Netflix Changes 'Pocahontas' Description Following Accusations of Sexism
"The synopsis has been updated to better reflect Pocahontas’ active role and to remove the suggestion that John Smith was her ultimate goal."
Netflix has rewritten its description of the Pocahontas movie in response to criticism that the previous description of the Disney film was sexist.
Native Appropriations writer Adrienne Keene called out Netflix a few weeks ago for its Pocahontas description.
"An American Indian woman is supposed to marry the village’s best warrior, but she yearns for something more — and soon meets Capt. John Smith," reads the description. Keene posted other descriptions about male-led films on her website and said she wished Netflix would treat female characters like male ones.
The men get to have adventures, fight people, save things, be king of the jungle...Pocahontas yearns for a white dude.— Dr. Adrienne K. (@NativeApprops) September 1, 2015
"It overly sexualizes the film, and only positions Pocahontas in relation to her romantic options, not as a human being, you know, doing things," wrote Keene on her blog. A week after Keene's tweets and blog post, she said she received an email from Netflix announcing they had changed their description.
"We do our best to accurately portray the plot and tone of the content we’re presenting, and in this case you were right to point out that we could do better," reads the Netflix email Keene posted on Pacific Standard. "The synopsis has been updated to better reflect Pocahontas’ active role and to remove the suggestion that John Smith was her ultimate goal."
Now the description reads, "A young American Indian girl tries to follow her heart and protect her tribe when settlers arrive and threaten the land she loves."
In the article about Netflix's response, Keene said, "My point was not to criticize the film, which I can save for another time, but to draw attention to the importance of the words we use, and the ways that insidious stereotypes and harmful representations sneak in to our everyday lives."
The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to Netflix for comment.