Monday, July 16, 2012

Things That Happened Today

Today I woke to my mom screaming bloody murder at the dog like it was killing something. Actually he was just chasing one of our cats around the yard (again), which never leads to actual death, and is not likely to. The dog is afraid of the young cat in our house that is 1/8 his size, see, and he only ever chews on synthetic products or his rawhide bones. The entire house was nicely awake after this episode.

I arrived at my new internship site on time, but had to wait, as no one else could access the computer database I needed in order to do my job that day. After an hour I was permitted to leave, as my supervisor who did know how to work the database had not arrived, nor left any message as to where she was. About 45 minutes after leaving, I not only discovered that Walmart apparently didn't sell lunch box freezer packs, but my supervisor had made it into the office.

Swinging back to said office, I was finally permitted to search through 29 pages of data, looking for any errors. Five hours later I managed to finish the project, after some boosts from my good friend caffeine. Somewhere between walking out the building and to my car 30 ft away, I lost my last pair of sunglasses, D'oh!

By this time it was well after 5:30pm, and I had promised to visit a friend. Also needing to wash my car, I got a sandwich at Port of Subs, headed to the nearby auto car wash, and jammed to indie rock and the swoosh of running water while I ate.

Visiting my friend went well, I got to show off my new ipad, and we chatted about random stuff. We're going to the midnight showing of Dark Knight Rises, it's gonna be awesome! I headed to the nearby shopping center and managed to score a 2/$15 deal on sunglasses. They fit nice enough, but I noticed on the 30 minute drive home that they put a lot of aching pressure on my nose. So the search is still on.

Kind of a crazy Monday, not sure if these events will be an indicator of the rest of the week...

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Gender Issues in Children's Films

First off, let's all give a grand cheer that I finished my six-week internship at the hospital without major incident, "Hurrah!"

Secondly, the inspiration for this blog came from watching the Colbert Report and hearing how Pixar's latest movie, Brave, might possibly be about a lesbian princess. Go ahead and try a web search, apparently it's all over news magazines and entertainment blogs because a few authors speculated a strong, independent female who wants to fight like one of the boys can't be anything other than gay. Without actually wading into that fray myself, I, along with my coworker, instead went to the Disney filmography, including Pixar's films, and went through each major theatrical release that we've seen to analyze that movie for strong female characters. I lucked out with memories of the movies, as I have a five-year-old girl living with me who watches them constantly. Granting a point for each film with a strong female character, we came up with about 17 points for over 70 years worth of Disney movies, including the live action ones. Not very encouraging.

One of my biggest criticisms in recent years when it comes to Pixar, is their seeming inability to break away from the "let's be buddies" plot line, a la Toy Story, wherein they also seem to have difficulty portraying a female character as anything other than a motherly nurturer or sexual enticement to the male characters. Disney is hardly much better as females tend to be damsels in distress or sexy femme fatales. So if Brave is in fact, breaking the pattern by having a strong female lead wherein romantic interest isn't the entire point of her existence nor is it awkwardly placed (Ratatouille I'm looking at you) then by all means, I will withhold my usual cynicism. (I am actually quite fond of many Disney/Pixar works, so this article is by no means flames and hatred, save that for the summer barbeques).

For brevity's sake, I stuck to those full-length feature films that were either entirely or partly animated for this blog entry, going into a bit more detail now that I had better access to Wikipedia and Google. However, before we wade into such an endeavor, it might help to define what I'm looking for. The feminine identity is a complicated beast, and what girls look for in a story is often quite different than what a boy would want, and Mr. Neil Gaiman talks about gendered stories quite nicely in this essay. What I tend to see in Female-oriented stories are an emphasis on relationships, whether with a lover, family, or friends; whereas male-oriented tales have a specific goal the character wants to achieve, whether it's treasure, acknowledgement, or a love interest. What is often valued in classic folk lore in many cultures are women operating in the spheres of hearth and nursery, thus exalting traits that would make a woman an ideal wife and mother. It is important to point out though, that much of Disney's volume of work (and subsequently, DreamWorks, Pixar, and so forth) are based on these folk tales, and as such, follow those cultural and historical patterns that many critics of today see: that of sexism, racism, and so forth, especially from early cultural works. Joseph Campbell was helpful enough to undertake a study of the breadth of existing mythological sources for patterns that he summarized using the example of the hero's narrative and then utilized Jungian psychology to point out character archetypes that can be used for most any work of literature. Also helpful for this scholar was finding that many internet bloggers already talk about Campbell's archetypes and thus make handy quick references, including one on adapting the mythic frame to stories about female heroes.

