Lilo and Stitch is a movie that came out in 2002, directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois. For those of you who haven’t seen this movie it’s a story about a Hawaiian girl who adopts a very unusual pet; genetic experiment # 626. Experiment #626, who will later be named Stitch, was created illegally created by Jumba Jookiba, a ruthless scientist. Jookiba made stitch to be almost indescribable, he is strong, aggressive, intelligent, and only has one weakness; he can’t swim. Stitch is supposed to be transported to a prison on an asteroid but escapes in a stolen police cruiser. Stitch heads towards Earth, where he becomes stranded and put in an SPCA. Lilo adopts stitch thinking he is an odd looking dog and eventually gives his name; Stitch, and that, ladies and gentlemen is how it all starts.
Chapter six of Barry’s book Beginning Theory, we are familiarized with feminist criticism. One of the main points that is made right away is about the “significance of the images of women promulgated by literature.” (Barry 116) This chapter argues that men have had control over what the acceptable women should look like, act like, and talk like, because they have dominated the world of literature for a long period of time. Barry says that men constructed the typical woman, without have any sense of reality when doing so. “For the feminist critics literacy text is never primary a representation of reality or a reproduction of a personal voice expressing the minutiae of personal experience.” (Barry 117) He then goes on to discuss the idea of “male language”, which I found to be particularly interesting, because up until this point I have never heard of language being for men. Men’s sentences are “carefully balanced and patterned rhetorical sequence. But “women’s sentences” are looser in their sequence. Virginia Wolf is quoted in this chapter saying that language use is gendered and that “there is not common sentence ready for her use” (Barry 121) To wrap up the chapter Barry visits the idea of “penis envy”, he says that this organ has inherent power that goes along with it as well as advantages. While we are on the subject of penises we should talk about the idea of social castration aka the lack of women’s social power.
Lilo and Stitch was one of the first movies where women were actually portrayed in a more realistic light, with real life body proportions. Disney made millions on portraying the Princesses with perfect hourglass figure, with very unrealistic body proportions. Take for example Jasmine; she has a tiny waist, perfect hourglass figure, and eyes that are unusually large. Everything about her is “appealing”, but going back to the feminist criticism, this is not a realistic representation of what the typical women looks like. This is one of the reasons I love Lilo and Stitch so much, is because Disney finally put out a movie, where women’s body types are not the perfect hourglass figure. Lilo is a little bit rounder, and her sister has thicker thighs, she looks fit but not perfect. The facial features are also different then we have seen in the past with Disney characters. Lilo and Nani have noses that are a little bit larger than all of the other Disney princesses; they are more realistic noses for Pacific Islanders. One senses from the movie where you really get to see the body types of both Lilo, Nani, is when they go surfing with Stich, and David. Nani is wearing a sporty bathing suit that shows off her sporty body type. It is so refreshing to see a woman featured in a Disney movie that isn’t stick thin, there is some diversity with body types, and I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with a stick thin body type but I liked how Disney mixed it up a little.
Another scene from the movie that really sticks out for me in the scene where Lilo and her sister are sitting on her bed, Lilo and Nani both make promises. Lilo promises not to fight if Nani promises not to yell anymore. Lilo them pick’s up her camera and exclaims that its full again, turns her head and looks at her wall. For those of you who haven’t seen the movie Lilo loves to take pictures of obese tourist. She looks at the picture on her wall and says; “aren’t they beautiful?” Until this movie we haven’t seen such appreciation for people of different sizes and shapes. In all of the Disney princess movies the princes are all the “ideal” man, whatever that is, and the princess has huge eyes and perfect hourglass figure. But in this movie we see an appreciation from Lilo for people of a different body type, which is really encouraging to see!
Based on what you guys have just read I think the cultural significance of Lilo is pretty apparent. She is different, likes to fight and get dirty, and isn’t the normal girl that is Disney portrays. Lilo is a character that I feel like lots of girls as well as boys can relate to, she’s different and doesn’t care what others think. Her body type is different than all of the other Disney characters, which allows other girls who might have a different body type have a character to look up to! Lilo is a kick ass heroine and in words of the great Doctor Seuss; “ today you are you, and that is truer than true, there is no one alive that is youer than you.”