Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Poster Day

So I just read through all my responses and found that the feedback was both helpful and insightful. I agree that I need to look more into the comparison between the Disney Pocahontas and the more recent Pocahontas movie. I will begin searching for articles on the more recent movie this weekend. A couple people mentioned that I should make sure that my sources are unbiased, but others mentioned that I had a good balance between positive vs. negative aspects of the movie. Someone suggested to look into the figures that the movie along with the conglomeration of other products reaped, and what correlation (or no correlation) may be found between the numbers and the image appeal of Pocahontas. Leo wants me to look more into Disney Anastasia and what differences (or similarities) may be found against the movie Pocahontas. I will also look into that later this weekend.

Lastly, someone suggested me to go talk to the Native American student association here at UNC. I wish I had realized this much earlier because this would have been a very good source. Unfortunately, I don't think I will be able to as time is a constraint.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Expert Interview w/ Dr. Theda Perdue

Dr. Theda Perdue is a history professor here at UNC, her speciality is in Native American history.


Dr. Perdue:

1. What do you think in general about Disney's movie "Pocahontas" and its portrayal of
Native American history? Do you think the movie skewed Native American history, and if
so in what way?

The Disney movie is an interesting mix of fact and fiction. Many of the visual
depictions are extraordinarily accurate. The houses, dress, even hairstyle of
Pocahontas's friend come out of the John White drawings of coastal Algonquin Indians done
in 1585 and now on display at the NC Museum of History. I also think the characterization
of Indians and Englishmen is pretty good. I love the song, "For all you got in ya boys,
dig up Virgina boys." It is right on target in terms of English motives. And the Indians'
early curiosity and hospitality is accurate. The plot of course, is not. There was no
love affair. Pocahontas married a warrior, then the English kidnapped her, and she fell
victim to Stockholm syndrome.

2. Is there a lot of controversy among the Native American community about this movie?
What have you heard?

I can't remember any controversy, but it is an old movie. Check INDIAN COUNTRY TODAY,
which is available online, for reviews.

3. Would you agree that the real story of Pocahontas was altered in order for the
movie to become market-success?



APA Citation:

Dr. Theda Perdue on Disney's Pocahontas (personal communication, November 12, 2007).



I primarily chose Dr. Perdue for an interview because her specialty is found in Native American history. I was able to retrieve her contact information from the UNC history department website. In general, I had a difficult time getting ahold of several experts (possibly because it is a busy time of the year). Fortunately, Dr. Perdue was able to contact me back on this subject matter. Dr. Perdue made a very interesting point that the movie did indeed have somewhat of an accurate portrayal. This is my first source which advocates its accuracy, many of my sources criticize the movie for its in accurate depiction of Native Americans. I haven't looked at the link that Dr. Perdue has directed me to, but I will definitely do so over break. It looks like it would have a lot of information/critique on the movie. Her mentioning of the film maker's failure of mentioning Pocahontas's tragic details is a recurring theme found in most of my research. A huge emphasis is put upon the fact that Pocahontas did not end up with John Smith in real life because in reality there was no romance involved. Furthermore, she was kidnapped, separated from her people for many years, and then married to John Rolfe. These details reiterate the inaccurate portrayal of Pocahontas' story and demonstrate that Disney filmmakers were not concerned with accomodating a certain movie framework to fit in sad details of Native American history.

Dec 08/2007 *edit* I just looked at the link that Professor Perdue suggested, however I realized that a lot of the reviews are very biased and strongly reiterates much of the information I already have. However, I greatly value the interview with Professor Perdue because it gave me some insightful information about some of the more positive aspects of Pocahontas. I am trying to avoid making my paper extremely biased by finding a balance between the good and bad critique of the film.

Monday, November 5, 2007

opportunity cost

so, with much of my time put into my group project, i've managed to neglect my own individual project and its research. i will update some more later on this weekend.....

Sunday, October 21, 2007

long rime, no blog.

Our search log assignment made me realize that there is a small number of hardprint resources for my topic. I have a strong feeling that the majority of my research is going to come from online journal articles.

Also- I wish I would have discovered the conveniece of RefWorks a long time ago...

Monday, September 17, 2007


Pocahontas Barbie

There is a lot of criticism found about Pocahontas's appearance among the Native American community. Many critics claim that her image is too "barbie-like" and mainstream looking. Bill Eadie's article explains that Disney made her appearance to be a "visually pleasurable image" in order to create a market plan. Aside from the movie itself, Disney was able to retain revenue from a conglomeration of several products such as dolls, books, action figures, records, puzzles, stickers, and clothing -- all of which reaped profit from Pocahontas's image and appeal. The barbie-like Pocahontas was not of mere coincidence, but a market attempt to influence Mattel to cast a mold for a Pocahontas doll. Eadie claims thats Burger King's television advertisement depicted Pocahontas to be the "prize" in a boy's adventure in a kid's meal. In result, the idealized body of Pocahontas, "whom men want to capture", has contributed to the children's and viewer's perception of Pocahontas's embodiment.

I do find this whole controversy over Pocahontas's image very interesting. The correlation between her Disney character and the theory about a symmetrical face and aesthetic-looking body makes sense for the "marketable-mold" to create extra revenue off of different commodities. It is commonplace to see the star-heroine in a Disney movie to be in tip-top beauty shape -- could it be that even Disney movies may have an impact on a young child and his or her thought of an ideal body? Pocahontas's image is very universal, infact her image barely resembles a real Native American woman but of a cross between a Caucasian-asian-ethnic-whatever-looking "superbabe".


Eadie, B. (2001, March). Critics argue Disney portrays Pocahontas as a cipher and a commodity for market gain. Spectra, 37, 9.


Histoical Portrait of Pocahontas

versus Disney Pocahontas

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Topic & Questions

I am delving into the notorious “Disney formula” and how it was applied in the movie “Pocahontas”. I wanted to write about a non-conventional topic that interested me, plus I have taken both a movie criticism class and a history of Native Americans class. It will be interesting to view this topic in retrospect of taking these two previous classes. There seems to be a “Disney-esque” framework found among most Disney’s lucrative movie productions. In “Pocahontas”, not only are these “Disney-esque” elements found, but there seems to be a controversy surrounding the movie and how Native American people were portrayed. How is "Pocahontas" an inaccurate depiction of Native Americans, or more as a Disney formula for market-success? I want to address the following specific questions: What parts of the movie’s plot do not correlate to accurate historical accounts? How is Pocahontas and the Native American people portrayed in the movie? What other “Disney-eque” counterparts are seen in the movie that embellish Native American history?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I am pretty confident about my topic. I've done a fair amount of research, and I have been able to find several literary articles on Pocahontas. However, I tried finding more articles on other Disney movies like Mulan and Aladdin in particular and felt that I could not find enough information to include in my paper.