What the Pua? Relatedness versus Reality.

Anne is going to a Summer camp at our local art museum, and this week the theme is “Sail Away with Moana.” Great. Moana is one of our favorite Disney princess movies of all time: I mean just the soundtrack alone deserves an award!

The children today were working on making their own familiar sidekick out of clay modeled off of Pua (the pig). Wait… *Back up.* The pig???

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The multiple times we have seen the movie since it came out in theaters, I have always felt like Heihei (the rooster) has gotten the short end of the stick in the advertising world. For being such a central character in the film (there are only three for the majority mind you), he appears to be a ghost on the store shelves  (and in art programs). While this website offers a great list of conspiracy theories, the scientific part of me wonders if it is based in a more primitive reason of how we relate to the animals themselves.

This past semester I took an Animal Behavior class in which we discussed the various theories and concepts behind what causes an animal to act the way it does. This included a broad spectrum that contained communication, paternal care, and feeding.

Facts: Pua is a mammal, Heihei is not. While both classes will display parental care of offspring (a rarity in the animal kingdom  overall), Pua’s form of communication and response to environment most closely aligns with ours. Even his appearance: ears, eyes set in the front of the skull, and a nose is something that we are drawn to. Is the reason Pua is a more attractive sidekick (one we would judge to be more cute/likeable) due to the fact that he is more closely related to us? Biology would say yes.

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Although Heihei is a more critical character and has about ten times the screen time, Pua is the one selling merchandise. People are attracted to what they can relate to: it can be novels, films, music, and friends, it doesn’t matter.

And while this is a good thing when it comes to survival: it should not be the only thing we base our choices on. Relatedness can easily delineate the boundaries of our comfort zone if we allow it, and before long those confines become smaller and smaller. It is OK to like Pua, but the Puas should not be the only ones who make up our life and social circles. We should also take the time to listen to the Heiheis with their different perspectives and ways of living     try to understand the people who may share a different viewpoint or culture from our own.

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Question of the Day:

Who is your most favorite underrated character? Michael throws a vote in for Pascal from Tangled (score another point for animal sidekicks) while I have always been fond of Djali the goat from Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame

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1 Comment

  1. […] this is not a series that I would have picked up on my own, it was nice to step outside my comfort zone. I enjoyed the experience of reading the books with my husband and being able to chat about our […]

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