I don’t understand what’s Jewish about mother gothel… she has a typical Disney face doesn’t she? Is it the curly hair..? I mean her nose and everything else seem normal?
I’m sorry, I’m just trying to figure it out, you don’t have to answer if you don’t want to.
dark curly hair - long hooked nose - darker complexion than the blond blue eyed heroine 9and really the rest of the cast - portrayed as greedy and evil.
Lisa Edelstein is Jewish. As are Idina Menzel and Amy Winehouse, both of whom I have seen compared in looks to Gothel. Gothel’s design is a pretty clear caricature of ethnically Jewish women.
This is a pretty good contrast between Rapunzel and Gothel. Rapunzel has the “typical Disney face”:
Here’s a more close up look at her features.
The hooked nose becomes even more pronounced as she becomes “eviler.”
If you wanted to claim that there was noting out of the ordinary for Disney animation when it came to Gothel’s features, you would have to find at least one Disney princess or heroine with similar characteristics (long hooked nose and dark curly hair, etc).
But here is what we have is -
small noses that turn up at the end:
wide, flatter noses (though cheers to Disney for not putting button noses on their characters of color, although Esmerelda’s clothing design deserves another essay on Rromani stereotypes and there are some major issues with Pocahontas as well)
And then a few misc noses (again, props for Jasmine’s nose not being a button):
Apart from just the design of Gothel, there’s also the whole: “obviously ‘other’ (read Jewish) woman kidnaps the pretty blonde (read: gentile) kid to use her for ritualistic/magical purposes”
Like that right there on top ofthe aesthetic Jewish-coding is what pushed the antisemitic caricature over the top for me. It harkens back to antisemitic blood libel that claimed that Jews stole gentile children for all manner of nefarious reasons. Even when Gothel is in “mother” role to Rapunzel, she’s is shown as nagging and passive aggressive, both antisemitic stereotypes of Jewish women.
There is no one thing that makes her an antisemitic caricature, but the design, plus the storyline she plays out, plus her characterization cement the overall character as antisemitic.
Jew-coding a villain is not in itself always antisemitic when there are also Jewish coded heroes. Rapunzel does not have that.
Having a villain steal a baby for magical/ritualistic reasons is not always antisemitic as long as the villain is not Jew-coded. Rapunzel fails this as well.
Having a nagging and passive aggressive mother character is not antisemitic provided that she is not, again, coded as Jewish. Rapunzel fails once again.
Hope this helps.
EDIT: @ariminak pointed out that some of my wording made it sound like Gothel’s features only stereotypically caricatured Ashkenazi women when in fact that is not the case. I changed the language to remove that phrasing and make it clear that any ethnically Jewish women can be affected by this type of aesthetic trope. If you reblogged the old version, could you please delete it and reblog this one instead.
Spread this version so people recognize that this stuff harms all Jewish women.
omfg can y’all chill the fuck out, any race can be portrayed as hero or villain, it’s a fucking kids movie not a political statement
So I’m guessing you’re white and a gentile. As such, you’ve more than likely grown up looking at tv and movies and fairytales and seeing your face in those of the heroes.
Jewish people don’t get that. When we are portrayed in live action, our characters are more often than not whitewashed and in other media, our features are used and caricaturized to create “evil looking” villains.
You don’t see it because you’ve been ingrained with the idea that “ethnic” features are just “how you make a character look evil.” You don’t look at Gothel and see your mother. You don’t see yourself and your people. You don’t see decades of propaganda aimed at fostering hate against you and ultimately seeking to destroy you.
So really, you need to chill the fuck out and stop telling marginalized people to stop talking about the tools of our own marginalization.
Let’s play a game I like to call: Movie Villain or Antisemitic Propaganda:
Many “evil witch” tropes were built on European antisemitic stereotypes, not just in appearance but in the storylines they play out as well. Greediness, stealing children, killing children, hunger for power, etc. Every time a movie villain design uses stereotyped Jewish features to communicate “evilness” to an audience, they perpetuate the marginalization of the people they are using.
One big issue I have is that Gothel’s didn’t start out as the antisemitic caricature that made it to screen. Much of the early concept art has a more dark romanticism feel.
They changed the original design. Presumably to make Gothel more “other” from the good characters in the movie. At some point, a decision was made that dark curly hair and a hooked nose wound better convey their villain.
It really doesn’t matter if any of this was intentional, I’d actually bet that it wasn’t. However, antisemitic tropes are so engrained in our societies that people like you, even when confronted with a step by step break down of what it is, feel comfortable thinking that there’s nothing wrong with it and mocking those calling it out as if we are overreacting.
You seem to have completely ignored the majority of my post. It is the character design, plus the characterization, plus the story line that mirrors blood libel that makes Gothel an antisemitic character. It’s not just about someone of a certain race or ethnicity being a villain. It’s about how stereotypes of a certain ethnic group are understood as “villainous” due to villains being repeatedly coded as Jewish over decades of film and tv.
And contrary to your naive belief, all media is political to some extent. Every time a historically present minority is not included in film (ex: lily-white Harlem in Fantastical Beasts) or when a minority character is whitewashed, or when the “ethnic” features of a minority are used almost universally to portray bad guys, it is a political and social issue. When you never see yourselves as the people who play the hero or even see your people existing in a portrayal of a place where they should be, it is not benign.
