Tangled's Depiction of Relationship Violence

I Believe 'Tangled' Depicts Unhealthy Familial Relationships In A Hidden And Irresponsible Way

We cannot forget that relationship violence includes parent-to-child relationships and manipulation.

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Spoiler warning: the Disney movie "Tangled"

Content warning: emotional abuse, manipulation, isolation

Think about specific times you've seen relationship violence in the media. Think about who's involved and what that violence looks like.

Yeah, that's not even half of it.

In my opinion, naming October as Relationship Violence Awareness Month over Domestic Violence Awareness Month is crucial. While domestic violence, usually between two heterosexual, cisgender partners is a major problem that needs to be addressed specifically — other lesser-discussed forms of relationship violence need to be discussed as well.

While I'm sorry I'm about to crush your childhood, I believe we need to talk about the popular Disney film "Tangled." Rapunzel's mom, Gothel, engages in emotional abuse against Rapunzel. After stealing Rapunzel from her parents, Gothel keeps Rapunzel locked up in a tower to use her voice to keep her young, convincing her that the world is too evil and scary of a place.

When Rapunzel mentions wanting to go see lights and doubts her mother, her mother begins to sing a song called "Mother Knows Best" which includes lyrics like "Look at you, fragile as a flower" and "One way or another/Something will go wrong I swear/Ruffians and thugs, poison ivy, quicksand/ Cannibals and snakes, the plague."

These lyrics degrade Rapunzel and show how Gothel manipulates her daughter into believing lies about the world to keep her bound to the tower they live in.

What's especially problematic about this situation and other situations of emotional abuse and manipulation are how insidiously they're done and how much confusion they cause in the individual being manipulated. For example, the world can be a bad and scary place with poison ivy and quicksand and much worse. So, in this sense, Gothel isn't necessarily wrong.

In addition, Rapunzel relies on Gothel for the truth because Gothel isolates her from every other human being, another sign of abuse. Gothel then makes Rapunzel even more confused and guilty, saying "I'm just saying 'cause I wuv you." She makes Rapunzel think that she's in good hands with Gothel, that Gothel is someone to trust and that she's a bad person for doubting her. Gothel is justifying her wrongful behaviors to Rapunzel to elicit doubt and manipulation that doesn't allow Rapunzel to think critically or have emotions.

I'm sorry to say it, because I know it's not fun to hear, but here's my unpopular opinion: Disney isn't perfect. While one could assume that older children realize what Gothel is doing, or that parents of children watching the movie would explain what Gothel is doing, I'm not convinced that children aren't growing up with unhealthy messages. In a sense, relationship violence is romanticized by being in a children's movie with music and princesses and convincing yet untrue depictions of life that negatively affect characters and even viewers in general.

It's okay to still enjoy watching movies like "Tangled" — heck, it's one of my favorites, minus the way Gothel treats Rapunzel — just keep in mind what's problematic and don't be afraid to discuss it.

On that same note, don't be afraid to critically think about your favorite movies and songs. Don't let the media's depictions or society's stereotypes mislead you on what relationship violence can look like. Relationship violence can be found in the bounds of any relationship, whether that be familial, platonic, romantic, or any other. Relationship violence also encompasses more than overt physical violence; it also includes violence that's emotional or verbal, financial, sexual, and several more, in which some are listed here.

Manipulation and isolation and obsession are symptoms of abuse. Violence isn't always overt, either, because the perpetrator knows they must create doubt in the survivor or risk getting in trouble. Violence is insidious and covert more than we realize and definitely more than we see in the media.

Most importantly, though, be aware for yourself and others that resources are available for support. Feel free to check out and share the Love Is Respect website and hotline, the National Domestic Violence Hotline and website, the RAINN website and hotline, and the Compass Center here in Chapel Hill.

You deserve safety, happiness, and well-being. You are not alone. You deserve better. You are loved, and love doesn't include any form of violence, whether covert or overt.

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6 Reasons To Love Being A Slytherin

We love our House, and you should too!
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Slytherins get a bad rap, mostly because the most well known Slytherins don’t do a good job of representing our house! When people hear the word ‘Slytherin’ most people think of Draco Malfoy, Severus Snape and Voldemort. But did you know Merlin himself was a Slytherin? Don’t believe every bad thing you hear about Slytherins! We might have a bad reputation, but I wouldn’t want to be in any other house. So here are some reasons why it’s great to be in Slytherin.

