I want to start with a quick disclaimer. I'm a Disney fan. I love the movies, I grew up watching the Disney channel (though I couldn't stand to watch it now). Being a generally open-minded person, I've heard other people's opinions about Disney movies and characters. I've listened to what they had to say, and I could even see what they were talking about. But that hasn't stopped me from enjoying the movies. So, this post acknowledges that people have very different opinions than me. But this is my blog, so here's my thoughts after much discussion and thinking.
Let's start with the most obvious thing that people hate on, shall we?
|I'm not really sure when Alice became a Princess.|
Also, this is definitely not a comprehensive image of all the
Disney female characters.
I get it, I really do. Tons of women, including myself, have been "lied to" and "duped" into thinking that a Prince Charming would come along to sweep us off our feet and ride us into the sunset. Oh, ya. And they lived happily every after.
Clearly, that's incorrect. Clearly, when Disney first began the divorce rate was much lower, rates of reported domestic abuse were lower, and women were not as independent. With the changes in society, the Disney Princesses have also changed.
Now, let me take the core 6 Disney Princesses that are highlighted on every Disney Princess merchandise item.
Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella were all beautiful and eventually saved by Princes. Sure, they were all extremely kind to animals as well as fabulous singers. But, for the most part their stories were being guided by male figures and evil women.
Moving on to the 1990's.
Ariel, Belle, and Jasmin were all beautiful and eventually saved by Princes. Sure, they were all extremely kind to animals as well as fabulous singers. But Ariel was independent and strong-willed, Belle was a bibliophile, and Jasmin was curious about other worlds and open-minded.
I could probably go on about how people think they're all horrible role models, how they all cater to some male sexual fantasy, and how they teach little girls the wrong things.
Firstly, why hasn't anyone mentioned the fact that the Disney Princesses are fictional characters, mainly created by male writers? Yet, we blame the females for their shortcomings. It could never have been the males fault, oh no. We need to keep putting the blame on other women because that is the easiest thing to do.
Seeing that the holiday season just ended, I'm going to go with this metaphor: Why is it okay for your child to believe that it's perfectly acceptable for a strange man to come into your home just because he's bringing a gift, but it's not okay for your child dress up to feel pretty and to believe that they are deserving of a happy and healthy relationship (which you as the parent will help to define for them)?
Really, I'm a strong believer that movies and cartoons are too easily scapegoated when it's the parents who say, "Well, the t.v. can babysit my child while I go do other things or take a rest or whatever." Don't get me wrong, I understand being exhausted. But that just doesn't seem like a good reason to skirt responsibility for what your child sees on tv, hears on the radio, or sees in their households and among their friends.
For goodness sake, talk to your child about gender roles at an early age! It would be just as irresponsible to ignore or not allow your child's interest in "girly, princessy" things, because it would just lead to more misinformation.
Completely Forgotten Characters and Movies
So, first people get angry at Disney because of the Princesses. But then they get angry at all the other movies for being boring or uninteresting or unoriginal - and those other stories were mainly those that didn't have a female character lead.
The "unoriginal" debate is the most ridiculous thing I've heard. Disney made itself by taking well-known and well-loved stories and animating them. Most of the stories were modified in some way or another to make them fit within the film constraints. I personally can't name a lot of movies that stayed true to the original story as much as possible - well, except maybe the Lord of the Rings trilogy which were 3 hours long!
Now, I'm not going to sit here and say that all the Disney movies were absolutely amazing. For example, I'm not really a huge fan of "Home On the Range," but I'd probably watch it again if it came into my possession.
But I heard all kinds of negative feedback about "Atlantis," "Treasure Planet," "Tarzan," and a whole host of others. I could probably rant about the negative opinions about each of them, but I won't.
I just found it extremely interesting that everyone would find something negative about anything Disney would put out. If there was a female lead, then she must be a horrible role model in some way maybe because she dared to want love. If there was a male lead, then it was mainly ignored.
I don't know too many people my age who saw the movies I just mentioned above, unless they were Disney fans or have kids.
I just feel like all the Disney hating comes just because there's a name involved. I get that - they're extremely powerful and own a lot of media outlets. They get to control what we see in the media.
Yet, that doesn't mean that we aren't in control of our individual wills and thoughts and opinions.
But, those are just my thoughts and opinions. And it's open for discussion.