Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…

22 Nov

Take a look at this…

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http://www.boingboing.net/2010/05/24/what-disney-princess.html

Being the Facebook junky I am, when a friend of mine posted this on Facebook the other day, I saw it right away and had to take a look. I felt it was very important to blog about this, but I have to admit I am torn about these statements and how these beloved Disney Princess’s are being portrayed.

I consider myself a pretty fair person. I like to play devil’s advocate, acknowledge that there are always two sides to every story, take the time to listen to someone’s opinion, even if I don’t necessarily agree with it, and try to see the best in every person and situation. A bit Pollyanna’ish? Yes, but I have lived the negative life before and I can tell you, this is a MUCH better attitude to have.

I think this cartoon characterization is AWFUL!!!! What kind of ultra-modern feminist wrote this? What kind of person really sees these fairy tales in this extremely negative way? I was stunned! They are FAIRY TALES! Stories! Let’s go through each one, shall we?

Cinderella –If you are beautiful enough, you may be able to escape your terrible living conditions by getting a wealthy man to fall for you.”

Seriously? Now, what I have taken from Cinderella growing up is if you have a good heart, are kind to those in your life and try to live a good life, good things will happen to you.

Belle – “Appearances don’t matter; what counts is what’s in your heart. Unless you’re the girl.”

Because she was pretty, she is penalized? That seems a bit double standard, doesn’t it? For ugly people appearances don’t matter but for pretty people, they will be punished? On top of that, Belle was portrayed as a caring woman, and most importantly, a VERY SMART WOMAN, who read anything she could get her hands on!

Jasmine – “As a woman, your political worth is reduced to your marriageabitlity.”

Number one, this story was based in a different land, somewhere in the Middle East. However, what I saw from this was a very strong woman who stood up to her traditions and said “NO! I want to be free and make my own decisions, including who I will marry!”.

Aurora – “Pretty girls don’t even need to be alive to get some hot princely action.”

OK, I have to admit, this is the story I know least about, except that she pricks her finger on a spindle and sleeps until a prince wakes her up with a kiss. Yeah, pretty corny. But does anybody really think that is what a 3 yr old girl is thinking?

Snow White – “At first it may seem terrible, being so beautiful that other women get jealous enough to try and kill you. But don’t worry, once your beauty attracts a man, he’ll protect you.”

OK, never mind the fact that again, she has a good, warm heart and helps take care of seven little guys (of course the story does go into the dwarfs work and she stays at home to cook and clean. but then again, she is staying with them for free!), is kind to creatures in the forest and never begrudged her stepmother for being such a jealous bitch who needs to grow up (although in the first edition, the Queen was her mother, not her step mother like in the newer versions).

Ariel – “It’s okay to abandon your family, drastically change your body, and give up your strongest talent in order to get your man. Once he sees your pretty face, only a witch’s spell could draw his eyes away from you.”

Now this one REALLY made my blood boil! It just so happens that The Little Mermaid is my all time favorite movie (yes, I am 34 and admitting this). I even have Ariel’s best friend, Flounder, tattooed on my hip (yes, I am serious, got it when I was 23). Let me explain why this is my favorite movie. When The Little Mermaid came out in the early 90′s, I was 14. I was in awe over this film. To me, it spoke volumes of where I wanted my life to go. To me, this movie was clearly sending the message of “GO FOR YOUR DREAMS! You are a modern woman and will not conform! Stop at nothing to achieve your dreams and goals in life!” Even if in this example, it was landing a hot prince. I firmly believe that is what Ariel was doing. Yes, she was going against her father, but she was following her dream, her heart. And THAT, I believe, is the best advice anyone could ever give a child.

Now, I also get the drama of it all. Disney has made an ENORMOUS fortune playing up the damsel in distress scenario. These princess’s are all beautiful, have the most unrealistic figures and each of these movies ends with the girl being happy once she has her prince. I get that this may not be the most educational way to show young girls life. But here’s the thing…IT’S NOT LIFE! It’s a fairy tale! And can I add that I love how this author excluded Mulan, who dressed as a man to fight in a war and showed enormous courage. I believe that all these princess’s showed unfathomable amounts of courage to the lives they were living.

The negativity that is seeping through this author’s word’s and vision is more damaging that the stories themselves! I have a daughter. She LOVED these stories. Now, if a parent is putting their young daughter in front of these movies and reading these stories and explaining to said child that her life will be happy and complete only when she finds her prince, then it’s not the story’s fault, it’s the parent. If we, as a society, continue to build up our daughter’s self esteem’s and continually show them that they can achieve and do anything, than fairy tales won’t be a stereotype, but just wonderful stories that our daughter’s can fondly think of back to their childhood.

Again, Pollyanna’ish, I know.

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