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Disney’s teaser trailer for Raya and the Last Dragon recently landed and it’s everything and more! We’re talking all the girl power feels. Young Raya looks badass – showing off some serious martial arts skills – as she goes on a quest to bring about peace to her people by finding the last dragon. Not quite sure yet how finding a dragon will heal the rift amongst the divided nation but what’s a trailer without a little intrigue and mystery?
Set to be released in March 2021 (should the movie gods allow it in this post-pandemic world we live in) the animation will follow Disney’s Soul showing November 18th. Raya, though more warrior than princess, joins the burgeoning list of Disney heroines that prove there’s more to femininity than captivating looks and bagging herself a prince – and by burgeoning, I do mean ballooning in glorious magnitude. To name a few we have Mulan, Brave’s Merida, the Frozen sisters Elsa and Anna (who proved not once but twice that they could handle things on their own) and Moana. While it’s amazing to see such depth being brought to female characters in the animation spectrum, male representations seems to be falling ever so slightly by the wayside.
I know what you’re going to say, Soul is first on the list of releases and that’s told from the male gaze. Or will it be sacrilege! Shouldn’t women stick together? Before you light those pitch forks, hear me out.
Female empowerment is vital in this this day and age because let’s face it, gender bias and discrimination still exist. It’s certainly not time to get complacent about the progress that has been made towards positive representation of what it means to be female. Powerful, strong, feminine, independent, leaders and yes, still caring and capable of finding love (or not, because it’s all about choices, right?) BUUUUUUUTTTTT….while we celebrate what it means to be female, it’s also important to show young boys growing up what it means to be male.

The perception of the strong and brave man has well and truly been covered but just as there is more to being female than donning pretty dresses, there is more depth to what it means to be a man than wielding a sword and saving the day. Women are tearing up the rule books (and their bodices along with it) re-evaluating their roles in the narrative and it’s about time their male counterparts had a similar shake up. There are dreamers amongst the XY chromosomes whose voices are being stifled by the war cries of bravery. Dreamers and sensitive souls whose emotions make them anything but weak.

Dreamworks takes a good stab at things with the successful How to Train your Dragon franchise. Hiccup is most certainly the unlikely hero. Initially smaller and weaker than his peers, he uses his creativity and imagination to overcome his obstacles but he doesn’t exactly lack bravery and gumption (a trait boys are culturally told they must possess). Disney’s the Good Dinosaur does a better job at showing different layers of what it means to be male with its depiction of the cowardly dinosaur Arlo. Arlo overcomes trials and tribulations proving that even the sensitive and timid can find their own way to be brave but if the best representation we’ve got to show young boys is a dinosaur perhaps the formula needs a little tweaking.

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Janet A Leigh

Janet A Leigh

For more on the latest food ,TV and Film news follow me on Instagram @The_Hungry_TV_Junkie

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