This weekend, I decided to dabble into my childhood by watching my favorite Disney animated movie: “Pocahontas.”
Everyone in my family always thought it was weird that it was my favorite, but I couldn’t help it. I remember when I was little, I had Pocahontas’ necklace and her arm tattoo; of course mine was essentially a plastic bracelet that went around my upper arm. I also had a Pocahontas Barbie, sleeping bag, footie pajamas and a snow globe. I was just a tad obsessed.
When the anniversary DVD came out several years ago, my sister bought it for me as a joke. However, since then, I have watched it countless time. What can I say? Disney movies never get old.
While the reasons for me liking the movie now are different from when I was younger, I still think a lot of great lessons in “Pocahontas” can be learned. Let’s face it, when I was 5 years old the main reason I liked the movie was her hair, her pet raccoon Meeko and I thought John Smith was cute.
Before I go on, I am well-aware that this movie is not historically accurate, but I’m not commenting on the accuracy, just the overall message. Also, I will not address the sequel because it was terrible and a letdown. So, moving on…
Now when I watch the movie, I get a lot more out of it. First, I always admired how Pocahontas is the only princess who doesn’t actually end up with her prince. For girls – and boys – I think it’s important to show that you don’t always need to be in a relationship. It’s OK to be yourself and follow your heart, without a boyfriend or girlfriend. Pocahontas could have chosen to go back to England with John Smith; instead she chose her family and her people.
Another great message is that no matter how many people tried to rein her in, Pocahontas was never afraid to be herself and follow her dreams. So much of society and deciding careers is based on money and status, than happiness. But why not do something that makes you happy first, no matter what people tell you?
The main conflict in the movie is between the English and the Powhatans, basically because each refuses to understand the other. While this type of struggle has been eminent throughout the world, in all cultures and continents, I think something can be learned from this.
Everyone, through every walk of life, is different. We have different ways of living, different cultures, different religions; the list goes on and on.
But instead of judging and focusing on the dissimilarities, we could embrace the differences. Just like when John Smith explained to the settlers that the Powhatans could help them because they knew the land.
That’s something we all can take away from the movie. When you see that someone is different, instead of finding all the ways they aren’t like you, focus on the similarities. You might be surprised at what you discover.