Disney Princesses Aren't What They Used To Be (And Why We Love It)
With the recent popularity of “Frozen,” the film that nabbed the Oscar for Best Original Song and grossed over $1 billion, it's almost impossible not to pay attention to the sudden resurgence of Disney's iconic princesses — or rather, not so iconic.
If you haven't seen it, “Frozen” features princess Elsa and her sister Anna of the kingdom of Aredelle. After Anna's heart is turned frozen by her sister's betrayal, she must find true love to thaw it, or she will become frozen solid forever.
On her quest to save herself, Anna looks for a man to love her but finds no such luck. Her death seems inevitable until her sister's “true love” saves her.
No, Anna doesn't fall in love with her sister (even though incest would be a refreshing depart from Disney's cookie-cutter recipes); instead, her sister's true devotion and willingness to sacrifice herself saves Anna. Thus, there is absolutely no running off into the sunset.
Damn, I don't think any of us were expecting that. In what movie is the man overturned for the sister? Let alone another woman?
In what time would we ever expect Cinderella to leave Prince Charming for the indentured house servant? Or Snow White for one of the dwarves, admitting to a fetish for midgets?
Cinderella may have experienced servitude and some mental abuse throughout her time living with her stepmother, but she's definitely not a modern woman.
Looking back at the milky-skinned, blue-eyed princesses I came to encapsulate in my mind as the epitome of womanhood, I can't help but hold some resentment against the women who gave me such false illusions about reality and men.
For 23 years, I feel like I have been on a constant quest to find my fair-skinned man of royal blood and perfect bone structure and I'm quite tired of it.
I'm tired of the rejection, the chase and just the whole goddamn show. I'm tired of feeling incomplete without a man and believing that my happiness lies in his kiss, the kiss that will save me from my life.
As the older generation, we are just observers of these modern Disney movies. It's the children of Generation Z who are being molded and shaped around them, as we once were.
However, they don't have Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, but Elsa and Merida, the feisty princess with an affinity for the longbow from “Brave.”
The headstrong warrior refuses her arranged marriage and informs the older generations of her kingdom that the children should be allowed to get married whenever they want, to whomever they want. What a modern notion. Almost as refreshing as the idea that maybe they don't need to get married at all.
As we've learned, media platforms tend to set the tone for reality and the new reality is that marriage is outdated and women are no longer helpless.
As we grapple with our parents' divorces and betrayals, it's becoming quite clear that the systems once established and reiterated by Mickey Mouse and his clan of perky-breasted princesses is just a bunch of bullsh*t, and we're not going to take our future children to movies that reiterate outdated notions and sexist ideals.
We're ready for princesses with wildly untamed locks, skewed features and maybe a little bit of a gut. We want real women for our daughters to look up to, women with passions and goals away from finding a man.
We want stories about bravery and independence, about fighting our own battles and developing skills outside of lying in a bed.
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