Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let Down Your Hair"

          Scanning through the different cartoons that have been published centered around a Rapunzel motif makes for an interesting experience.  I viewed one cartoon that chose to portray Rapunzel as a cannibalistic princess who would lure men to climb up her golden hair so that she could bind them and feast on their bodies.  The cartoon highlighted a particular man who came along and pointed out the possibility of it being easier for her to come down rather than him to come up based on the fact that he weighed presumably more than her.  The last panel of the cartoon ended with Rapunzel of course being mad that a smart man had finally come along and ruined her plans of his future imprisonment.

By: Conservatoons
           Regardless, the cartoon that I chose to discuss is one that addresses a feminist approach to the Rapunzel tale.  Hair can be considered a feminine symbol in every genre, but it is in this story where the symbol gains particular strength as Rapunzel's seemingly infinite, golden yellow hair is what identifies her.  In a similar manner, the Disney version of Tangled points the focus towards the significance of Rapunzel's magic hair by depicting the hair as a commodity.  It is a product that Mother Gothel is willing to kidnap Rapunzel as a young child for because she wants the power of Rapunzel's hair to keep her young forever.  Once she takes Rapunzel from the king and queen, she locks Rapunzel in a tower, and raises her as her own, continually telling Rapunzel that the dangerous world is no place for a young girl with magic hair.  This cartoon shows a man approaching Rapunzel's tower and asking for her to let down her hair, like in any of the versions of the tale.  With a blast of feminism, Rapunzel answers that she would "sooner shave [her] head...than let any man use [her] as a stepping stone" (Conservatoons).  In other words, the Rapunzel figure in this cartoon feels very highly of herself and would be so bold as to cut off all of her hair, or erase that part of her identity, than let a man climb up her tower.  She is not willing to let any man walk all over her, and is thus more apt to sacrifice an important part of herself than to succumb to the whims of a man.  I still think that this idea conflicts a bit because in her attempt to uphold feminism and not let a man get the better of her, she still would be willing to surrender a part of her identity for the cause.  However, I suppose it is the message that matters in that case.

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