Live from the Lilith Blog

March 9, 2010 by

Rapunzel, Rapunzel

Rapunzel, Rapunzel. Disney thinks your name is too girly girly and is calling its upcoming Rapunzel 3D cartoon vision “Tangled.” The Disney
Juggernaut fears that giving the film a girl’s name will turn off boy moviegoers.

What’s going on here? Disney cartoons based on the Brothers Grimm tales – Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty – and the non-Grimm Pocahontas, Little Mermaid, Mulan, and more and more – seem to have done just fine with the time-tested girls’ names for the title. And Tim Burton’s current twisted “Alice” will probably do better than it deserves.

But presumably the marketing mavens don’t want a downer like a girl’s name for a film title. But if we’re cynically talking money (godforbid), why not call it “Hair” (OK – that’s already taken) and make a fortune on Disney brand hair products for hair-obsessed girls?

Rapunzel is such an icon for hair beyond belief. Right up there with Lady Godiva. And we all know the power of hair. When my Freudian psychiatric social worker mom asked my boyfriend of yesteryear why men like long hair, he told her: “It looks so good on the pillow.”

And the Jewish men who wrote the Jewish laws sure knew it. Only single women are permitted to seductively let their hair fly free. Married? Keep it under wraps. I don’t know what the thinking is on Orthodox women covering their heads with Dolly Parton- or Rapunzel-length wigs. Is this the letter of the law defying its spirit?

The beloved Grimm Brothers’ heroines have long been deconstructed by feminists appalled at their passivity. “Sleeping Beauty” indeed.

At least “Twisted” promises a feisty teen heroine with its release over Thanksgiving weekend.

And, by the way, it’s worth looking at the Grimm version of “Rapunzel.” The opening lines will surprise you: “There were once a man and a woman who had long, in vain, wished for a child. At length it appeared that God was about to grant their desire.” Sounds like Abraham and Sarah. And if that weren’t Jewish subtext enough, click on the preview for “Tangled” – the music with its soulful clarinet sounds like Jewish schlock. Tangled indeed.

–Amy Stone

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  • Ogden Goelet

    Dear Amy,

    I don’t know if this will reach you, but I’d love to get in touch with you. I say your name in the NYT today. All goes well with us.

    Best,

    Ogden