Magic and Choices: Disney’s Tangled

@Saavik (awesome username btw :)

It's VERY unclear about where her power comes from. I think the only hint we have that it is from her, not her hair, is the tear. As I mentioned, I would've liked this to have been more text than subtext. As is, it can be interpreted many ways. So, no, you're not off on that at all. It might have been their intent, for every viewer to interpret how they liked, but I would have preferred a more clearcut answer myself. (Although as I've already said, my interpretation is that it's her, not the hair, but it's not set in stone.)

Magic and Choices: Disney’s Tangled

I forgot to mention that part. I also interpreted her magic as being in herself, as shown by her magic still working after her hair is cut, through her tears. I think they could have been a bit less subtle about it, because it seems to have bypassed a lot of people, including our gracious re-watcher and several commenters, who interpreted it as her hair having just enough magic left. I don't think that's what was meant, and I think they should have made it more explicit vs. going the subtle route.

Magic and Choices: Disney’s Tangled

... Dear gods that was even longer than I thought. -hides-

Magic and Choices: Disney’s Tangled

Warning in advance: This is a LOT longer than I intended. I have a lot of personal feelings about this movie, and I had an incredible sequestered and isolated childhood and adolescence, the internet being what saved me in the end. I ended up going into more detail than I thought, and please do heed where I say trigger warning, because it needs it.

I have to say, Tangled is an amazing movie and I loved it, but I don't think I could watch it twice. My exes and I watched it at home, and I had a massive breakdown afterward. "Mother Knows Best" contains exact. damn. lines. that my Dad used to say to me. It didn't hit me until credits were rolling, and then I lost it. It definitely speaks to how well they did and how accurately they portrayed an abusive parent, but dear gods. Triggers upon triggers.

(I typoed this as Tigger... which... is ironic because Dad's nickname is "Tigger." The reason being that Mom, whose home life was abuse cranked to 1000x and I think I may be underestimating, described his ragefits as "bouncing". Hence, Tigger. My family puts the "fun" in dysfunctional, all right. *sigh*)

I know a lot of people have issues with Flynn's actions and Rapunzel's lack of agency, but... I think by the point she was at, she'd already surrendered herself and any agency she had back to Gothel. I don't think she could have made that decision, especially when it would have killed Flynn. Could the filmmakers have come up with a better alternative? Certainly, and I would've liked to have seen it. But it didn't bother me, because I still can't see a way with the given scenario that Rapunzel would have willingly rescued herself, and Flynn essentially sacrificed his own life (since he also believed Rapunzel's healing powers were in her hair) in order to free her. I'd have loved to seen a scenario that allowed Rapunzel the (believable!) agency to rescue herself and get out, but...

OK. I need to add a trigger warning from here on out. Abuse, obviously, although not sexual.

Okay, so, I have perhaps a different view than most because I was isolated not quite to Rapunzel's extent but damn close. I was homeschooled, and the only friends I saw where when Mom was able to manage with her work schedule (night charge nurse, frequent overtime because she's a pushover... plus it got her away from Dad), which lessened extremely after I was about 10 and Dad started emotionally abusing her nightly. I went to the furthest room away from theirs and could still make out the words from him yelling and then her breaking and yelling back things that were really damaging for me to hear (who wants to hear their mother driven to being suicidal?).

Dad classified seeing friends as "Mom's job", so when she got to a point that she was so beaten down by the abuse, plus her work administration were being complete a-holes and she was wondering if she was still going to have a job (thank you nurse's union for slapping that shit down! I will forever defend unions, because the nurse's union went above and beyond), so... yeah. I saw a friend maybe... mmm... every six months after I was ten? On a good year?

I had one major advantage that Rapunzel didn't, and couldn't have because of the setting, and that was unfiltered internet access. I made friends in a writer's community, a lot of them, many I'm still friends with over a decade later, and I ended up involved with a friend there who was living with other friends from the same community, so I knew everybody, plus they were vetted by multiple other people in the community who had met them IRL. Robert, my ex, was very concerned about me coming from a home so sheltered to live with my fiancee, for a couple reasons.

One, he thought I needed the experience of independent living, and two, he (correctly) assumed I would want to do ALLLLL the normal things that even unusually emotionally mature (as commonly happens to child abuse survivors) young adults want to do. He was much older, and extremely cognizant to not take advantage. Which he didn't; none of our relationship issues were due to age. PTSD, diametrically opposed disability needs, and the fact that he is so. very. male. If you see all those stereotypical "this is how men communicate" things on Facebook? Yeah, that's him to a T. But because of his disability, he wasn't able to do ALLLLL THE THINGS and very little outside due to being terrified of being trans in public in Texas in 2003/4 (and my niece who is there now says it's not much better).

But, all of that was trumped by my Dad becoming about 10x more abusive when I said I needed to take a break from college to figure out what major I wanted to pursue and in the meantime I'd get a job and work on my writing. See, Dad wanted to be an English teacher, so me not wanting to do that meant he couldn't live vicariously through me, which meant I was "betraying" him... yeah...

So, um. Yeah, I moved a lot sooner than intended to keep me out of the psych ward, because I was actively suicidal by that point. Either that or I would have been on the evening news. But I had that option, plus other friends who were willing to have me. I'm not sure how much that counts as rescuing myself, though, because while I did have to take the action to move, I also wouldn't have had that opportunity without the support of others.

And that support came from a resource Rapunzel never had. She didn't have a wide-reaching support group who would have offered her safe places to stay. My sister never had those resources because she was 14 when I moved and Dad demonized the internet and computers to the point that even now at 27 she knows about as much as our parents in their 60s and 70s. And she's terrified to learn more. I'd say using a computer is to some degree triggering for her. 

Flynn was really the only person that Rapunzel had who *could* help her. If I look at it logically, from a feminist standpoint and angle of film review, I can see why it's problematic. But my emotional reaction is much more of a "Good for him!" because it got her out, and she wouldn't have done it on her own because of the agreement she had already made. It's also not uncommon for an abuse victim who has only recently had a taste of being "out" to slide back into old patterns; this is why there is a pattern of those who are in abusive relationships having a revolving door of leaving/back together/leaving/back together/rinse and repeat. I can attest to that one w/ a previous relationship that was exactly that.

So... yeah. Emotionally, I am just glad that Flynn got her out safely, even if the feminist film critic in me does wish they had found another scenario. I'm just not quite sure what scenario they would have come up with that would have been believable to me, having had these experiences.

I honestly didn't mean for this to go on this long. Sorry for the length. -_- But it probably also explains why I don't think I'll ever be able to re-watch it, even though it's extremely well done and I loved the characters. Just hits too close to home.

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