Yeah, there’s a reason for that.
It’s called: antisemitic caricature.
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 of the 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.
But seeing how you also seem to think that saying you’re not attracted to an entire race of people ISN’T racist, you really don’t get any say on any of this.
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 feel like you guys want to be offended. its called shape theory and character design. I haven’t met a single Jew that has a hooked nose and jews are not the only the only ethnicity with lightish brown skin and curly black hair. for example, ME I’m Mexican and have those features I have met a woman for MADRID who looks EXACTLY like the woman above. and her accent sounds a lot more Spanish than Jewish (which would make sense because Rapunzel takes place in Germany and Spain is pretty damn close by.
Also she just straight up does not have a hooked nose. Not anything like those caricatures anyway. In the shot where she’s in profile it doesn’t look hooked at all.