Over the years, Disney has excelled in producing entertaining films to a wide range of demographics from children, teenagers, young adults, adults, and even old people, which aim at showing how normal is overrated. Examples of films containing such themes are Shrek, involving Princess Fiona who turns ogre at night, beauty and the beast, snow white, and Cinderella. All these films contain characters who try to be normal but instead accept who they are, an acceptance that allows them to enjoy their lives. The same occurs in the film The Incredibles, where the Incredibles family is forced to suppress their powers and live as normal civilians. The film features superheroes who dedicate their lives saving humanity. However, their glory is taken from them when people start filing suits against Mr. incredible and the other superheroes. The superheroes are forced to relocate and start leading ‘normal lives’ without saving civilians. The following essay aims at analyzing Violet Parr, the daughter of Mr. incredible, named Bob, and Elastigirl, named Helen, and how Violet influences Disney’s demographics regarding culture and gender.
The theme ‘Normal is Overrated’ is excellently shown in the film The Incredibles. As previously mentioned, the gifted family is forced to suppress their powers to avoid bringing attention to them. All the family members struggle with this burden apart from Elastigirl and the baby, Jack-Jack. Dash, the second-born son, is very fast and he gets away with naughty tricks against teachers since they cannot prove that he is behind those acts. Violet, on the other hand, tries to be a normal girl but she has esteem issues that prevent her from socializing with a cute boy she likes at school. Her esteem issues stem from not accepting her true nature, and she instead hides behind her hair and her powers, Invisible girl. Bob, Mr. Incredible is miserable at his job since the corporate job prevents him from helping people get their insurance claims thereby going against his heroic nature. He also cannot use his powers to help helpless citizens, for instance, a robbery that he fails to stop since he is being summoned to his supervisor’s office. The family tries but fails terribly to act normal. For instance, Bob throws his boss throw numerous walls when angry, Violet uses her invisibility to prevent Tony from seeing her looking at him, and Dash’s pleas to his mother on numerous occasions to join sports fall on deaf ears. Helen also forgets how strong and powerful elastigirl was, once she accepts the role of homemaker. She, however, uses her powers when cleaning and doing other chores thereby showing that it is difficult to go against one’s nature and be normal. Thus, the theme normal is overrated.
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Violet Parr uses her gender and culture to influence Disney’s demographics in some ways. Firstly, the character Violet shows how people desire to be normal to have the ability to lead the lives they view as normal. Violet struggles with who she is, a trait that makes her appear weird. Her personality shows a teenager struggling with identity issues. Her internal conflicts forced her to accept her mother’s position about acting normal and not using her powers. These conflicts are so in-depth such that they prevent her from saving her mother and brother at a time they need her most. Her mother tells her to use a force field to protect them from the danger that is fast approaching, but Violet reminds her mother what she had told them about using their power. Disney excellently captures this as it tries to identify with the viewers who find themselves in Violet’s circumstances. Secondly, Violet’s demeanor relates to many teenage girls who are shy and cannot go after what they want since they think that they do not have what it takes to be normal. Violent is an attractive girl, and one of the most popular boys in school is attracted to her. She, however, brushes him off because of her insecurities. At this point, Disney tries to show its audience that normal is overrated since Violet’s crush is attracted to her despite her weirdness. Here, Disney attempts at going against the norm that people have to be a certain way or look a specific way to be happy. Tony Rydinger’s role in this scene is to support the theme ‘Normal is Overrated’ by showing that people need to be themselves to get what they want.
Thirdly, the theme ‘Normal is Overrated’ is further seen in the film when the women in The Incredibles save Mr. Incredible. In most films, the superhero, preferably a man, swoops in and saves the day. However, this is not the case in the film The Incredibles. Mr. Incredibles gets himself into danger when he faces incrediboy, a character from his past that wanted to be Mr. Incredible’s sidekick. Incrediboy, whose name is now Syndrome, has since become a villain and is on the verge of destroying the city by introducing a robot, which he fails to stop. The women in the film free Mr. Incredible from Syndrome. Violet uses the force field to free them from where Syndrome had taken them hostage, Mirage helps them escape, and Helen assists in transforming the bus to a rocket. In their article, Gillam and Wooden (2) explain how Disney transformed its films since 1990 from having female leads to male protagonists with post feministic gender models. This is seen in the film with Mr. Incredible’s transformation from an egoistic man who does not need the assistance of elastigirl to capture a criminal, to the transformed Mr. Incredible who allows help from the women in the film. The authors further explain how Mr. Incredible needed women to escape from Syndrome (Gillam and Wooden 6). Here, Disney focuses on today’s culture and attempts to show people that the times have changed from women needing men, to women saving men and both genders working together to solve the problems that face the world.
Additionally, the theme goes against previous stereotypes and norms. In the past, women were viewed weak creatures who need to be saved by men. This is evident from the Disney films Cinderella, Snow White, and Shrek, where the women waited to be saved by charming princes (Heatwole 1). The film ‘The Incredibles’ goes against this stereotype by featuring women as superheroes. The theme ‘Normal is Overrated’ is evident here since the film shows new ways of doing things. In the film, the children, Violet and Dash, rush to rescue their parents from danger. Moreover, the family works together, with the help of frozone, to bring stability to the city. In a normal situation, the man, Mr. Incredible, would face danger while trying to protect his family and the people. Elastigirl, Violet, and Dash refuse this, and they all work together to bring stability to the city. At the end of the film, the entire family, even jack-jack, wear their superhero costumes and rush to save the city from danger. Disney thus succeeded in bringing out the theme ‘Normal is Overrated’.
Lastly, Violent embraces her true nature, which improves her self-esteem and allows her to protect her family. She helps their escape in Syndrome’s prison, assists as they all work together to protect the city from the robot, and uses the force field to prevent the debris from falling on her family when Syndrome captures baby Jack-Jack. More so, her new confidence allows her to show her face instead of hiding behind her hair. She also asks Tony out for a movie. The character, Violet, shows how people should focus on being themselves. Embracing oneself provides confidence, a new outlook on life, and makes people go for what they want. Disney used Violet’s character to show individuals struggling with their differences that it is okay to be different and to embrace those difference.
However, one can debate that Helen’s encouragement on normalcy was to enable her family to fit in the society. She embraced the fact that superheroes were no longer needed and that she and Bob should instead focus on raising their family as normal people do. Although she had good intentions for her family, it was naïve for Helen to think that the Incredibles were normal people. Additionally, Helen often went against her stand when Helen used her powers to perform the house chores. Her character shows that Helen was living in denial thus the low self-esteem displayed by Violet and the secrecy by Bob. Things would have been different had she supported her family’s abilities.
In conclusion, Disney succeeds in teaching its viewers that normal is overrated. The Film ‘The Incredibles’ proves that individuals struggle with their differences due to the beliefs that exist in the society. However, people can make the best of their situations if they embrace their differences. Stereotypes are also broken when people believe in themselves and do what is expected of them. Therefore, men and women should follow their passions despite how crazy they are. Normal is indeed overrated, and it prevents people from assuming their true nature.
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- Gillam, Ken, and Shannon R. Wooden. “Post Princess Models Of Gender: The New Man In Disney/Pixar.” Journal of Popular Film and Television (2008): 1-6. Web. 21 Jan. 2018.
- Heatwole, Alexandra. “Disney Girlhood: Princess Generations And Once Upon A Time.” Studies in the Humanities 2016: 1. Print.