1. “Or perhaps in Slytherin you’ll make your real friends,”

As said by the Sorting Hat, you’ll make true friends in Slytherin! We Slytherins are fiercely loyal and protective of our friends.

2. “Those cunning folk use any means to achieve their ends.”

Also said by the Sorting Hat, this phrase sounds bad but really it isn’t. Ambition and cunning are two traits that any leader would desire. And ‘using any means to achieve their ends’ just means we are willing to push ourselves to the breaking point to reach our goals.

3. We have the best housemates:

We’re known for being witty, so that means when we get together with our housemates we have a battle of wits. Obviously we have the sassiest and most sarcastic conversations ever with each other. Also, did somebody say rap battles? ;)

4. You don’t mess with snakes:

Which means if you mess with one of us you mess with all of us. Slytherins take care of our own- especially our baby snakes! First years don’t have to be worried about being left behind, older students will show them the ins and outs of Hogwarts, and will protect them from any potential bullies.

5. We’re persuasive:

Again, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing!! Picture this: a Slytherin that uses their persuasion to lift people’s self-confidence by convincing them they’re wonderful.


6. We put ourselves first sometimes- and thats ok.

If someone treats us bad, we don’t let them get away with it. If something isn’t good for our mental health, we cut it from our lives. We love and respect ourselves and we don’t let anyone walk all over us. We have lots of self-pride and house pride. Slytherin forever!


Cover Image Credit: flickr

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The Original Disney Princesses Are Just As Important To Young Children As The New Ones Are

The animated princesses have paved the way for children in ways the live-action films sometimes can't.

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Disney Princesses, particularly the animated ones, have somewhat of a stereotype built around them.

When people think of Disney Princesses, they usually think of the classic princesses from the 1930s through the 1950s, the Golden Age of Disney. They think of Snow White's high-pitched voice, Cinderella's passive nature, and Aurora's tendency to waltz through the woods singing a pretty little song. These were the original princesses, and they definitely started a trend of delicate characters who aren't entirely helpless, but they also aren't too willing to advocate for themselves and fight for what they want.

The Disney Renaissance, however, brought about a whole new world (yes, that was intended) of Disney Princesses.

In 1989, Disney kicked off their animation Renaissance with the release of The Little Mermaid, a film which introduced an entirely new Disney Princess. Ariel was stubborn, got into serious trouble at times, was endlessly curious and amazed by the world around (and above) her, and was more than willing to fight for what she wanted. She still maintained her status as a princess, but that wasn't her only personality trait.

And the stereotypes kept breaking more and more with the introduction of two new princesses, Belle and Jasmine. They both followed Ariel's example of being more than just a pretty face in their own ways. Belle was the most beautiful girl in her village, but she didn't allow that to define her. She was well-read, confident, loyal, and desired nothing more than adventure. Jasmine, on the other hand, was the daughter of a Sultan and was forced to choose a prince to marry. But she wanted no part in this, and she set out to find herself and married the man she chose for herself. She was fiercely independent and didn't let anyone stand in her way.

I recently read an article about how the live-action remakes of Disney films are giving Disney princesses like Belle and Jasmine entirely new roles and how they're better role models for girls than ever before. While I do agree that young girls who go to see the remakes of Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast in theaters will definitely have good role models to look up to, we really shouldn't be dismissing the original princesses, either.

These new Disney princesses are not replacements for the old ones. Just because the old princesses don't have as much of a "strong independent woman" complex about them doesn't mean they still can't teach important lessons to young children. Yes, the original Belle and Jasmine may not have been as outspoken as they are in the new remakes, but they always had a quiet strength about them and a certainty in who they were. This is just as good of a lesson to teach young children.

One of the most important lessons a child can learn is to be themselves in all parts of life, no matter how many people may think they're strange. Both versions of Belle and Jasmine teach this lesson, but as we start to move into an era where children may grow up with the remakes instead of the originals, it's also extremely important that they learn the lessons the original Belle and Jasmine taught us in the first place. Sometimes, a person doesn't need to be incredibly outspoken in order to be who they are. Sometimes, all they need is a good head on their shoulders, a joyful heart, and quiet confidence in themselves to live the life they've always dreamt of.

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