Disney, one word that has everyone thinking of the magical land that just so happens to be “The Happiest Place on Earth.” Yet let’s be real folks, it’s just another amusement park and business franchise that fills our head with false hopes and dreams.
I am all for the imagination and creative aspect of the Disney culture, but when I really get to thinking about it, I become a bit worried for the young minds exposed to it.
Girls that are far too young finding themselves in full princess get up sighing and patiently waiting for their prince charming while boys try so hard to fit that awkward role of being perfect Mr. Right.
Since 1937, when Snow White first arrived on the scene, there has been a new culture arising, the princess culture. This, like any society, has positives and negatives.
All Disney princesses, from Snow White right up to Rapunzel seem to have the same qualities.
They are characterized by helplessness and the inability to produce a true personality while relying on men for their happiness, or in simpler terms they are restrained by “princess faults.”
I admit Disney has gotten better at making stronger, self-sufficient women, like Tiana, the first African-American princess, who was determined to make her dream a reality.
Yet these odd princess qualities did not shift until after 1991.
The films following Beauty and the Beast seemed to be open to independent beauties following their own path into their self made future.
Yet even some of these ladies can still be burdened by their “princess faults.”
Now something Disney seems to have done right was in representing different types of ethnic groups. Although it is sad it took so long for any of the ethnic beauties to arrive on the scene.
Up until 1991 there was only Caucasians represented with differing hair color.
There was Snow White with midnight black hair, Cinderella and Aurora were a Lady Gaga yellow, Ariel had a beautiful shade of fire engine red and Belle had hair colored a lovely shade of coco brown.
After 1992 there was an obvious switch in both the ethnicities of the princesses and their character. That year was followed by Jasmine, Mulan, Pocahontas, and Tiana.
All of these women are more heroines than princesses, risking their lives for what they believe in or fighting to fulfill their dreams.
In following their destiny they never break the rules, and always manage to do the “right thing.” This is a better image for young girls to be exposed to.
It is more encouraging and exciting than sitting around waiting for prince charming.
The reality is that in life it is important to use imagination and drive to fulfill your dreams, while staying earth bound in realism.
Disney movies have found a way to encourage this, but lack the ability to stay down to earth.
They encourage the ideas of happy endings, which I can honestly say rarely happen.
So at the risk of sounding like a pessimist perhaps it is best to keep the Disney movies locked in a deep dark vault until kids are old enough to take them with a grain of salt.
Comments, views, and questions about this opinion can be sent to Olivia.Jasmine.Brayan@live.mercer.edu.
Disney princess culture harmful to young girls