Maui appears to be a strong character with a good heart and it never came across me to ever question his appearance.
Positively and essentially – with an openmind towards the ongoing, rambunctious and outpour of concerns for this character – I really don’t think it matters much to other Polynesians as a cartoon will always be an entertainment for the children.
This cartoon didn’t set in as a problem at all, as I know times do evolve and some of the people behind these stories are those who pitched stories from Pacific islanders for their creative ideas and thoughts. Another reason as we all can see – not everyone can reflect a more content or true physique of a Polynesian figure these days around the different dietary and contemporary practices we’ve all submerged into.
There are sensitive disagreements also portraying the obese figure of Maui, but I do want to share something I had recently come to actually realize myself in the military category of tape tests that differentiate such theory of obesity for the Samoan man. When a built-Samoan male is taped, his body fat is very low compared to the weight accumulated on a scale. Yet he’s still considered obese. A Samoan man, as muscular or big as he may appear, will sprint until his guts falls out and may outrun the average fit-by-the-book male. And we’ve grown to also see/witness that on rugby and NFL football games. That’s why the physique and outer look never really mattered to me when it came to Maui.
I don’t take much of a cartoon seriously, because I know and am well aware of the strength and powerful mana of the Polynesian people. For other Disney stereotypes among other cultures, the gods of Japan were not questioned as it is a taboo to even touch sensitive topics dealing with the gods of Mulan’s family. As for Pocahontas’ elders – they did include a lot of their features, but missed several of the characteristics which made some characters appear Asian than the natural Native beauty.
As for the Cinderella movie where Whoopi Goldberg was the Queen, Victor Garber was the King and the prince being Filipino, it turned necks. Moral of the story is, we may be #6 on world’s most obese countries in the world, but Maui has nothing to do with obesity.
I live on the vibe and belief that no matter how we look, it’s what is in us that matters. My elders always said: It’s the heart that matters more. If you’re beautiful and your personality reflects ugly traits, then you’re ugly. And my darling Maui, you look beautiful, kind and strong like many strong men I know who do not filter themselves to be accepted into society.
I pray that there is some sense of understanding in our communities that obesity is something we can all fix as a community, a society and as Polynesian people, but we can’t fix it by holding out swords without a solution to the problem that affects us most. We can work together to make a difference, but criticizing won’t cure it.
I look forward to embrace the beauty of the turquoise beaches, the lush mountains, the sands, Moana character, Seiuli’s voice while saying “Le Tamatoa!” Lastly, hear the beautiful voices of Tevaka and cheer both Moana and Maui on.
O oe o le Toa, Maui!!
(picture: Disney Moana Movie)