Disney Princesses as role models

Apparently there is a Christian group out there that wishes girls would be more like Disney princesses. I’m assuming they mean they want women to be more lady-like and demure, and let the man save them and so on.

It should be noted that many of those Disney films are from a time where women had great trouble trying to be anything but the loving mother and wife. disney-princesses-photo Snow White, for instance, came out only 17 years after women got the right to vote. Modern Disney films find female characters taking a bit more control over their lives.

Some of you may know that I am a bit of an animation historian. (Seriously. I founded a magazine called “Animato!” that was quite successful in the ’90s, and I’ve been quoted in “Entertainment Weekly” and in a number of books about animation.) So I love discussing this sort of thing.

So let’s humor the traditionalists for a minute and look at the lessons we can get from these Disney princesses — I’m not sure they’re exactly the lessons the conservatives want given…

Snow White: Lived with seven men

Cinderella: Snuck out of the house to go to a party

Aurora: Fell in love and married the first man to kiss her while she was unconscious

Ariel: Disobeyed her father and ran away to have an inter-species relationship

Belle: Suffered from Stockholm’s Syndrome, stayed with a man who abused her, and dabbled in bestiality

Jasmine: Ran away from home and fell in love with a “street rat”

Pocahontas: Disobeyed her father and fell in love with the enemy (We can debate whether she really should be considered a “princess” — we’re kind of stretching the definition here a bit)

Mulan: Disobeyed her parents, refused to follow traditional female roles, became a cross-dresser, and broke her country’s laws

Tiana: Refused to accept a traditional female role and engaged in an inter-racial marriage at a time when it was illegal in her state (Also doubtful she should be considered a “princess” but Disney defines this very loosely for marketing purposes. I’ve seen pictures where they included Meg and Esmerelda, and that is just getting ridiculous. And “Anastasia” wasn’t a Disney film!)

Rapunzel: Disobeyed her “mother” and ran away with the first man she ever met

Merida: Refused to obey her parents, refused traditional women’s roles, dabbled with the occult

Yep! Great examples for today’s girls!

Disclaimer: I’m just having some fun here. Don’t take any of this too seriously!

Editorial cartoon of the day