There are a wide range, often narrowed down to eight, roles that characters, whether male or female, can occupy in any given story. I made extensive use of this blog's descriptions, although feel free to wander around or elsewhere on the internet if you want even more detail. For the role of heroines, we have the BOSS (leadership role), the SEDUCTRESS (sexy girl), the SPUNKY KID (attitude), the FREE SPIRIT (hippie or oddball), the WAIF (damsel in distress), the LIBRARIAN (clean-cut intellectual), the CRUSADER (warrior woman), and the NURTURER (mommy or caretaker). In order to give a Disney/Pixar film a point for strong female characters, it had to meet certain criteria:
1) Female characters, or characters that have feminine traits.
2) Being of an archetype other than SEDUCTRESS, WAIF, or NURTURER, since those are the most common according to many critics.
3) If occupying SEDUCTRESS, WAIF or NURTURER, at least have other characteristics to give her an independent identity, instead of exhibiting just passivity or sexual appeal as in classic literature, e.g. the sexy lamp test.
4) If occupying SPUNKY KID, must be more than an adorable mascot, since that also appears to be common.

This entry took on way more detail than my original debate went, by the way.
1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: If you want an iconic example of the WAIF, Snow White is it. I mean, not only is her theme song "Someday My Prince Will Come," but in reaction to her stepmother wanting to kill her for being younger and prettier, she runs away and keeps house for seven bachelors, along with her cute little animal friends. Plus, the interactions between Snow White and the dwarves scream NURTURER. The wicked stepmother is more of a BOSS archetype, seeing as how she wants her own way, even if she has to kill to get it.

1940 Pinocchio: The only female character in this movie is the Blue Fairy, who really isn't much other than NURTURER, she just appears sometimes and gives the title character life/advice/scolding.

1940 Fantasia: Hard to classify what is essentially an arts film, but after careful thinking, "The Pastoral Symphony" and "Dance of the Hours" are the only parts with both plot AND female characters. Both of these performances are deeply entrenched in sexual tension. There are probably scholars out there screaming about the centaur scenes.

1941 Dumbo: Dumbo's mom, who is a textbook NURTURER, is still one fierce mama who is willing to crush anyone hurting her baby. Which is easy, being a ginormous elephant. +1 for tossing hay and spanking troublemakers. Also my family would knock some heads if anyone badmouths "Baby Mine."

1942 Bambi: Bambi's mom, NURTURER. Also Faline, Bambi's eventual mate, also a NURTURER, although she might also be somewhat WAIF.

1943-46 Saludos Amigos/The Three Caballeros: What women do appear in these anthologies of short films are often pretty girls that get chased around by the males, which is really weird when the males are cartoon birds.

1949 The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad: What few females appear are either initially SEDUCTRESS or NURTURER.

1950 Cinderella: Another iconic WAIF, although I give Cinderella credit for having the guts to defy her stepmother and go to the ball anyway (with a little help). The stepmother, by the way, makes for a good CRUSADER/BOSS, since she is dedicated to pushing her own daughter's goals over Cinderella's. The stepsisters don't offer much to the story other than to illustrate how annoying and miserable Cinderella's life is, although the sequels kind of expand on one of the sister's personalities. +1 for being sort of different

1951 Alice in Wonderland: Alice is a SPUNKY KID, filled with moxie and wanting things her own way until she wanders into a world that gives her exactly what she wants. After realizing that insanity is best served in small doses, she returns to reality and her NURTURER sister. However, Alice is not a very active role in her story, merely following along from place to place and getting very confused by everything. The Queen of Hearts is a BOSS, as characterized by punishing those who defy her with beheading. +1 to the Queen lest she decides to off more heads.

