Why Moana Is Important

Why Moana Is Important

Disney's new animated film forwards progressive ideas.
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"Moana" is Disney’s upcoming animated film set to be released this Thanksgiving. As the date of the premiere approaches, we’ve been given more and more information on the story, and a lot of that info has important repercussions. Here are just a few examples of why this movie is more important that your average Pixar film.

1. People of Color Played by People of Color

The film focuses on the South Pacific, an area largely neglected by the film and animation industry, and features Polynesia characters. The main character, Moana, is played by Auli'i Cravalho who is a native Hawaiian of Chinese, Portuguese, and Irish descent. The actor starring opposite of her, Dwayne Johnson, plays the demigod Maui. Johnson is of Samoan descent. It’s common in animated films to use white actors to play people of color because voice, not color is the main necessity. However, "Moana" refuses to continue that trend.

The diversity is also not limited just to the main characters, as the majority of the cast also consists of people of color, with only Moana’s pet rooster played by a white actor. They also have people of color writing the music and lyrics, with Lin-Manuel Miranda from "Hamilton" as the most well-known of the writers.

2. Strong Female Lead

While a lot of the marketing for the film has focused on Maui (probably because he’s played by the most well-known of the cast, Dwayne Johnson) what the previews have shown of "Moana" is that she’s a very strong female lead. When she meets Maui, she gets furious at him, refusing to back down even if he’s a demigod. She also orders him around on her boat as one of the trailers shows. Yet she’s not all rough edges. When she first sees Maui, she instinctively hides, protecting her pet rooster, and shows fear when she gets caught in a storm. Rather than fit into a stereotype of “nice and polite” or “rude and standoffish,” Moana offers bits of both, making her a well-rounded character, and thus a strong female.

3. Body Diversity

While I’ll admit, the female characters in this film appear to still be lacking in this area, the male characters’ proportions have shifted. Normally in animated films, the princely or heroic characters get portrayed as muscular, while the villains or comic relief get pictured as obese. There was some controversy when the first image of Maui got released, as he’s proportioned rather largely, and many worried that he would be taken as “fat” or “obese.” However, as the trailers have now shown, his size appears distinctly muscular and healthy. Moana’s father also takes on a similar, large stature. At no point so far has the male characters’ size been marketed as a joke or played off as comic relief. Rather, it gets accepted as a normal body type, as it is for so many in the world. The film could stand to improve by including women into that acceptance, but it’s a step in the right direction.

4. No Romance

It’s been confirmed that Moana won’t have a love-interest in the film. This comes as a refreshing break from most of Disney’s films with female main characters. Almost every Disney princess is known for her romantic relationships, and even the films that avoid a romance with a princess often find ways to incorporate the idea of romance. In "Frozen," while Elsa remains single, her sister pursues love for almost the entire film, and in "Brave," Merida doesn’t end up with a suitor, but her entire story comes as the result of refusing romance. Yet, none of the trailers give an indication that romance will feature prominently in Moana. While it’s completely fine for stories to be about romance, it’s also important that romance is the only theme out there. Children, especially little girls, need to see that they don’t have to be in relationship to do great things or be happy.

While we won’t know truly how great a job "Moana" does with social issues until it comes out, it’s definitely worth the support from its progressive stance alone. Also, come on, we already know it’s going to feature some amazing music.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.heyuguys.com/images/2016/06/Moana-poster-slice.jpg

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To the guy that shot my brother...

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To the guy that shot my brother,

On January 9, 2019 my families entire life changed with one phone call. The phone call that my little brother had been shot in the face, no other details. We didn't need any other details. The woman on the phone who called us in full panic told us where he was so we went, as soon as possible. I don't think it helped that not even 10 min prior I talked to Zach on the phone.. kind of irritated with him, and the ONE TIME I didn't say 'I love you' as we hung up. Could've been the last time we ever spoke.. I remember pulling up to the hospital thinking 'this can't be real' 'it's not our Zach' 'this is just a dream Sarah, WAKE UP' I'd close my eyes really tight just to open them, I was still in the hospital emergency parking lot. I could still hear the ambulance sirens coming. It was all real.

