Four and a Half Lessons from Shrek

I am an unrepentant animated movie lover, and I adore the Shrek series.  I’ve seen all four multiple times (I own the first three and am just waiting until the fourth goes on sale).  I have all the soundtracks, I love the musical.  There are some fantastic lessons that I think are taught through these movies:

1.  Beauty is fluid, and attractiveness is different for everyone.  This is just not a message that we get from very much mainstream media – a character who finds happiness and love looking opposite the cultural beauty stereotype is rare indeed.  Fiona Forever!

2.  Be yourself, and find friends who like you for exactly who you are.  Annoying donkey?  Awesome.  A little anti-social?  Not a problem.  Gawkey puppet?  Come on in, the water’s fine.  I love a good misfit story and Shrek is one of the best.

3.  It’s not a bug…it’s a feature (discover and use your unique talents).  How many times did Pinocchio’s nose save the day?  How would they have opened the drawbridge without Mondo the giant cookie?  Maybe not the smartest cookie on the sheet but ready to help.  How would they have gotten Mondo to the drawbridge in the first place if Donkey hadn’t used his oft-annoying, over-active mouth to coax him along.

4.  You don’t necessarily have to do things in order or go by the book.  If Shrek had slain the dragon before rescuing the princess like he was “supposed to”, Donkey would have missed out on true love and would be lonely without any slightly discomforting donkey/dragon hybrid babies.

5.  Empowerment is great and all, but if you want to market, you have to make Fiona thin.

So in conclusion, Shrek has taught me lots about…wait… what?  …go back one.  What’s the deal with number five?

Oh, funny you should ask.  I saw a billboard for the McDonald’s happy meal toys (the ones that weren’t accidentally laced with Cadmium) and the Fiona figure looks like this:

Actual Fiona from the movie  looks like this:

Um,  what the Hell.  Muscle tone in arms remove, neck slimmed, legs slimmed and muscles removed.  Eyes bigger, nose smaller, mouth more full, hands made delicate.  Double chin removed, pointy heart-shaped chin installed.  Wait…this sound familiar.  Holy crap – she’s been photo-shopped!  Apparently it’s no longer enough that that living, breathing  women don’t feel ok about themselves in pictures without computer enhancement.  Now,  a woman who was created from scratch – through a rigorous process of drafting, commenting and redrafting through however many thousands of revisions until she was EXACTLY what the film was looking for –  is still just not good enough to be a McDonald’s toy. I wish I had something eloquent to say, or a solution to present but instead I’ll leave you with the only thought that’s resounding in my head about this right now:

Screw that.

6 thoughts on “Four and a Half Lessons from Shrek

    1. Jenna,

      Do you mean that you feel the McDonald’s toy says that the character is still lovely without be uber thin?

  1. I actually don’t see Shrek in such good light and it has to do with the ending of the first movie. I really see that it told me that is OK not no be conventional and to conform the beauty standards but if your significant other is seen by others the way you’re seen. Why they had to change Fiona into an ogress? Why couldn’t they be together in Fiona’s human form and Shrek’s ogre form?

  2. Based on these two images (which are the only ones I’ve seen), the doll looks younger than the movie character does. Admittedly, I don’t know how ogres age (*grin*), but in human terms, the movie character looks to my eye like a fully adult female – in human years, somewhere in the mid-thirties to mid-forties range, roughly. The doll looks late teens to early twenties.

    I wonder how much of that is just that dolls like this never really look like the original actor/character (thinking back to the horrible Luke Skywalker figures that were common when I was a kid), and how much of it really is that they tried to make her look younger.

  3. When my kids got this toy, I had a helluva time figuring out who it was. FYI, the skin tone of the actual toy (not the marketing photo) is really weird, it’s a sallow yellow. Maybe Fiona got malaria? It would explain her haggard appearance, at least.

    As the sad owner of far too many McD’s toys, I agree with the above poster that the toys never look like the movie characters, regardless of the toy or movie.

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