Hello readers. Today on Mabu News, we're going to talk about books and movies. If I had to pick one of the hottest movies of recent times, it would probably be "The Little Mermaid." In Disney's live-action film "The Little Mermaid," the protagonist Ariel's race has changed from white to black, leading some to criticize it as "excessive PC-ism that undermines the original."
Prior to this, there was a similar problem when a new version of Roald Dahl's fairy tale was published. In the past, there were many negative voices, saying that deleting or modifying the creator's expressions also undermined the original work. Today on Mabu News, we're going to talk about this story. How do you place a work from the past that was created from a different perspective than it does now? That's the question Mabu News is asking our readers today.
Is it the modification of past works of art, censorship, or political correctness?
Female changed to Woman
Let's start with the Roald Dahl situation. The problem arose with the publication of the 2022 edition of British children's author Roald Dahl. As you may know, works that have already appeared in the past are often revised or published with new covers. Roald Dahl's works have also been revised several times, but in this 2022 edition, the publisher has removed and modified the wording of Roald Dahl's major works. I've been tinkering with body descriptions, mental health depictions, gender and racial expressions.
I've also sorted them out below, but something like this. The 1983 version of Roald Dahl's 2001 novel The Witches reads, "Even if she is working as a cashier in a supermarket or typing letters for a businessman." There was a sentence that said. However, in the 2022 revision, the words "top scientist" and "running a business" were used instead of women working for supermarket cashiers and businessmen. According to data from The Telegraph in the UK, 10 expressions in 505 of Roald Dahl's works have been revised. Of those, 78 were removed altogether.
Roald Dahl is so famous and great that he was ranked as one of the 2 greatest British writers of the post-World War II era by The Times. He also holds the title of William Shakespeare of children's literature. Perhaps you, too, have seen Roald Dahl's work at least once. "Matilda><, which was also made into a musical on Netflix last year, is by Roald Dahl, and so is Tim Burton<s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory>. In addition, I wrote children<s stories such as >Fantastic Mr. Fox and <Gremlin>.
Although he is a popular writer, he also has anti-Semitic tendencies, which has been quite problematic. In an interview in 16, he described himself as an anti-Semite. The Royal Mint of Great Britain was planning to produce a coin to commemorate the 1990th anniversary of Roald Dahl's birth, but canceled it due to these issues. It wasn't until late 100, or much later, that Roald Dahl's family formally apologized for his anti-Semitic remarks.
Apart from being controversial, there are many expressions that were used in the context of the old era, so corrections are constantly being made. There was a lot of criticism about whether the publisher could modify the work at will. Salman Rushdie, author of < Devil's >, said he knew Roald Dahl had a problem, but he still criticized it for being outrageous censorship. The Prime Minister's Office has also come forward and said there should be no censorship. On the other hand, some argued that it was a good thing that the artwork changed over time.
The works of the past contain the gaze of the past
It was Roald Dahl who was the issue, but it's not just Roald Dahl. Expressions that don't fit the current situation are left all over the artwork. Dr. Seuss, the master of American children's literature, faced a similar controversy. In 2021, six of Dr. Seuss' books were suspended for their racist depictions. In Dr. Seuss's picture books, Asians appeared in the role of servants under the direction of whites, while blacks appeared as primitive characters.
HAVE YOU EVER SEEN DISNEY'S <FANTASIA> ANIMATION? MADE IN 6, <FANTASIA> WAS A BIT OF A MESS AT THE TIME OF ITS CREATION, BUT WAS RE-EVALUATED DURING THE HIPPIE CULTURE OF THE 1940S. It was re-released in the '1960s due to a re-evaluation, and the re-release cut out the racist scenes from the original. The picture below is one of those scenes. They cut out the black character, who was portrayed as a servant of a white character, and made him invisible on screen.
In fact, if you look at Disney's old works, you can see the discriminatory gaze that was prevalent in the past. In the U.S., there are parents who don<t want their children to see Disney's early works, such as Snow White>. Let's analyze how many of those discriminatory expressions were. Mabu News is looking at a paper published in 60 that analyzed the Disney Princess series and looked at how gender differences in movie dialogue exist. There are a total of 2016 princess series that have been targeted, from <Snow White> in 1937 to <Frozen> in 2013.
