Dark Skin and Long Black Hair Essay

1532 WordsDec 17, 20137 Pages
Schindler 1 Serena Schindler Matrikel – Nr.: 770149 Verena Adamik Introduction in Cultural Studies 16.12.2013 LP: 4 (Erasmus) Dark skin and long black hair The portrayal of indigenous characters in Walt Disney’s movie “Pocahontas“ reinforces stereotypes of Native Americans. “Stereotypes, some believe, have a basis in reality. They can be a product of oversimplification, exaggeration, or generalization” (Fleming 4). They tend to capture a portion of the truth and to mix it with no truthful elements (Washburn 60). In this essay, I will demonstrate that stereotype – thinking occurs repeatedly in the animated film. In order to prove this statement I will use the example of physical representation and the instance of interaction between Native Americans and environment shown in the movie. I will mainly focus on the character of Pocahontas herself. The way Native American women, especially the character Pocahontas is physically represented in the movie, gives an erroneous idea of Native American women all looking similar. “For some people the only ‘real’ Indian is a ‘traditional Indian’ – clad in buffalo robes, adorned with feathers, astride a horse – the classic Hollywood stereotype” (Green 3). But “In truth, not all American Indians fit the physical stereotype. Not all are dark skinned (and none actually have red skin) with Schindler 2 high cheekbones and black hair tied up in braids. Some Indian people are blondhaired and blue-eyed. Some have the features of African Americans” (Fleming 3). Already on Pocahontas’ first appearance in the movie, one can see that she was portrayed according to the stereotypes mentioned in Fleming’s statement above. Descriptively she is dark-skinned, has high cheekbones and long black hair (Pocahontas 7-8), which she also ties up in braids over the course of time (Pocahontas 48-49). Additionally, she wears an extremely short

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