1952 Peter Pan: The whole reason for bringing Wendy to Neverland is to be mother to the Lost Boys, which is keeping house, therefore, NURTURER. Tinker Bell is very much a SEDUCTRESS/SPUNKY KID, and when Peter ignores her in favor of Wendy, she responds by trying to get the Lost Boys to kill Wendy, and when that failed, bargaining with Captain Hook, which almost kills Peter. Tiger Lily and the Mermaids, while brief, are part of the lure of Neverland as a haven for boys with low impulse control, plus can be considered to be somewhat sexual in their presentation. +1 for Tinker Bell.

1955 Lady and the Tramp: I would argue Lady was something of a FREE SPIRIT until the baby arrived, and that conflict drove her to meet Tramp, wherein she becomes more WAIF-like.

1959 Sleeping Beauty: By now, Disney has firmly developed princesses who have cute animal minions, sing perfect sopranos, and are willing to wait for their prince to sweep them off their feet. WAIF Aurora is balanced by the wicked Sorceress, a CRUSADER, who nearly wins the day and turns into a dragon. The three fairies are NURTURERS, although they could be argued to be FREE SPIRITS as well. +1 for awesome dragon ladies!

1961 One Hundred and One Dalmatians: Mama Dalmatian Perdita and human wife Anita both occupy the NURTURER role. Cruella De Vil is very much a CRUSADER in her pursuit of being fashionable, however she is only a side character and a villain to boot. +1 for fashion, dahling.

1963 The Sword in the Stone: The only significant female is the witch Merlin fights with, I'll place her under evil FREE SPIRIT. Although powerful, she is made to appear ugly and loses to poor hygiene and immune development, plus there was that weird sexual tension moment. +1 perhaps?

1964 Mary Poppins: NURTURER, although an argument can be made for Mary Poppins occupying the FREE SPIRIT archetype as well. Jane Banks, while something of a SPUNKY KID, comes off as being little more than the de facto female child to the duo of children in the story. Being of British origin, the other women in the film are servants, housewives, or strangers on the street.

1967 The Jungle Book: The only females of significance in this movie are the female wolf in the beginning that raises Mowgli, a NURTURER, and the human girl that serves as the lure for Mowgli leaving the jungle and joining civilization. The girl sings a song of domesticity as she fetches water and flutters her eyelashes, so clearly this is a SEDUCTRESS, if anything.

1970 The Aristocats: Duchess is a NURTURER, although she takes on aspects of WAIF and SEDUCTRESS when interacting with O'Malley. Madame Adelaide is a NURTURER, her role in the story is amusing as the crazy old cat-lady, but still not very uncommon.

1971 Bedknobs and Broomsticks: Miss Price is a FREE SPIRIT, and it's rather awesome she uses her magic to help out the war effort during WWII. Carrie Rawlins doesn't have much point other than to be a girl amongst the boys that I can see. +1 for summoning magical walking armor!

1973 Robin Hood: Maid Marian may be a WAIF and a silly romantic, but she does make some effort during the festival fight to help out. Her nursemaid, Lady Kluck, though, is much more of a badass CRUSADER/NURTURER combo. The other females in the film are firmly in NURTURER mode. +1 for side characters being more awesome than the mains.

1977 The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: The only female in the entire Winnie the Pooh series is Kanga, who is definitely a NURTURER.

1977 The Rescuers: Miss Bianca is a very competent agent, but she is still more of a NURTURER than anything else, what with guiding a bumbling Bernard on their mission. Penny is something of a WAIF/SPUNKY KID, but I feel the WAIF tendencies are more likely due to age. Madame Medusa is a BOSS, seeing how she is very controlling with her minions. +1 for alligator skiing.

1977 Pete's Dragon: Nora is a NURTURER, taking care of Pete and her father. Lena Gogan doesn't have much screen time, but she would be the antagonistic version of NURTURER.

1981 The Fox and the Hound: We have Big Mama owl, a NURTURER, Widow Tweed, also a NURTURER, and finally Vixey, something of a WAIF/SEDUCTRESS.

1983 The Black Cauldron: Princess Eilonwy is a SPUNKY KID, as she not only has magic and cleverness, but is willing to use it to fight. Technically there is also Hen Wen, who would be more of a FREE SPIRIT with the attitude she displays towards Taran. Additional females include the fairies and the witches, who operate as comic-relief FREE SPIRITs and means to move the plot onward. +1 for magical princesses.

