Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Lies Disney Taught Us

Disney Princesses, the backbone of the Disney marketing scheme. They are the icons that are marketed to millions of little girls as strong, beautiful, intelligent role models. But what do their stories really teach us? I grew up with the Disney princesses. However, in growing up there is unfortunately a cynical, logical side to these stories that comes to light. Let's look at what Disney teaches us.

All Disney Princess Movies, EVER
     Princess has found her guy by age 16. Yep, you read that right, 16. In Tangled Rapunzel meets Flynn when she's 18, so they're marketing a little older at least, but 16? Really? That makes most of us old maids. At 24, I'm 8 years past that. So....what does that say? Not sure yet, but seems to be that if you don't find your dream guy young, you'll never find him. Don't think that's what we want to tell kids.
     Princess gets the guy of her dreams. Didn't you notice that? Every single movie, the prince finds the princess and they both fall madly in love. At the end of the movie, the lead character is awarded their favorite love interest. You can apply this to regular movies too, just reverse it since almost every main character is male. That doesn't teach kids how to interact well, just to develop stalker-type crushes and then they'll be happy. Something tells me that's not how it works. I could be wrong though....Imagine me and you, I do. I think about you day and night, it's only ri-i-ight. To think about the girl I stalk, both day and night, so happy togetheeeerrrrrrr......"

Okay, let's examine two movies in particular, Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid. I would do more, but then this blog would be too long and I'd lose half my readership (Yep, I'd lose half of the 10 :)

Beauty and the Beast
     A wonderful story about a bullied, friendless girl who is held hostage by a terrible beast, develops Stockholm Syndrome, and proves that with love you can change a monster into a prince. Just think about that for a second there. The message seems to be, 'If I love them enough, they'll change for me." Well, that doesn't sound like every abusive relationship ever now does it? 
     This used to be one of my favorite stories, and I still love the music when I can turn off the cynical portion of my brain. However, I was in one such abusive relationship for a long time and those were my exact thoughts. "If I just show enough love, if I'm patient enough, kind enough, listen enough, whatever enough, then he'll change and things will be perfect." Life's lesson there is that people don't change. They really don't, unless the individual person wants to. That takes quite a bit of doing, so most people don't bother. Sure, the power of love and all that, but really, it's backwards to what happens in real life. So unless you want to teach the little girls that they just have to be perfect enough and whomever they're dating will love them, maybe we should keep this one locked in the vault. It might happen, but there are too many weirdos out there. 

The Little Mermaid
    This one's fun. A beautiful mermaid falls for a sailor that she rescues who just happens to be a prince. They fall in love, Ariel sells her voice to get legs and Eric is put under an evil spell but eventually they're together. Very nice story, if the villain is rather weird (I mean, who turns into a giant half-octopus the moment they get a ton of power? Wait....) Just don't ever read the original Hans Christian Anderson version though.
     Another lesson we really shouldn't be teaching. Change everything about yourself, even your body shape, then you'll be able to get the guy you want. Right, plastic surgery all over again. Let's not forget the running away, abandoning family for some guy you pulled out of the ocean. Here's Florence Nightingale Effect for you, courtesy of Prince Eric. 

So anyway, there it is. Think twice when you watch the next Disney movie and make sure to live Happily Ever After!

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