With the advent of the Disney movie “Frozen” being another example of Disney not being as inclusive as they can be with their fairy tale themes and European tales not having a reason to have Poc. I think back to this show from my youth.
When I was 10, I used to love this series called “happily ever after”. It took my favorite fairy tales and reinvented them for a modern age. At the time I never appreciated just how amazing these reinventions were. Taking on an inclusiveness and feminist twist.
Some I remember are. Princess and the pea was set in Ancient Korea where the prince was fighting against the forced marriage and the ridiculous way his mother was determining what made a woman worthy. He fell in love with the less glamorous, but kind, funny and intelligent woman who was only proven to be a true princess by the pea test. The story kept its intent, but gave it importance. Margaret Cho was the voice of the Queen so extra awesome.
Rip van winkle was a about chauvinistic hippie husband who silenced his wifes voice, he falls asleep and 20 years later awakens to find she found it again and changed the world for the better.
Or the frog princess about challenging gender roles and the showed that the frog was a beauitul black woman who married a white prince. At the time I didn’t understand the social importance of interracial couples.
As a kid, I didn’t know why it was important there was non-white representation in a kids show. I do recall falling in love and drawing the representations of other cultures, but never questioned why. I just liked it because I liked cartoons and strong female characters. It was presented with such easy earnest and loving care, it never felt political or forced. It just was and it was loved all the same.
As a young white person then, the import of non-white characters never hit me, but I am sure there are girls out there that were thrilled to see their culture and strong representations of their race/ethnicity presented. I am a strong believer that inclusiveness is important for childrens media and that children will lovingly accept any princess that is created with tender care.
I know this from personal experience, because I loved this show and after tracking down these photos I never noticed how few white people there were. So perhaps Disney should take a hint from this 20 year old show. You don’t need white princess to sell a franchise, give society a chance. We’re ready for some diversity.
Episode synosis herehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happily_Ever_After:_Fairy_Tales_for_Every_Child
Edit 2: the response to this is inspiring and amazing. If you have HBO they play reruns on hbo family, or on HBO go they have 6 episodes every month cycle out. You can also find a few of them on youtube. I wonder how many notes it would take for HBO to release the whole series on dvd? I would love to buy it for my niece.
Edit 3: found some episodes on dvd on amazon here