1986 The Great Mouse Detective: Olivia Flaversham is a textbook SPUNKY KID, actively searching for someone to help her find her father, and taking part in the rescue efforts as well. We also have the mouse version of Queen Victoria, who is always a BOSS woman with attitude. Felicia, Ratigan's pet cat, is an awesome punishment mechanism, for all that she doesn't have much of a speaking role. +1 for queens and cats.

1988 Oliver & Company: This version of Oliver Twist has Rita the Saluki, a NURTURER, who helps to look after Oliver; Jenny Foxworth, the kind young rich girl who ends up adopting him, is most fitting under WAIF, although she does go out to rescue Oliver on her own; and finally Georgette the spoiled poodle, who best fits the SEDUCTRESS archetype.

1989 The Little Mermaid: Ariel, for all she is a spoiled teenager, is more a FREE SPIRIT than a WAIF, as she is willing to go after her man even with certain obstacles like biological differences in the way. Ursula is a BOSS who was denied what she feels she was entitled to, thus the trickery and vengeance. The servant women, while having their own parts in the movie, still only fill the role of a means of moving the plot forward and providing comedy relief. Still, the head maid is someone I wouldn't want to cross, as Chef Louie thoroughly knows. +1 for trying something new.

1990 DuckTales: Treasure of the Lost Lamp: The entire run of DuckTales the main females are Mrs. Beakley, the NURTURER housekeeper, and Webby, her granddaughter, the female SPUNKY KID. The movie doesn't even have one of the few female villains.

1990 The Rescuers: Down Under: Miss Bianca is back as the competent agent NURTURER, although this time Bernard's clumsiness is due to love, instead of inexperience. The whole movie is a long running gag of interruptions to Bernard's marriage proposal. Also female in this movie is the goanna who works for the villain McLeach, the nurse mice in Australia, and the driving plot element: the mother golden eagle Marahute, who defaults as NURTURER, protecting her eggs and by extension Cody. There are other female animals in the movie, but they don't have much of a role.

1991 Beauty and the Beast: Belle is a fierce dreamer, and a FREE SPIRIT when compared to the others in her village. She is willing to take an active role in finding her father and then finding love, but the Stockholm Syndrome going on makes me cringe when I think about it too much. Mrs. Potts is the NURTURER element Disney needs to have around, and there is also the SEDUCTRESS in the form of the head maid. The Enchantress, while brief, could also be a NURTURER, albeit of the tough love sort. +1 for liking libraries.

1992 Aladdin: Jasmine is the first Disney princess to have CRUSADER tendencies, as not only does she go her own way, but will even back down and find someone who can help her get what she wants through diplomatic means. Even when faced with the prospect that her beloved is executed, she goes to the sultan to deal with Jafar, knowing she doesn't yet have the power to take him down. I also love how in the third movie she is right in the fray punching the men who have disrupted her wedding. The other mentionable females in this movie are the village girls, who are usually in SEDUCTRESS mode, and their mothers, who are usually in mama bear NURTURER mode. Not bad for a misrepresentation of Middle Eastern Muslim culture. +1 for being kickass with a pet tiger.

1994 The Lion King: Main female is Nala, a CRUSADER/SPUNKY KID who as a child is Simba's equal, and as an adult, is one of the few in the lion kingdom to still hold hope for Simba being alive, supports Simba's return, and ends up as queen of the lions, a much more significant role than king of the lions (thank you Animal Planet). Also we have the other lionesses, all CRUSADER/NURTURERS, and Shenzi the hyena, definitely a BOSS who thought Scar was a partner if not an equal. +1 for dominant female hunters, "She-Is-Fiercer."

1995 A Goofy Movie: The only significant female is Roxanne, Max's love interest. Not really a WAIF or SEDUCTRESS, I'd argue she's more of a NURTURER considering the way she interacts with her friends. The only other female character with vocals is Roxanne's friend with the braces and that large gutsy lady in the Powerline concert scene. Something that bothered me growing up about this movie, based as it is on the Disney tv series Goof Troop, is whatever happened to Pete's wife? Also, nothing is ever really mentioned about what happened to Max's mom, I always assumed she had died when Max was younger.

