The Role of Women in Pocahontas

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Pocahontas: A Disney Movie

Pocahontas is a Disney movie that was directed by Eric Goldberg and Mark Gabriel and released by Walt Disney Home Entertainment in 1995. The original scriptwriters of the movie are Carl Binder, Susannah Grant, and Philip Lazebnik. The film revolves around two main characters John Smith and Pocahontas. The film aims at addressing the themes of racism and stereotype on women.

Racial Discrimination in the Movie

The movie starts with British settlers led by Governor Ratcliffe invading the New World in search of a treasure in the 1990s. The theme of racial discrimination is portrayed beginning with how the British views Native Americans. According to the British people, the Indians are uncivilized and illiterate and whatever the natives adore as beautiful and peaceful is seen as wastage of resources. It is for this reason that settlers encroached the forest land cutting trees and grabbing the Indians' lands as well, the act that is accompanied by murder of the Indian population. The Natives are enraged and in turn captures John and Powhatan the chief, orders for his execution. This racial prejudice is assumed to be the reason behind Pocahontas, an Indian Princess rejecting her father's proposal of finding a native spouse and opts for John Smith. The father turns down the idea of his daughter getting married to john because he is from a different race (Goldberg and Gabriel).

Breaking Stereotypes: Pocahontas as a Strong Female Character

Another theme that the film portrays is women stereotyping. Women have been presented as emotional, sensible and weak in the society in contrast to men who appear to be strong, courageous and powerful. But this movie tends to overturn this stereotype and influences the world in regards to stereotypes and gender role. The main character Pocahontas is displayed as a strong, brave and independent young woman who lives as per her ideas and understanding. At her young age, she manages to save john smith from execution and even addresses her people on coexistence, a quality which is reserved for men. She also goes beyond the cultural cocoon and bravely declines her father's decision regarding the spouse whom she should marry and went ahead to choose the man of her heart. Pocahontas claims that she dislikes the man of her tribe because "he's so serious" (Goldberg and Gabriel). Pocahontas also manages to bring peace between the two communities which aggravates her image and makes the British see Pocahontas as an exceptional "good Indian."

Historical Accuracy and Message of the Movie

The movie is based on the history of America during the 1990s and all that happened although it has some historical inaccuracies. It brings out the past life of people in Native America during colonization and to the end of the colonial period. Some characters used also appear in real life in those times some of whom are; John Smith, George Percy, and John Ratcliffe who were colonists. Few mentioned Native Americans in history include Pocahontas, Powhatan, and Kokoum. The story about Pocahontas rescuing a British settler is also derived from real life recorded in history books. The inaccuracy displayed though is about the difference in ages between John and Pocahontas and the romance that exists between them. The whole romance story does not come out openly and seemingly John was not as interested. The romantic relationship between the two does not fall anywhere in history and therefore it is inaccurate. The movie has developed well from the arrival of colonists to American Indian also known as the New World to the time they departed the place. The film was compelling and has continued influencing the current generation on the importance of embracing equality and co-existence in specific, and gender roles. The scenes in the movie give a clear view of the beauty of nature and a rich culture. It teaches the virtue of togetherness and harmony among people of diverse races.

Work Cited

Goldberg E and Gabriel M. Pocahontas (Film). Walt Disney Home Entertainment. 1995.

November 13, 2023




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