First, let's look at the proportion of male and female metabolism. Out of a total of 12 princess anime, only 12 have more than 50% of the dialogue by women. All three of the classical works were over 5%, and the proportion of female dialogue in the 3~50s is quite low. Since the 80s, only <Rapunzel>, <Merida and Enchanted Forest> have exceeded 90%. Even though it's an anime with a princess as the main character, you can see quite a lot of differences when you compare the dialogue quantitatively.
Of course, it's hard to pinpoint the gender gap based on dialogue alone. Even <The Little Mermaid>, which was evaluated as an active character for the first time outside of the traditional passive princess character, comes out less than 2000% when you look at the amount of dialogue alone. By the way, animation during the Disney Renaissance was dominated by musical theatre styles, so the number of characters increased dramatically. As a result, the proportion of female characters has decreased. The good news is that since the 50s, we've seen an increase in the proportion of female characters.
Even if we analyze the content of the dialogue, we can see a meaningful change. If you look at the compliments on female characters, 50% of the compliments were about their looks in the past Disney Classics. Only 1990 percent were praised for their abilities. However, during the Disney Renaissance, it started to shift to depictions of abilities rather than outward appearances, and from the 55s onwards, there were more lines about the abilities of female characters. In the New Age, 11% of all praise was for ability, and only 2000% for appearance.
How to Remember Your Past Works: Between Revision and Retention
There are many points in the works made in the past that are worth looking at from the perspective of today. As we've seen above, it's in Roald Dahl and Dr. Seuss' children's books, and it's everywhere in Disney's animation. If you find it, of course there will be more. Of course, it will be in Korean literature and movies. The work will contain the time period at that time, and the artist's perspective on the time period will be reflected in the work. So how are we supposed to consume these works? Do we need to modify it to fit the times? Or should we keep it the original?
First of all, the first position: the modification of the work is part of political correctness
Political correctness is the idea that there should be no discrimination on the basis of gender, race, religion, etc. The first position is that if there is such an expression in a past work, it needs to be modified to suit the times. Dear readers, have you ever heard of the term bowdlerize? The word refers to censorship, which involves modifying or removing sexually suggestive or violent parts of a play or film, and is named after a man named Thomas Bowdler.
The word came about in Shakespeare's play. In fact, Shakespeare's works contain a lot of anti-Semitism, racism, sexism, sexual abuse, and violence. In the 1800s, Bowdler removed the primary scenes from Shakespeare's original play and created a "family Shakespeare" that could be told to his family. That's where the word bowdlerize came from. These edits and revisions have been made until recently. If you read Shakespeare's work as it is, you could hurt someone because of the racist content.
The second position: Modification of a work is a censorship of the art, and
the second position is that the intrinsic value of the original work should be recognized and kept as it was. Right now, there is a group that thinks differently about Shakespeare's case. It's called the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCNA), which advocates that there should be no censorship and editing process, even if it's a bad past work. Because if the discriminatory language disappears, the opportunity to think and learn about this point will be taken away, so there should be no editing.
Furthermore, studies have shown that modifying the original work for the sake of political correctness is educationally counterproductive. Classic fairy tales and old works are bound to contain discrimination and prejudice. But what we're going to focus on is not the existence of discrimination and prejudice, but the sense of criticism that sees it. In order for this consciousness to be cultivated and triggered, the original work containing prejudice must be left behind, and if the work is modified, proper education cannot be achieved.
Q. Are there any cases where works with a wrong perspective have been used to maintain the regime?
I mentioned above that Shakespeare's works contain a lot of anti-Semitic expressions and atmospheres, right? It is said that the Nazi regime used it to regularly perform <The Merchant of Venice> in order to justify the murder of the Jews. I guess they decided that there was nothing like <The Merchant of Venice> to create an atmosphere that Jews like Shylock who only revealed money deserved to be killed. The anti-Semitic atmosphere that resulted led to the Holocaust, the worst tragedy we know of for mankind.
(The rest of the story is from the soup)