1995 Pocahontas: The daughter of Chief Powhatan is a FREE SPIRIT who wants to run around with nature, unwilling to settle for Kocoum, a warrior she feels is too serious. She ultimately ends up stopping a violent conflict with the English settlers by bodily protecting John Smith, something of a male love interest in the film. Also female is Grandmother Willow, a sage NURTURER, and Pocahontas' best friend Nakoma, more of a WAIF. The film may be a gross caricature of Native Americans and the violent early history of English settlement, but it's a decent attempt considering Disney (how far we have come since Songs of the South). +1 for trying and still failing.

1995 Toy Story: The quintessential buddy movie. We have Bo Peep, a NURTURER among the toys, Andy's mom, obviously a NURTURER as well, Hannah Phillips, who is something of a WAIF under her brother's sociopathic tendencies, and Andy's baby sister, who is there to be cute.

1996 James and the Giant Peach: There are the evil aunts, both BOSSES, the Ladybug, a NURTURER, the Spider, a SEDUCTRESS/NURTURER, and the Glowworm, a daft old lady for comedy relief.

1996 The Hunchback of Notre Dame: The only significant female is Esmeralda, definitely a FREE SPIRIT, and a fierce protector of anyone she cares about. Also, was anyone else expecting her to romantically love Quasimodo instead of Phoebus? +1 for God Help the Outcasts.

1997 Hercules: Megara is equal parts SEDUCTRESS/SPUNKY KID, she is not afraid to fight for what she wants, but disguises a lot of hurt and insecurity with a sharp sarcastic wit. I would even argue for Meg being somewhat LIBRARIAN, as she clearly has some intellect to use in helping Hades with his conniving, but she holds herself as prim, proper, and untouchable because of a past betrayal. Also in this movie we have the amazing Gospel diva Muses who are FREE SPIRITS, Hera and Alcmene, both NURTURERS in the mother role, and the Fates, who are mostly BOSS, considering they already know how things will turn out, yet try to get their way anyhow. +1 for being fun despite horribly depicting Greek myths.

1998 Mulan: Our heroine starts out as a SPUNKY KID/FREE SPIRIT, but when the health of her father is threatened by the emperor's draft, she boldly takes off in true CRUSADER fashion to join the army in her father's place, becoming one of the best warriors. She also manages to save China from a Hun invasion. We also have Mulan's mother and grandmother, both in NURTURER roles, although grandmother does so in more crazy old lady fashion. +1 for warrior women.

1998 A Bug's Life: There is Princess Atta, a BOSS in training, seeing how she is constantly stressed about doing things properly. Then there is the current Queen, something of a BOSS/NURTURER, and Dot, the SPUNKY KID mascot for the movie. In the circus troupe, we have Rosie, a NURTURER black widow, and Gypsy, a NURTURER gypsy moth. +1 for flying queens.

1999 Tarzan: Jane is every inch a proper Victorian lady, and I'm still amazed she is willing to tolerate the jungle in those outfits. Very much a LIBRARIAN/WAIF, as she continually needs saving from the dangers of the jungle, yet has an amazing intellect that is actually appreciated! Her attitude and spunkiness is much better developed in the tv series. She even saves a city of mystical jaguar people. Then we have Kala, Tarzan's adopted mother, typical NURTURER, and Terk, a sarcastic SPUNKY KID sidekick. +1 for smart ladies who don't know how to dress for jungle expeditions.

1999 Toy Story 2: Besides Bo Peep and the previous female characters, we are introduced to Jesse, the SPUNKY KID reminder of what happens to toys after kids grow up. Is it bad of me I consider her angst better indication of character than her enthusiastic personality? Also there is Mrs. Potato Head, a NURTURER figure, and the Barbies, definite SEDUCTRESSES. +1 for When She Loved Me.

