|One of the more nuanced Disney women I have seen so far, I must say.|
There are a lot of things one could say about Disney’s Pocahontas (1995) concerning gender roles and indigenous peoples, but I am not going to say them. This is in part because I feel like a lot of it has already been said, and in part because I do not feel equipped to discuss the history of European-American contact. But I am still going to refer to the website I gave you a few weeks ago ranking Disney princesses according to how feminist they are. Pocahontas ranks fairly highly, and when I first read the rationale, I was not especially unnerved:
Pocahontas has a dream of an arrow spinning and then selecting a direction. Her magical talking tree mentor Grandmother Willow informs her that she has a path set out for her. While her father believes that her path is to marry Koucom for the good of the tribe, Pocahontas feels that it lies elsewhere. When John Smith arrives, she thinks it lies with him, an interpretation supported by his possession of a compass, which was the arrow she saw in her dream. So when John Smith’s life is threatened and war between her people and his looks inevitable, she intercepts and argues for peace. At this point we may think that her path lies with John Smith, but at the end of the film she knows differently: her path is to lead her people and not to be with him, though loving and protecting him was a part of it. A lot of Pocahontas’s character development is focused on her discernment of her path.