@cobblepottery said: I don’t think it’s really that silly when really what’s being presented is a child’s understanding of fairytales– in middle school I certainly had no exposure to fairytales beyond the Disney princess movies.
cobblepottery said: After all, what the show is actually deconstructing is sexism in gender roles, which is exactly why ‘fairytales’ exist in modern consciousness only as 'prince saves princess’
The problem is though is while gender roles is the point of the show, it’s still using fairy tales to do it, and the way it uses said fairy tales is still really shallow in a way that hurts its own arguments, when if it actually Knew Things about fairy tales the show’s themes would be way stronger. Even in the context of “stories that people would commonly know” there’s still stuff like Hansel and Gretel where the ending is Gretel defeating the witch herself to show that it’s not all “princes save princesses”. And the way the show talks about the Witch(TM) archetype falls flat because what the show is actually talking about is a bizarre blend of multiple different lady villain archetypes that all have their own contradictory roles and themes that trying to hold Anthy up as the archetypal example of does not work. Trying to talk about literal fairy tale witches while ignoring that said characters are old ladies and MILFs who represent evil moms or competition between old and young for power just completely misses the actual point of the problem with that archetype.
And the point I’m trying to make with all of this is that, if the show actually did talk about actual fairy tales, it wouldn’t shoot down or refute the show’s themes in any way, it would actually give the show more content to talk about and use to explore its themes. It would massively enhance the themes of the series if, going back to the witches example, it talked about women get tossed out as they age in favor of new young ladies, and how rather than the princess and evil queen/witch fighting each other for societal power they should both beat the shit out of the mirror dude for making them compete in the first place. “It’s a child’s understanding of fairy tales” might work on an in-universe level, but it doesn’t do much when the show itself doesn’t seem to realize that fairy tales other than Cinderella exist.
Man I was thinking about Utena again and like. I think one of the core problems the show has, for all of its themes and symbolism, and for all of how the ultimate conclusion is “the system itself is wrong”, it has the same undertones of “I’m not like ~other girls~” that everyone dunks on PMMM for when it comes to how that show handles the magical girl genre, but in Utena’s case it’s like that for fairy tales. Utena’s understanding of fairy tale tropes is extremely shallow to the point where I don’t think the creators actually read any fairy tales beyond really vague memories of disney movies, not to mention that it ignores how most of the European fairy tales that have survived to the present day are stories by, for, and about women and that the tropes in these stories do have a context and thematic point to them and aren’t just “And then the prince saves the princess from the witch!”.
So it ends up kind of silly, for example, that one of its big points of genre deconstruction is that Anthy is an abuse victim trapped under Akio’s rule who has to use cunning, trickery, and cruelty to cope and survive, when if you go actually read some European fairy tales there are entire genres of fairy tales about women getting trapped in marriages to serial killers and dude villains and having to use cunning and trickery to escape. While Anthy’s character arc works in the context of the show, it is a massive step down from the very thing it’s supposed to be deconstructing, because the creators apparently don’t actually know shit about fairy tales outside of like, Cinderella. And it’d be so easy to integrate commentary on this in the show itself!!!!!! Because even in those kinds of fairy tales there’s issues like the heroine having to rely on Even More Dudes to deliver the killing blow that would support the show’s points about Patriarchy Bad. But it doesn’t, and that’s a shame.
5 notes · View notes