My Beef with Disney

My kids and I like to walk through the toys aisles at the local discount store for a few minutes, as a reward for good behavior.  With a two-year-old daughter, I’m starting to notice distinct “girl” aisles as I pass each row.  An alarming amount of pink glows from one.  Miniature imitations of household responsibilities call from another.  And amid each glittery and girly display, familiar faces pop out at me from the shelves.  It seems that my little girl is destined to be bombarded through backpacks, sleeping bags, and board games by the lure of the Disney Princesses.

I’ve never been all that captivated by the Disney form of romance.  I do, however, have fond memories of my first viewing Cinderella and The Little Mermaid in the movie theaters, so when the anniversary editions came out for each, I bought them for our home collection.

After viewing both of these fun productions several times, I started mentally replaying the story lines of the popular princesses.  With a bit of frustration and tarnished nostalgia, I’ve come to this conclusion:  I’ve got a beef with Disney.

First of all, what is with the emphasis on kissing?  I have yet to meet a girl who needs to be conditioned from infancy that her fate is to be determined by whether or not a boy is going to kiss her.

Poor Snow White and Sleeping Beauty owe their very lives to a prince they hardly knew or never met, who happened to pucker up at the right time and place.

Sure, Cinderella had a great time at a party with a guy who was kind enough to return her shoe, but that hardly makes him marriage material.  My husband found my missing flip-flop the other day, but that doesn’t even make the list of why I’m glad I married him.

At least Bell fell in love with the Beast before she knew he was a prince but she still had to profess her love in order to save his life.

And then there’s poor, misguided Ariel.  I’m not even going to mention that she continually disobeyed her father and everything turned out just peachy, or the fact she agreed to never see her family again, just to get a date with a guy.  I’m just wondering what self-respecting mermaid is willing to change her entire species to be with a man she’s never even spoken too?  Naturally, she only has three days to attract him, without the use of any verbal or mental connection, waiting for the culminating kiss to show his never-ending love for her.  Besides, haven’t we all forgotten something?  She’s sixteen!  In most states, she would need King Triton to sign the papers for her to get married in the first place!  And her “collection” of human stuff?  I’d say that’s an obsessive-compulsive disorder with hoarding tendencies if ever I saw one.

There may have been sequels two and three, but I’m waiting for number four, the uncut look at what really happened once Ariel and Eric sat down to chat.  There had to be years of arguing and therapy because they had nothing in common.  And what did she do when the palace wanted to serve fish at every holiday and get together?  Bet she didn’t think of that in Ursula’s cave.

I think I will stick with Dora as the preferred female licensed character in our house.  Any girl that always has what she needs in her backpack, speaks two languages, and is willing to help her cousin rescue animals is okay by me (even if her best friend is a monkey).  She can grace my daughter’s sippy-cup any day of the week. Now, if only Dora could find a t-shirt that covers up that tummy of hers.

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  1. Jacqueline says:

    I’m with you on the Disney thing – the only movie I ever thought bypassed the whole Prince Charming thing was the Lion King. And I still think that the Lion King is excellent!

  2. i believe that you meant to be taken lightly, and not at all serious.
    I mean, you MUST know that Disney never AUTHORED these stories, that they were myths, legends and fairy tales centuries before Disney?

    your critiques of the stories themselves were humorous, though.
    But Aesop, Alexander, the Brothers Grimm and others are credited for collecting, even if even THEY were not the ORIGINAL storytellers themselves….

    the one exception, i think, is the little mermaid- simply because i have no recollection of reading that particular story apart from Disney, I suppose i should credit them with it.
    therefore, i would offer that the little Mermaid is a romeo and juliet rebellion/ romance with a twisted tail thrown in, and an appropriate Disney-esque happy ever after….why not?

  3. ethel wynard-nadzo says:

    At last someone who has voiced what I have been unable to articulate,,,Dora is the only Disney character allowed in my house…thankfully my girls now gravitate towards characters like Fifi…she is very confident and in control, Peppa Pig…again a very confident and outspoken young lady, Little princess and Bob the Builder…there is Wendy of course who runs the office and is a dab hand at building….need I say more?

  4. Audra Pettit says:

    Thank you for your responses everyone!

    And James, the answer is yes, I am meant to be taken lightly. I really do enjoy and appreciate Disney’s ability to bring these traditional stories to life for children, even if I get frustrated with some of the messages sent to girls. I have a beautiful 60 year old +, leather copy of the Grimm’s Fairy tales that my mother read to me as a child (and censored them along the way…) so I am familiar with the original tellings of these adapted stories. I believe the stories were orginally intended for adults, if I remember correctly.

    Also, I think Little Mermaid is actually adapted from a Hans Christian Andersen tale.

    Thanks again for your comments!
    Audra Pettit

  5. Woga Gartenpavillon says:

    I was really curious on what’s your beef with disney when i read the title. Well it’s a good thing my son is not into disney pincesses. But he adores mickey mouse and friends.

    If you guys watched shrek 3, you’ll have a different view on these princesses.

  6. Have you ever noticed that most mian characters in a Disney movie are seperated from one or both parents by some form of misfortune. Cinderella, parents die. Snow White, parents death resulting in evil step mother. Bell, held against her will in order to protect her father and oh yes, her mother is deceased. I think you get the picture. Think about it. See how many Disney characters you can name that are with both parents through the entire movie.