Maui in Disney’s Moana: An obese and insulting stereotype?

maui1The image of Maui in Disney’s upcoming movie “Moanahas triggered some anger.  Some say the body of Maui, played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, is obese, an insulting stereotype of Polynesian men.  This picture, from Samoan Rugby player Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, is one expression of this anger.  Sapolu adds, in another picture, “Maui looking like after he fished up the Islands, he deep fried em and and ate em”.  Other people, such as New Zealander of Tonga descent Isoa Kavakimotu, disagree, saying “He doesn’t look fat to me, he looks a like a powerhouse who could do extraordinary labours.  Kavakimotu has made a video (shown below) about his viewpoint on this issue, pointing out that competitive strongmen are built more Maui than Johnson.

Other people point out that Maui is built like a sidekick.  This would make some sense as the Moana is the name of the girl in the movie.  This namesake of the film looks like a pretty normal girl in the trailer.  She is also voiced by a Pacific Islander, newcomer Auli’i Cravalho.  Moana is scheduled to be released on November 23, 2016 and features music by Hamilton’s Lin-Manual Miranda and Opetaia Foa’i.

(photo credit:  Eliota Fuimono-Sapolu)

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About Jeff

Jeff lives in Silicon Valley, and attempts to juggle marriage, fatherhood, computer systems research, running, and writing.
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