Why oh why can’t all Disney films take after this beautiful retelling of one of Disney’s many misogynistic princess movies?
I am going to try to keep this a thoughtful discussion and not a rant on why Disney Princesses make me want to puke! Well, I will try.
I’m sure when I was little, I watched all of the classic Disney films, eyes glittering and filled with wonder. But, I wonder how much of those stories were absorbed into my psyche? Did they help shape the kind of woman, no person I am today? As a mother to a young, impressionable girl, I have revisited many of my childhood favourites to see if they are appropriate to share with my daughter and the answer is a resounding NO!
Don’t get me wrong, there are wonderful Disney classics that I still love to this day. Remember Bedknobs and Broomsticks? But, there are so many more that I absolute abhor and my kid will never set eyes on them. Not if I can help it!
But first, a mini review of Maleficent. (I watched it for a third time last night)
I’m pretty sure we all know the story of the little princess Aurora, cursed by an evil sorceress to prick her finger on a spindle on her 16th birthday, and fall into a death-like sleep. That is, until Prince Charming rolls up on his white steed and gives her a kiss. That’s all it takes to break this horrific curse! A kiss from some dude. But, no one ever wonders why this evil witch cursed a baby with this fate. Until, Maleficent.
Maleficent is a visually stunning film, starring Angelina Jolie. It gives us her account of what happened, what made her curse a baby. She was betrayed by a human boy whom she loved very much. Instead of dealing with it, she wallows in her sorrow until she becomes a frigid, heartless (broken-hearted) tyrant.
I don’t want to ruin the movie for those who haven’t seen it, but lets just say, it isn’t a prince who breaks the curse but a “mother’s love”. I just adore this movie. Jolie is fantastic (I just wish the poor woman would eat) and the cinematics are beautiful. Watch it! It’s an A+ movie.
And now my rant…er discussion.
The Worst of the Worst
Above are some of the worst offenders. Classic fairy tales, dark and totally inappropriate for children, revamped by Disney into animated features. Granted, at the time of release (particularly the old ones) these movies gelled with the values of that generation. Not that they were right but that is what every little girl wanted to see. However harmless they may seem, the underlying theme of Disney Princess films is, that no matter how horrible everything seems now “One day my prince will come” and rescue me. Not “I should really do …. and … to help myself out of my current predicament” or “Try and do …. to make my life better.” The whole notion of waiting around for someone to save you and make your life better is not doing anyone any favors. Boys and girls alike, are watching these films, and they are taught that being helpless is okay.
Snow White is THE WORST! Disney’s first beloved princess, is this simpering, hapless idiot whose only contribution, is to clean up after the dwarves. Ugh! I can go on forever but I promise I won’t.
Disney is Making Some Changes
Yes, Disney is making a lot of really great changes, and it’s about time! With movies like Moana being made, Disney is finally making films that I will happily let my daughter, who likes to be Batman as much as she likes to be Elsa, watch and enjoy. Now if only they were more proactive where diversity is concerned, but that is another post in itself.
My daughter has watched the above movies and the TV show, Elena of Avalor, which I heartily endorse. Especially, Brave and Elena of Avalor. From these, girls and boys will learn that they get to decide for themselves what to do with their lives and who to be. They learn that princesses are brave and can fight pirates and go exploring. In Frozen, Elsa’s sister Anna saves the day! There is no limit to what you can do! And that, is exactly the message kids should be taking away from their entertainment.
Hey maybe I’m completely nuts and am taking this far too seriously. But, as a mother and responsible human being, I feel it’s my duty to make sure my kid watches and plays with things that will help her to become a good person. We have enough assholes roaming the planet.
This was just as small sample of Disney’s past and current works and I think we can all agree that Disney will always be a huge part of our landscape. I for one, am happy they are moving in a positive direction.
Oh, and again, watch Maleficent if you haven’t already. It’s on Netflix.