The day our life's changed was definitely a test of faith. A test of how strong we were, as a family. I sat in that waiting room ready to see the damage that has been done to my sweet baby brother. Because at that point we had no idea how lucky he got. That glimpse of seeing Zach will haunt me forever. How helpless I felt in that exact moment frequently wakes me up from these horrific dreams I've been having ever since that day. That is a moment burned into my me and families brain forever.

You always hear about these things in the movies or on the news, a house being shot up, someone shooting another innocent person, not to care if they died on your watch. But we found ourselves on the news.. We have been confined to the hospital since that day. Running on barely any sleep, taking shifts of sleep so we don't make ourselves sick taking care of Zach. Watching him suffer. Undergoing surgeries, to repair the damage you did.

Before I proceed let me tell you a little something about the man you shot.

Zachary Keith Wright. A blonde hair blue eyed boy. Who could potentially be the most annoying human on the planet (possibly coming from his sister). A man who loves his God first, loves his family second. Perfect by no means, but almost perfect to me. A 19 year old who was to graduate high school this month. After graduation he was prepping to leave for Marine boot camp in the summer.. being in the military has been Zach's dream since he could talk. Literally. Running around, playing war with underwear on our heads, and finger guns. Some would say we looked like natural born assassins.. growing up he has been a country boy. Let me tell ya country to the core. He loves this country like he loves his family. He believes in helping people, taking charge in what's right, and never leaving a brother behind. He's lived by that his whole life. Until now....

The day you shot him. The day not only did you change my brothers life, you changed his families life too. The day you almost ripped my brother out of this world... for what? A misunderstanding? Because you've let something take ahold of your life that you can't let go you're willing to kill someone innocent over? Luckily for him, his guardian angels were protecting him in your time of cowardice. There were 3 times that day he should've died, the time you shot him, the time you tried to shoot him again as he stared you directly in the face, (even tho he couldn't talk I know you could read his eyes, and he still intimidated you. That's why you tried to pull the trigger again) and the time he was running out of the house. But he lived. A man who was shot in the face, didn't lay there helpless, didn't scream in agony. That MAN walked to the neighbors to get help. Why? Because he's a MAN, and because he's on this earth for a reason.

It's gonna sound a little strange not only to you, but the audience who is reading this. I must say thank you. Even in this situation, this was the best outcome we could get. He gets to live. He will make a full recovery. He will graduate. And he will go off into the Marines. You united my family together. Closer than ever. Thank you. You tested our faith and brought us closer to our God. Thank you. Because of your moment of weakness, you showed us what prayer could do. Heal anything. Thank you. This was a bump in the road, and a helluva way to kick off our year of 2019. But here we are.. all laying in the hospital. I'm looking around as mom is sleeping in her recliner chair exhasted but still here, Zach his awake playing his xbox all hooked up to machines, fighting to heal and get better. And of course I'm writing this letter to you.

See you in trial,

From the girl whose brother you shot.

'Fight the good fight' - 1 Tim 6:12 🤟🏼💙

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23 Things That ~Barely~ Run Through A Girl's Mind During Her First Workout In, Like, Forever

Why did I do this to myself?

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It's the beginning of the semester and that means half of the students on campus have decided that we are going to go back to the gym after their workout routine fell through last semester. It's been months since we've stepped foot in the gym, but we are ready to attack it and get fit. That is until we get there and start going.

1. How did I get to the gym? Didn't I walk here? That should count as exercise

2. Why am I here?

3. Are these clothes tighter than they were last time?

4. Why is every single machine full? What am I supposed to do?

5. Is everyone looking at me?

6. I can't remember where anything is here

7. Okay, I am going to set this at the easiest level

8. Can I go home yet?

9. Is 3 minutes long enough? No, darn it.

10. How many calories have I burned? Only 10 are you kidding me!

11. Why is everyone else here going so hard? I look like a slacker

12. I am so sweaty right now

13. Maybe I should get a smoothie as a reward for working out

14. I am literally dying right now. I am about to drop dead

15. Only 5 more minutes to go. I've got this!

16. I don't got this

17. Why do people come here every day?

18. Last minute I'm going to go so hard right now

19. Just kidding that two seconds was good enough. I'm going to cool down for the last 58

20. Hallelujah, praise Jesus, I am done!

21. I am so tired

22. My body is so sore

23. I can't believe I have to walk home now. I've already done my exercising for the day

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