“You may hear a voice inside and if the voice starts to whisper to follow the farthest star, Moana, that voice inside is who you are.” ~ Moana
I recently spent a few days with my cousins and their children. My four-year old cousin insisted we watch Moana, not once but twice. I had yet to see the movie so this was the first time I watched it. It has been stuck in my head ever since.
I had heard it was an amazing movie from people of all ages and I thought I believed them. But seeing really is believing. This was the first Disney movie I watched where the lead female character does not have a love interest. The movie is not centered on a princess finding her prince. In fact, Moana is not even a princess, she is the chief of her people.
The movie is based on this single premise — everyone, specifically her father, wants Moana to lead the people and Moana was to go sail beyond the reef. So, Moana goes and sails beyond the reef because she listens to the voice inside her. This is a foreign concept for women because we are taught to serve others first, to put our own desires and needs aside.
This is also a foreign concept for Disney as well. The Disney I grew up on focused on princesses and finding true love. What we consume is what we become. I grew up believing those Disney movies. I grew up believing there is such a thing as happily ever after. I grew up believing the greatest thing in the world that could happen to me was finding love. I grew up believe when I found love my life would begin. Fortunately for me, life shattered that notion.
It is refreshing to see the next generation consuming media focused on female empowerment. This is amazing for males and females. Kids are learning there is such thing as a female having a voice. A woman can use her voice and listen to it. A woman does not have to explain her choices or defend her choices, she can follow what she knows to be true and the world does not fall apart. Moana listens to the voice inside her and this allows her to save her island (spoiler alert but it is a Disney movie so it inevitably has a happy ending).
To everyone one who worries that the world is turning to shit and the next generation has no hope, it is simply not true. There is a lot of hope. The next generation is going to be better off by learning so young there is a voice inside you that knows the way.