2000 Fantasia 2000: "Rhapsody in Blue" has a spoiled rich female, my best guess would be BOSS. "Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Major" has the ballerina, something of a SEDUCTRESS, as she occupies the romantic pursuit of both the Steadfast Tin Soldier and the evil Jack-in-the-Box. "Pomp and Circumstance" has Daisy Duck, in something of a WAIF role, seeing as both Donald and Daisy go through a period of depression when they think the other drowned in the flood. As finale, we get "Firebird Suite" with the spring sprite, a SPUNKY KID who accidentally awakens a destructive Firebird and nearly destroys everything, but is encouraged by her elk friend to bring back Spring. +1
for that finale, wow.

2000 The Emperor's New Groove: There are only three females in this entire movie -- Yzma, the villainous emperor's advisor, a BOSS denied her rightful place as a leader, Chicha, another textbook NURTURER wife and mother, albeit with a sarcastic wit, and finally Chaca, Pacha's little daughter, and obligatory SPUNKY KID. +1 for the wrong lever.

2001 Atlantis: The Lost Empire: Kida is a proper warrior princess, thoroughly a CRUSADER fighting to save her people from extinction. We also have Lt. Helga, the femme fatale SEDUCTRESS of the group, Audrey Ramirez, the SPUNKY KID mechanic, and Packard, a cynical FREE SPIRIT used for comedy relief mostly. +1 for warrior princess who also may be goddesses.

2001 Monsters Inc.: There is Celia, a BOSS of the administrative world, and Mike's love interest, Roz, the raspy BOSS/NURTURER of the clerical department (and other things) always after Mike to do the paperwork properly and Boo, the SPUNKY KID toddler who is the catalyst for the movie's plot. There is also the exasperated monster trainer at the beginning, but she is only there for the setup of the world.

2002 Lilo & Stitch: The character of Lilo wouldn't work if she wasn't a girl, as it is expected for young boys to have odd habits. One of the sassiest SPUNKY KID/FREE SPIRITs in Disney, she is joined by her struggling NURTURER/CRUSADER Nani, a fierce woman willing to fight off aliens to protect her sister. The Grand Council head is also female (I think), and very much a BOSS archetype. Pleakley can count for being female, even though Disney was clearly making trans jokes with the character. Pleakley would best fit under a LIBRARIAN type, as he/she is the "expert" on Earth life, struggles to remain neat and proper in the face of chaos, but wants to break out of tradition by wearing pretty wigs and dresses. +1 for diverse sisters and feminine aliens!

2002 Treasure Planet: Characters who are female include Jim Hawkin's mom, NURTURER, and Captain Amelia, a very capable BOSS. Not bad for a remake of a boys' adventure story . +1 for badass ship captains

2003 Finding Nemo: There's Dory, the ditziest NURTURER so far, and Deb, another somewhat loose screw NURTURER. Other background characters and maybe some of the children at the reef are girls, but it's hard to tell.

2004 The Incredibles: We have Elastigirl, who is NURTURER/CRUSADER, perfect for a superhero turned mom, and her daughter Violet, a shy girl who is WAIF/NURTURER, at least until she gains more confidence in using her powers, then she is just as CRUSADER as her mom. As side characters we have Mirage, SEDUCTRESS, and Kari, a ditzy babysitter NURTURER. Also there is Edna Mode, one of the most badass FREE SPIRIT ladies I've seen. +1 for female superheroes being heroes.

2005 Chicken Little: Abby Mallard plays Chicken Little's best friend and love interest, mostly in a NURTURER role in the movie. There is also Foxy Loxy with her friend Goosey Loosey as the school bullies, somewhat CRUSADER in approach, but at the end Foxy is mind altered to a Southern Belle singer who partners with Runt, becoming more FREE SPIRIT in demeanor as well, though that's played as something horrible to happen to her.

2006 Cars: Sally plays the spunky lawyer girl turned hotel manager who is one of the key characters helping Lightning McQueen see how the pursuit of fame and wealth isn't all it's cracked up to be. In that sense, she is very much in a NURTURER role. Other females in the movie include Flo, the owner of the gas station/diner, and Lizzie, widow of the founder of Radiator Springs. Both would also fit best under a NURTURER archetype.

2007 Ratatouille: Besides the woman whose house at the beginning that provides the backdrop and springboard for the main character to move to Paris, the only other female in this movie is Colette, the only female chef working in the once prestigious restaurant of Gusteau, Remy's cooking idol. Colette is a fierce chef, in NURTURER/CRUSADER mode as she tutors Alfredo Linguini. However, the means in which she is shoved into a romantic relationship with Remy's human puppet Alfredo Linguini was so awkward, I can't help but think it was a last minute addition to the plot.

