I’ve been revisiting whether – five years after it was written – Matilda holds up as a text to be proud of. Especially in terms of what it says about women and girls.
Most of the kids in my daughter’s school year (she’s seven) are understandably obsessed with Frozen! I vaguely know Bobby and Kristen who wrote the songs and they are awesome and I really enjoyed the movie. However, despite its best efforts it doesn’t quite manage to undo the princess stereotype which Disney has made so pervasive for 50 years plus. Not all texts have to right the wrongs of the past, of course. And Disney has a right to provide Disney-style stuff.
But it’s an odd message, isn’t it? It feels like a sort of male ideal feminism: where women are sassy and gutsy and not easily won over. And yet, and yet … when Let It Go happens the dress gets shorter and the boobs get bigger. And the bum comes out. And suddenly we’re back in sexualised Tinkerbell-land.
Oddly, Dahl who supposed to be a little old school created in Matilda an amazing role model for girls. And we, I think, translated that faithfully onto stage. So I’m proud. Still.