Like most kids my parents let me watch disney movies when I was growing up.
And like most kids I had every single movie on video tape, and I would watch them… on repeat.
I was especially attracted to the princess movies, I mean… what little girl doesn’t watch Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty and idealize abut the day when her knight in shining armor is going to ride up and whisk her off into the sunset. It’s a nice fantasy and it made me feel pretty warm and fuzzy inside; it still does from time to time and lately Disney has been airing some of my favorite movies from the good old days. I had some time to sit down and ponder how these movies affected me and other girls growing up, and now that I think about it I can imagine that some of the messages kids might unintentionally take away from these movies can severely mess with their idea of what it means to live “happily ever after.”
Take for example…
The fact that the names of the princes from Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, etc are not really important (or even mentioned??) Props to you if you can remember any of their names. It seems that it doesn’t really matter what their names are… just that they are tall, handsome, light on their feet, and have the white horse thing going for them. Even in movies where the protagonist is a guy like Quasimodo, besides being caring, compassionate, and an all around great guy, he ends up getting friend zoned because Esmerelda would rather be with… what’s his name again??
So what does this mean for little girls all over the world who fantasize about their princes. Does personality matter or do they just need to have a dazzling smile and a deep wallet?
Having to compromise yourself to win the princes affections. I know from personal experience that girls do this all the time. A girl can be completely normal, but when there is a guy(s) around she goes into psycho flirt mode and cannot let any part of her actual self seep through this vicious facade. Ariel did it. I mean she swapped her fins for legs and gave up one of the most incredible things about her, her freaking voice. But hey, it’s not like she had anything important to say right?
Shout out to Taylor Swift on this next one. Go for the jerks because deep down they really are good guys, they just treat you like dirt because they have an inferiority complex. Belle put up with aggressive and verbal abuse from beast, but it payed off in the end when he turned into the hot prince. T Swift is probably the epitome of this example because 16 times out of 16 she goes for the assholes. She’s even started owning up to this in her songs… I mean come on “I knew you were trouble when you walked in…” ? Really, but you went for it any way… what kind of message is this giving to young impressionable girls?
Beauty, not hard work, will get you things. This one was pretty much the moral story of Cinderella. Yes she worked her ass off, but at the end of the day the Prince chose her because she was beautiful and she had impossibly small feet…
And my favorite one of all and probably the biggest lesson that girls come away with: you need a guy to complete you. You need a prince charming to make your life worth living. Mulan wasn’t good enough for Shang until she saved an entire country. Every story ends with the princess living happily ever after, even if it means compromising everything about herself. In the end it’s worth it because it has been drilled into our heads that this is the end all be all of happiness. It’s the fairytale ending that little girls everywhere dream of having. It’s the reason why the wedding industry makes billions of dollars on couture lace gowns and white doves, and also why 50% of marriages end in divorce. There is no happily ever after, there is only right now and if you love some one, forget all of the bullshit expectations and accept them for who they really are. I’m going to wrap this up with one of my favorite quotes:
“We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly”
And also a collection of my favorite disney hipster princess memes… I enjoyed picking these out way too much
And we can’t forget Taylor…