Pocohantas - a review -
Date: Mon, 26 Jun 95 17:06:06 PDT
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Subject: Pocohantas - a review -
Forwarded-by: email@example.com (Lani Herrmann)
Forwarded-by: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jennifer L Michael)
Forwarded-by: Joan L. Saverino
Forwarded-by: Felicia R. Mcmahon
Forwarded-by: McMahon, John M <email@example.com>
From: Monique Sol Sonoquie <firstname.lastname@example.org>
[reposted (at least the first time) with her permission.]
Well, I had the disgusting privilege of previewing Pocahontas this week.
I kind of had an idea of what to expect, but was still surprised at what I
saw. Knowing some of the historical facts of course gave me some bias, but
my biggest problems did not stem from this. First of all, I am appalled
that Disney is making money off of the life of a child molester. Yes, John
Smith was at least 42 when he met Pocahontas, child of 11. He writes in
his own "Histories", that he did not have a relationship with her, but
basically raped her, left her with child and still saw her as a uncivilized
savage. That she did go to Europe but died at the age of 21.
But what really surprised me was the way that Pocahontas was presented to
children, as an enormously-breasted, protruding rear-ended, voluptuous dark,
savage. John Smith was the only blonde-haired, blue-eyed, young, studly
man on the ship of over 200 men. The extreme sensual/sexual over tones in
this children's animation are discomforting. Who is the movie for? children
or men. The continuous profile shots of Pocahontas' breast, which appear
to be maturing(beyond womanhood) before the viewers eyes are distracting
and hard to ignore, unnecessary, stereotypic and sexist. What kind of
message does this give young women, especially Native American women? That
to be beautiful is to be large-breasted and anorexic? The skin shots are
"proof" of an uncivilized people: off the shoulder buckskin dress,
mid-drift, and thigh high skirt, that keeps crawling up to the top of her
thighs (especially in the scene when she is crawling around like an animal
spying on John Smith).
Have I mentioned the "Kill the Injuns" song, that surprisingly appears on
Yes, at one point, the "savages" call the Europeans "savages", and this is
supposed to make up for the 30 minutes in which it's embedded in our
children's heads who are the real "savages", "filthy heathens". We know
children, we know what they pick up on, and we know how cruel they can be.
While, let me tell you Disney that if my children are called "savages" or
"filthy heathens" even once, we're talking major law suit. Growing up as
the only Native American in school, I know how cruel and insensitive
children can be, even in play. I know how painful and devastating the scars
are that words can leave.
The other ridiculous historical inaccuracies are: John Smith never saved
any "Injuns" life (he saves her father's); they never had a relationship;
they didn't just go away (Europeans), they never did. Yes, Disney admits
that this is not historically accurate, but we know how children have a
difficult time separating fantasy from reality. Shit, even adults I have
spoken with believed the story was accurate. Disney is now in the business
of manufacturing history. Native Americans have been bombarded with this
strategy in order to dehumanize, strip us of property and basic human rights
since the Europeans stepped on this land.
Yes, three well known actors have conceded to be part of this, but that is
what they are "actors". There were also many Native American people who
declined the parts based on the script and racist, sexist, stereotypical
slant of the film. And why the gigantic hoopla? No other Disney movie was
shown in Central Park. I'll tell you why. The film was not that funny.
Yes, all of Disney's animated films are sexist, and racist, but at least
there is humor. There were very little laughs in the screening I attended.
Yes, it had some beautiful shots in it, but the negativity and sexuality
Why didn't Disney just write a whole new story? They could have done a
decent job with out the "Boobs", or racial slurs. Now that they've done
Arabs, Fishes, and Native Americans, are they going to do Africans? Will
they refer to them as "Nigars", like they called Native Americans "filthy
heathens", Is there a difference? NO. Or was the Lion King as close as
Will America open their eyes? Everybody talks about sex and violence on
television, what about Disney? I could go on, but I think I've made myself
clear. I invite you to see for yourself, but please don't take your
children until you've viewed it first. Believe me, the temper tantrums and
nagging if you don't take them will be more tolerable than the instilled
ignorance and sexist/racist habits they pick-up in the film. Tantae.
Monique Sol Sonoquie / email@example.com
© 1995 Peter Langston