Disney’s Pocahontas: Selling Lies as the Truth

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"Instead of progress in depicting Native Americans, this film takes a step backwards – a very dangerous step because it is so carefully glossed as 'authentic' and 'respectful.' " – Jacquelyn Kilpatrick [1] Disney’s first attempt to relay the Pocahontas story was filled with blatant falsities. The producers, who claimed to eradicate politically incorrect statements found in past films with the highly anticipated 1995 Pocahontas, found themselves at the center of criticisms from many vocal activist groups. Feminists, Native Americans, and religiously based Christian groups found the movie to completely overlook the true essence and spirit of the Powhatan Indian princess. In an attempt to curb many of its criticisms and appease angry minorities, Disney produced a sequel. Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World (1998) picks up on Pocahontas’ life in Jamestown and transports her to London. Here Disney hoped to give more accuracy to the historical figure’s life and continue to teach society the lessons of tolerance and good triumphing over evil. However, this second film does little but add even more criticisms to an already long list of complaints from interest groups. History continues to be romanticized and distorted beyond recognition, and, consequently, a fallacious version of the Pocahontas story survives. Feminist Criticisms [2] Many feminists attacked the 1995 Pocahontas for its mythical portrayal of a young Native American girl. She was created by the animators as an exotic creature capable of jumping off extremely high waterfalls. She also uses the “colors of the wind” to allow her the ability to fly, to immediately comprehend a foreign language, and to solve practically impossible problems. Pocah... ... middle of paper ... ...: 36. Henke, Jill, Diane Umble, and Nancy Smith. “Construction of the Female Self: Feminist Readings of the Disney Heroine." Women’s Studies in Communication 19 (Summer 1996): 229-49. Hume, Ivor Noel. “Pocahontas: Savior or Savage?” http://theweboftime.Com/Poca.POCAHO~1.html. Summer 1998. Morenus, David. “The Real Pocahontas." http://www.geocities.com/Broadway/1001/poca_main.html. Morton, Charlene. “Pocahontas Film Review.” net@uicvm.uic.edu Mossiker, Frances. Pocahontas: the Life and the Legend. New York: Da Capo Press, 1996. “Movie Reviews." The Journal of American History. (1995): 1302-5. “Pocahontas Myth." http://www.powhatan.org.pocc.html. Rosenzweig, Illene. “And Disney Created Woman." Allure (June 1995): 81-83. Thomas, Rick. History of Christianity in North America. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1986: 1-16.

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