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I’m All for Positive Role models

January 30, 2011

and girl empowerment, etc., but I take issue with Disney’s newest Avalon High based on the book of the same name by author Meg Cabot. I was looking forward to an evening watching the movie with my girls and for the most part, it did not disappoint. It was the ending I could not believe.

Avalon High is actually going to be one of Cabot’s books that I let my girls read in middle school. The Princess Dairies series touch on topics I consider slightly more mature than the Disney movies. I’m glad I read those first before letting my oldest dig in.

But this ending! Wait a minute! Ali was actually King Arthur? Not Will?? Okay, don’t get me wrong–if that was what Meg Cabot had intended all along, then more power to her! Great strong characterization, good role model and all. But in the novel (spoiler alert) Ali is the Lady of the Lake but for most of the novel you think she may actually be Lady Elaine, Lancelot’s betrayed wife. What would have been so wrong with leaving well enough alone? The Lady of the Lake was a powerful woman figure to be reckoned with. I just do not get why Disney made such a drastic change or why Cabot let them. Then again, Cabot lets Disney kill off dear Prince Daddy from the Diaries series. I guess when you sell the rights, you sell the rights.

According to Wikipedia (and yes, I know I would never allow or accept a Wikipedia article as a reference in a paper) Disney made such plot alterations, that included adding the Miles character as Merlin and keeping Marco from being Mordred so he wouldn’t threaten his brother, because “many scenes were cut out and scene settings were changed to make the movie more appropriate for younger children because the book has violent and some threatening scenes.” Maybe that’s because Meg Cabot does not write for younger children.

I would like to see Disney make movies and programming for the older set because ABC Family seems to have forgotten what a family appropriate show should be. There seems to be nothing in between Disney’s sticky sweet Good Luck Charlie and ABC Family’s atrocious–how is that family programming–Pretty Little Liars? And sadly, even some of the Disney messages are questionable: London telling a thinner than most girls Bailey that fashion designers do not design for Plus size girls like her? Appropriate? I think not, no matter how absurd they make London. Children will repeat her–my own have. And they have no idea of the real effects such words cause because Bailey always bounces back and loves London anyway.

I haven’t watched Mean Girls and I’ve only seen snippets of the new sequel but while the main character I’m sure learns her lesson and redeems herself so that the underdog can become homecoming queen, I believe there are more girls out there wanting to be more like the Plastics than the two that ultimately triumph because they’ve been conditioned that the London-like behavior is okay and it gets its own laugh track.

So maybe a female King Arthur who doesn’t fit the rest of Disney’s formulas is not too bad. I still take issue with the fact the original wasn’t written that way and that the original Ellie was a stronger character herself to be looked up to.

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