Monday, April 14, 2008

The next Disney Princess

Mom, what is this song we are listening to?

Another Suitcase in Another Hall. From Evita.

Oh. Is Evita a Disney Princess?

Well, Sam. No. But that's such an interesting question. I think I'll stew about it all day while I nurse my sick babies. (Sam pukes, Tom pukes and poops, Jane coughs and sneezes but does not puke. Yet.)

I'm not sure even Disney can add enough sugar to that story to make it a palatable fairy tale. I will give it to you that Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice vilified her somewhat unfairly, if very beautifully, in song. Eva Peron wasn't a fascist or a Communist. (Why does cybersitter keep taking out fascist but leaves communist?) She really did try to help the poor. She also went on that Rainbow Tour of Europe, where she wore fancy clothes and got ridiculed cuz she was friends with Francisco Franco, who was not the coolest kid on the continent at the time. She has a classic rags (to actress of questionable morals to political activist) to riches story. There really might be something for Disney to work with there.

If an opportunistic wife of a South American president/dictator will ever break into that exclusive princess cohort, it will be Evita. But it will be a tough go. Not only will she have to fit the glass slipper, but she's got to get through the palace's glass ceiling. Once she's in, she will still need to sell a heck of a lot of merchandise to really secure her spot, with Cinderella breathing down her neck all the while. Pocahontas couldn't do it (even with her own feature-length animated picture and Vanessa Williams insisting this Indian maiden could paint with all the colors of the wind); she just didn't have the right dress. Animal skins just don't cut it in this clique. One should not underestimate the importance of the dress. The Little Mermaid got a dress exception, but she had to show more cleavage to make up for it.

In a 1996 interview, Tomás Eloy Martínez referred to Eva Perón as "the Cinderella of the tango and the Sleeping Beauty of Latin America".

Aha! So there's at least one guy out there who thinks she's got a shot at the big time.

(To be fair, Martinez also said many other, non-princess-related things in the same interview, including this:
"Latin American myths are more resistant than they seem to be. Not even the mass exodus of the Cuban raft people or the rapid decomposition and isolation of Fidel Castro's regime have eroded the triumphal myth of Ché Guevara, which remains alive in the dreams of thousands of young people in Latin America, Africa and Europe. Ché as well as Evita symbolize certain naive, but effective, beliefs: the hope for a better world; a life sacrificed on the altar of the disinherited, the humiliated, the poor of the earth. They are myths which somehow reproduce the image of Christ."

I don't think he was starting a grass roots campaign to see her as a cartoon. In fact, if he thinks Christ's ideals are naive, what do you think he'd say to "when you wish upon a star"?)

If Peron gets her Princess role, I think her countryman Che Guevara should at least get his own ride in Fantasyland. It couldn't be any weirder or scarier than Snow White. That's one creepy ride.

Who else might make a good Disney heroine? Maybe Joan of Arc? She and Mulan have a lot in common.


Jolene said...

I think Joan of Arc is a good one -every Disney princess needs some kind of talking animal and Joan had all of those horses she took in to battle. I would much rather have my young daughters dressed in chain mail and talking to God than wanting a sea shell bra and singing "Kiss the Girl".

Brett & Shireen said...

This is, perhaps, one of my favorite posts, Kelly... Very thought provoking. I'm going to keep thinking of appropriate princesses, but I agree that Joan of Arc could work!

Pam said...

Wow Kelly you always amaze me with your knowledge of history and this one did it again. I bet if you wrote the screen play for Joan and sent it into Disney you could be quite famous. Add Jo's talking horses and I think you'll have a disney classic.

Heather said...

You amaze me as well! I hope your babes are feeling better.

Hailey said...

I sort of wanted to play Evita once upon a time because she has some cool songs but then my mom went and saw the play and called me and said, "Evita? Really? Are ya sure?"

And I have no doubt that Joan of Arc is probably being developed on some Disney storyboard somewhere...

shell said...

no kidding Kelly I love this post. very good read. I like your blog because its not a "look how cute my kids are" type of blog. your super