2007 Enchanted: Giselle starts out as a traditional WAIF, but the whole point of the movie was to turn classic Disney on it's head. She exerts more independence and CRUSADER characteristics as the movie goes on. Then we have Nancy, Robert's then fiancee, who from her brief screen time I would place as a BOSS, and the ending definitely suggests she will be a powerful force in the kingdom of Andalasia. Narissa is a typical evil queen, a BOSS who doesn't want to relinquish power. Robert's little girl, Morgan, is a classic SPUNKY GIRL. +1 for being a different kind of princess.

2008 WALL-E: The two main robots WALL-E and EVE display characteristics of both genders, but only EVE becomes definitively female once the plant (something alive) was taken into her "womb" cavity. EVE is a CRUSADER in her violent tendencies and adherence to her directives, but becomes more of a NURTURER as she tries to help WALL-E after he was damaged by the Axiom's autopilot. The only other significant female is Mary, a human woken out of the video screen trance of the Axiom, and is definitely a NURTURER in that she also wakes up John, and then goes out of her way to save some of the infants on board the Axiom. +1 for feminine robots being warriors.

2008 Bolt: I can't see Penny as anything other than WAIF, seeing as how the driving force of the plot is Bolt's need to protect her. Mittens is something of a NURTURER, as she is constantly trying to convince Bolt that he doesn't actually have superpowers, and her fervent desire to be cared for is an important aspect of her character.

2009 Up: The only females in this movie are Ellie Fredericksen, a NURTURER even after she dies, and Kevin, the prehistoric bird that is the prized goal of the movie's villain. The fact that Kevin is a mama bird seems rather tacked on as extra incentive to protect the animal.

2009 The Princess and the Frog: Tiana is the most recent Disney princess, and doesn't disappoint. She has a dream of running her own business, and in fact, her key flaw is how single-minded she can be, ignoring the things that would enrich her life such as stronger relationships to family and friends. I would argue for her being LIBRARIAN if not SPUNKY KID, until she has to drag around Prince Naveen so he doesn't accidentally get eaten, and so her NURTURER tendencies come out. Charlotte "Lottie" La Bouff, while annoying, is still a sweet girl, and probably best fits the SPUNKY GIRL archetype. Then there's Mama Odie, definitely a BOSS and queen of her domain. +1 for that jazz track.

2010 Toy Story 3: In addition to return characters Jesse, SPUNKY GIRL cowgirl, and Mrs. Potato Head, sassy NURTURER, we also have Barbie added to the Andy's toys gang, something of a ditzy SEDUCTRESS, but she shows a cleverness that adds depth to her Blonde-girl persona. In addition, there is Bonnie, something of a SPUNKY GIRL/FREE SPIRIT, whose toys also include the female triceratops Trixie, the rag doll Dolly, and I think two of the peas in the "Peas-in-a-Pod" are girls. +1 for female toys getting things done.

2010 Tangled: Rapunzel is SPUNKY GIRL and can also be somewhat WAIF, as even though she proves to be very effective in a fight, she still needed the rogue Eugene "Flynn Rider" to guide her out in the world. I do blame her WAIF characteristics on her naivete from being raised in isolation with Mother Gothel, though, who is a very well done evil BOSS/NURTURER. +1 for frying pan weapons.

If there aren't any movies in the list, it's because I didn't see them. I ended up with 30 points by my count (which is probably wrong, I'm terrible with numbers), and may only result because I grew lax with my standards enough to reward points for villains and side characters who have more to their personality than the heroines at times. This decision was because after a while, I had to refer to Wikipedia and entries just to remember who was actually a female character in some of these films. Seeing their pattern for female involvement in a story really doesn't paint Disney or Pixar in a very positive light, considering the contrast to heroines in works by such entities as Studio Ghibli. Yet I'm hoping Brave and future projects will be more willing to show that Disney and Pixar are more embracing of modern sentiments of gender identity, and can be successful. However it's going to take a lot to overcome the past few thousand years of ingrained human behavior and Western social expectations.