Reblogging again for these additions.
I’m not Jewish, but I can imagine seeing yourself villanized again and again must wear on you so hard (like queer coded villains do on me). The stereotypes are so insidious, I didn’t even realize she was Jewish coded until I saw this post for the first time, and since then I’ve been able to pick up on more anti-semitic media.
This is a writing blog so fellow writers! Please take a good look at your villains— even if they’re not Jewish, it can be antisemitic. Thanks. - A Jew™️
I have a feeling this is all baseless, and groundless. If you’re assuming a character has to be a negative Jewish stereotype because you stereotype those features as bein Jewish. The one with the issue might be you
Mother Gothel has a similar facial structure as Cruella De Vil. Pointy cheekbones and chin, etc.
She isn’t any shade specifically darker than any of the other characters. They deliberately chose pictures where Mother Gothel is either in the darkened tower, or it is night time.
Also, they only compared Mother Gothel to other Disney protags rather than other Disney villains or even Disney characters who are older. Disney typically uses very angular features to convey villains.
Cruella has an upwards turned nose like most disney protags. It’s just sharper to go along with her other angular features.
Hell you can even compare her to Maleficent
Who you can see has no hooked or curved nose. In fact, her nose is more flat, similar to Jasmine.
Also, many characters change from their concept art. Dr. Facilier went from this
The change from her hair being straight to curly has nothing to do with making her more “Jewish coded”. It’s the visual difference between her and Rapunzel, also, if anyone has forgotten… Rapunzel’s natural hair color is brown, not blonde.
If they wanted to make a character Jewish coded, then why just stop at curly hair and hooked nose? Many people, of various religions, races, and cultures have hooked noses and curly dark hair. Why not just go the full yard if you wanted to make a Jewish coded character that is anti-Semitic? Why not give her Jewish clothing and make her look ugly, gross, and dirty?
They deliberately manipulated information and pointed out something and said, “See, Jewish stereotype.” even though you can see from mother Gothel’s profile picture, her nose isn’t even hooked. They’re picking out things that could be Jewish features or stereotypes and then saying that they are.
“She’s greedy and evil” and so are pretty much all other Disney Villains. Ya know… gotta be evil to be a villain. Dr. Faciler, Gaston, The Evil Queen, Maleficent, Jafar, Scar… need I list more villains? Being evil and greedy =/= being jewish coded because evil and greedy are common traits of villains, even within
“She has dark curly hair” so does Esmeralda and Moana.
“Hooked nose.” her nose isn’t even hooked. It’s flat, similar to Maleficent’s. Anytime someone’s head is bent or leaning forward, naturally, their nose will appear more hooked. that’s just anatomy. That happens to everyone. Hell, you can even see in the images her nose isn’t hooked.
If you can’t tell the difference between a Jewish caricature and Mother Gothel, then I think that’s a you problem. Stereotypes are not exclusive to one group. In fact, implying that is even more racist and anti-semitic than the character.
Hell, in fact, prior to the 20th century, red curly hair was associated with Jewish people. So by that logic, Merida must be Jewish coded… but because she is good and looks like a Disney protag, she can’t be Jewish coded because she doesn’t have enough “Jewish stereotypes”.
The stereotype of Jewish people being greedy originates from when Jewish people were legally restricted to being usurers… Which is where the stereotype comes from. However, even in Jewish religion and mythology, greed, as in any other religion, is often portrayed as a negative or bad trait.
The irony is that they can only see Jewish stereotypes in villainous characters but can’t see any in the protagonists or heroes.
Esmeralda (from Frollo’s perspective) is associated with sin and temptation… which is another Jewish stereotype (Beautiful Jewess / Belle Juive) and she has dark, curly hair (another Jewish stereotype).
Merida has curly red hair, which was a Jewish stereotype before the 10th century. If we’re going this loosely based on stereotypes, you can even argue that Queen Eleanor is “Jewish-coded” because she is nagging, protective, and motherly. Ya know, the Jewish mother/wife stereotype.
So you have two arguably Jewish-coded heroines and protags yet no one can see the Jewish stereotypes in them because they are the good guys. Or because they don’t have certain Jewish stereotypes.
The thing is, stereotypes, are not all inherently bad, or rather, not all stereotypes are negative. Not all stereotypes originate from oppressors or people that are anti-semitic, racist, etc. Some stereotypes are often used as stock characters by people of a race or culture. Not every stereotype is exclusive to Jewish people either or even originates with anti-semitism.
If you can only see yourself in villains then maybe it’s you rather than the creators or characters. You literally picked the bare minimum and made a mountain out of an ant hill.
Maybe it’s me, but isn’t that shape of nose called the ROMAN nose? The propaganda ones seem a lot fatter and bulbous to me.
They changed the original design. Presumably to make Gothel more “other” from the good characters in the movie.
Why, yes, the child kidnapper and abuser villain whose entire character motivation is based on being different is designed not to look like regular people, especially her “daughter”. Even her clothes are deliberately anachronistic.