Sheroes of the Sea: A Comparative Reading of the Girl-Centred Films Moana and Whale Rider

Gender Questions

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Title Sheroes of the Sea: A Comparative Reading of the Girl-Centred Films Moana and Whale Rider
Creator Du Plooy, Belinda
Subject Moana; Whale Rider; patriarchy, Polynesia; ecology; leadership
Description This article considers two contemporary films in which youthful female leadership has been depicted as sea narratives. These are New Zealand director Niki Caro’s 2003 film Whale Rider, based on the 1987 short novel of the same name by Maori author Witi Ihimaera, and Disney’s 2016 animated film, Moana. There are clear similarities in the narratives and, in fact, the directors of Moana cited Caro’s Whale Rider as inspiration for their film. Both texts present the stories of young girls from Pacific Island communities and their individual and communal crises of existence and rites of passage. The classic hero’s journey merges with the iconic trope of the sea journey (both traditionally male genres) and both are presented as the personal existential quests of young girls and their subsequent transformation of the communities they eventually will lead. Both films participate in the contemporary critical pedagogical revisioning task, by providing female equivalents or parallels to previously male-dominated mythologies and narratives of heroic journeying and quest, thereby contributing to a contemporary tradition of female sheroics.
Publisher Unisa Press
Date 2019-12-31
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Peer-reviewed Article
Format application/pdf
Source Gender Questions; Vol. 7 No. 1 (2019); 24 pages
Language eng
Rights Copyright (c) 2019 Unisa Press

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