The Corner

Culture

Re: Go Ahead, Let Your Girl Dress as Moana

Kyle, I especially enjoyed the damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t part of our new Moana Standard:

The original article, written by Sachi Feris, discusses how her white daughter was torn between dressing as Elsa, from Frozen, or the titular character from Moana. Feris expresses concern that while an Elsa costume might reinforce notions of white privilege, dressing up as Moana is essentially cultural appropriation — the act of reducing someone’s culture to stereotypes, and thereby belittling it. Though Feris puzzles over how one might wear a Moana costume respectfully, she ultimately decides it just isn’t a good idea.

To recap, then: White girl dresses up as white woman? White privilege. White girl dresses up as a Polynesian woman: Cultural appropriation. Which leaves them what choices?

I also enjoyed this line:

Moana is a really special character to young girls of Polynesian descent who have never seen a Disney Princess who looks like them.

Perhaps. But, given that the movie grossed $643.3 million, she also seems to be special to quite a few other people. As Kyle notes, it is hard not to conclude that the advice being proffered here is as follows: “Hey, white kids. You know that non-white girl you like so much? Don’t. She’s of a different race.”

 

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