Is it fair to say most little girls aren’t programmed to love the color brown? From birth, girls know brown usually equals healthy, sensible, or old fashioned (like Cheerios, khaki pants, and wooden blocks). Some grow to love it, but it may take years.
So what was Disney thinking in 1995 when they released Pocahontas, an animated movie starring an eco-friendly princess in a plain brown tunic? The princess-in-pastel-gown-gets-rescued-by-handsome-prince formula had always been their bread and butter, but Pocahontas seriously threw a wrench in that plan. This girl was a passionate activist who was willing to give up anything to save her land from being mined, her tribe from going to war, and her man from execution. Oh and don’t forget she sang one of the most popular movie songs in Disney history, Colors of the Wind.
But is she on any of the Disney Princess merchandise? Rarely. Does your 5 year old know who she is? Doubtful. Why not?
I have 2 theories.
- It’s that brown tunic. Practical for paddling a canoe but terrible for printing on lunch boxes.
- Pocahontas was way ahead of her time. Green was just a color in 1995, not a lifestyle, not a global movement, and definitely not a popular topic for animated movies.
What’s around the river bend?
In some, the agenda is so lofty it will be completely lost on children and possibly even obnoxious to parents, but others emphasize simple topics that kids can understand and do something about. Rango may not inspire your 8 year old to revolt against golf course irrigation but A Turtle’s Tale may make her aware of what causes pollution, and both will provide a little sustainable entertainment on a hot summer day. Two thumbs up.
Do you have a favorite animated film with an environmental message, or does activism in kids’ movies drive you nuts? Let me know in the comments.