhood have arrived in the digital era, have seen series and movies with other narratives and new values. They have no attachment for the past because they have their eyes fixed on the future.
Well, now let's change the perspective of this debate. The mermaids have gone through several metamorphoses, in Greek mythology half women, half birds appear as creatures. Later they changed the wings for a fish tail. What they all have in common is a captivating voice (and Bailey has it). In the story of the Danish writer Christian Hans Andersen, The little Mermaid, the protagonist has no name and the color of her hair is not mentioned, however, red has an important presence, because of that color the flowers are her garden. In what emphasizes your skin:
These were six, and all beautiful, although the most beautiful was the smallest; He had clear, delicate skin like a rose petal, and blue eyes like the deepest lake.
The red color brings with it a strong symbolic charge, in many fairy tales it represents sexual maturity. The symbols within myths and stories have several functions, including teaching ethical values, exposing the dominant ideology and creating an identity that unifies the members of a society. Some artists retake the old symbols, others create new ones according to the context, since societies also change their skin, a skin that is becoming increasingly sensitive.
Let's remember, it's not the first time a redhead is replaced by a black girl, does the movie sound like Annie?
Little Orphan Annie (Annie, John Huston, 1982) is a story that includes social criticism of American society in the 1920s. Possibly Anita's red hair refers to Irish migrants, and although this population was already accepted in the early twentieth century, discrimination against redheads is not over. At remake 2014, by director Will Gluck, Annie was played by a black girl in order to denounce the vulnerability of African Americans.
Some wondered why so much trouble against Halle Bailey if no one complained when Morgan Freeman played the part of God in Almighty (Bruce Almighty, Tom Shadyac, 2003). Of course there were controversies! A film that addresses the subject of religion satirically will cause controversy. Both in the United States and in other countries, believers said that the film ridiculed God. It was to be expected that conservatives were enraged at making him pass as a black man. Keep in mind that when the film was released there were no social networks where people could issue incendiary comments. Nor was the inclusive speech in vogue, so the proposal was irreverent and shocking.
The same could be said of Princess and the Frog (John Musker, Ron Clements, 2009). Disney introduced us to Tiana, an African-American girl from Lousiana from the 20 years. This film not only breaks the classic structure of fairy tales, but also social conventions. Undoubtedly, this film had a fresh proposal and the protagonist is one of the most authentic Disney princesses.
Although Tiana was also born with an inclusive purpose, because she wanted to show that not all princesses have to be white, she doesn't have the feeling of being a forced character because she has her own story. In this regard, another argument that circulated through the networks says that it is more offensive to force a black actress in a story where there is no such character, instead of recapturing the myths and legends of the original peoples of Africa or black communities in the rest of the world, because in this way their identities, customs, and their past are denied. Instead "progressives redesign the present to sell pathos." The discussion is getting more and more complicated.
However, it is necessary to consider that sometimes a character is created in order to be appropriated by a certain sector of the population, either for commercial or ideological purposes. For example, have you noticed how different the image of Christ is according to the artist and the time it was painted? Sometimes his features do not seem to be that of a Jew but of a European, you can see him blond, brown or black-haired. The purpose was to appropriate the Judeo-Christian religion and modify it according to the ideology that the ruler wanted to transmit to his people or impose in other countries. On the other hand, in Mexico God children are made of black color and we have a Virgin Mary who has no Jewish features. Being a brunette and carrying symbols of Mexican culture, she has become the representative deity of Mexican Catholics.
So do not be surprised that more characters from the series and movies we met in our childhood continue to change skin, sex (as Shun de Knights of the Zodiac) or sexual preferences (such as LeFou del live action de Beauty and the beast) in order to gain acceptance from different social groups. It is valid as long as you have a good script and the characters flow naturally. After all, it doesn't matter what Disney culture portrays, American ideology, its language, and its style are present in all its commercial productions.
On the other hand, some people are already tired of seeing a live action after another, even though technology gives us amazing photography and special effects, the narrative is sometimes lazy and disappointing, like now Mulán be a serious version without Mushu or musicals, or that The Lion King Look like a documentary.
The changes will always cause controversy, the art itself is a provocation, however, what we need as internet viewers is moderation. Social networks trigger a lot of information and opinions, which makes it difficult to reach an agreement. It seems that all or none can be right. The important thing is to respect the tastes and nostalgia of each one.