A Disney Princess Rant – Call off the Hate
In the dawn of the reawakening of the power of the feminine and the search for strong feminine role models, many have turned to Disney princess bashing. Hey guys, this is NOT cool, and let me tell you why.
I’m going to focus on the Big Three – Aurora, Cinderella and Snow White. There’s a lot of talk about how these characters are not good enough role models for young girls. So, humility, kindness, forgiveness, grace and dignity – these aren’t good character traits any more? Let’s dig deeper.
The problem isn’t in the character traits, the problem is that these traits are being portrayed by women, or femininity. The aforementioned are distinctly “feminine” traits. When a male character is described with these traits, he tends to be softer and sometimes laughed at, unless he is a member of some sort of clergy, so he’s still teased but respected (Ex. Friar Tuck). Show a woman with these traits and the respect is magically lost.
In the past year, the idea of “sexuality is a spectrum” has come into the consciousness of the public, as many brave souls sought equal rights despite their sexual choices and gender choices. Ah, key word this “gender”. If sexuality is a spectrum, then gender by default is also a spectrum, going from the “ultra feminine” to the “ultra masculine”. So the problem isn’t in the gender, it’s rooted in the collective brainwashing that the feminine is wrong and bad.
“No, no, no,” I hear argued, “It’s that we are just looking for more of a balance. These princesses don’t have the balance of Mulan, Pocahontas, Merida and Elsa.” Okay, so the more decidedly “masculine” traits of bravery, perseverance, fighting offensively as well as defensively, these are to be more revered? Can we note how Mulan had to cross-dress to be taken seriously, how Pocahontas didn’t actually fight but used the power of her words to end conflict between MEN, how Merida fought for equal rights and was eventually heard through her calmness and kindness, and how Elsa had a crazy internal power and self-love struggle? Can we also note how they all had friends and family who they were kind to, how they all had to let the past go and practice forgiveness and humility? It’s not that these princesses shouldn’t be used as good models, because they’re awesome. The problem is in bashing the others and deciding that they have nothing to offer and that they’re useless in the struggle for women and humanity.
The femininity of the princesses I just mentioned is all over the spectrum. The Big Three lean more towards one side, and THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH IT. What’s wrong is how big corporations have decided to SELL them, namely as weak and pink. Let’s not forget that Aurora was perfectly content in her peasant clothes, and we never see her blue dress option. But in terms of the princesses as themselves, let’s not be so rash to hate on them.
Cinderella grew up in an abusive household. Rather than running away, she stayed her ground to look out for her animal friends and the home she loved so much. She put up with an abusive stepfamily, and still found it in her heart to forgive them and move on with her life when she was ready. She had friends who helped, loved and supported her, and when she needed them they were there for her. Sure, in the end she got her prince, but whatever! Good for her! Was she looking for a prince? NO, that poor girl was looking for a night off and a good time. She was content otherwise. Cinderella as a person and role model showed that kindness is always the answer, a calm head will see you through, and when you need help the friends you have will have your back, come what may.
Aurora had a jilted start in life. But, because her parents were kind, good rulers, they had loyal subjects who were willing to help. Aurora was patient with her three crazy “aunts”, kind to those around her, and overall content with how she was living her secluded life. Again, she wasn’t looking for a prince and to leave her sweet little cottage home, she’s a teenager with raging hormones who was happy to flirt – ain’t nothing wrong with that! And did she care that she was a princess and got to have fine things after, or that her life was in danger because of an obsessed witch (who is badass, for the record)? Not really, she was mad everyone kept telling her what she could and could not do – classic teenager. But this is an important step as a teenager – to challenge the authority around you, to ask questions and assert your own opinions more strongly and confidently. Aurora teaches kindness, patience, gratitude and happiness in the small, simple things, and to ask questions and not be content with the watered down answers you’re given. Also, she went into the huge dark woods all the time by herself to scavenge for food, and that’s kinda brave.
Snow White also had a bitch of a stepmother, but didn’t feel the need to leave her home until she was physically attacked. Until then, I’d wager she was pretty much ignored and left to her own devices, so long as things got clean. It wasn’t until shit got real and her life was threatened that she knew it was time to leave. And who wasn’t terrified by that scene in the woods the first time they saw it?! #naturalreactiontoscaryshitistobreakdownandcry Snow White, although limited in her bookish education, which all three are denied, was wiser than she looked. She happens upon seven lonely men and gets them to help her through offering services that are not sexual. She can see that they clearly need some help, and plays off of that. She full on plays seven men and gets them to help her without showing her breasts. You go girl! Snow White teaches kindness, fortitude, awareness of your surroundings, when to draw the line, being content with what you have, and proving that you don’t need to be sexual to get the help of men.
So let’s go back and look at all this again – it’s not what they’re teaching that’s the problem. It’s people deciding that being kind to all living creatures, patient, content with what you have and the ability to forgive and forget are not worthy of attention in a “strong” female. Fuck you, of course they are. These traits have somehow slid into the “bad feminine” side of the spectrum (for the record, no such thing), and dear people, I argue this is where the world started to slip into the fucked up mess it’s turning into today. The loss of the Divine Feminine and the “soft” balancing traits to the “hard” masculine are VITAL to a human being and the well being of the planet. We need to be reminded that these traits are important and to be cultivated and respected in others. If everyone was a little more calm, patient and content, don’t you think we’d all fare better? Don’t even get me started on respecting the animals and the earth under your feet.
What we also need to do is look past the mind-numbing pink toy aisles and remember that the femininity of these princesses is to be respected, just as much as a little kid in a tutu is to be respected.
We have to acknowledge the spectrum, and realize that these princesses had more to offer than “being rescued”. In ignoring these traits and disrespecting these fictional characters so loudly, more harm than good is being done. Clearly, if you’re one of these haters, then you should probably sit down to a Disney princess movie marathon and pick up a few things on respect and kindness.