The Disney Dynasty
Moms of young girls, you know the obsession with Disney Princesses. They are iconic, ethereal and the ultimate heroine. From Snow White in the 1930s to more modern-day princesses, the industry has grown massively. From cinema to a franchise, a multi-billion dollar industry has permeated our culture and is essentially ubiquitous.
Happily Never After…
But what is the true message of that industry? For years Disney has struggled with modernizing the iconic princess yet maintaining traditional ‘princess-like’ qualities without which many steadfast fans would disapprove. I let my kids watch the same Disney movies I grew up with – The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Cinderella, and Snow White (though the last two pre-date me). Though I wonder what valuable message my 4-year-old is interpreting from these iconic figures. Is it right for a man to kiss Snow White while she is sleeping, without her consent? Why does Ariel give up her voice for a man she has barely known for a few hours? What happened to Belle after she got married? Was that it? I thought she loved books. She had so much potential. And Jasmine, well, what really was her contribution to society? More like a classic damsel in distress…
The Modern Heroine
The overarching theme in most of these children’s movies was that a girl needed a prince to rescue her and then she would live happily ever after. The end. Life isn’t as simple anymore these days, and thankfully Disney has evolved their modern princess. Elsa is probably the best example. She’s never had any love interest and her story revolves around her relationship with her sister and even more complex, her love for her parents in Frozen 2. I am a huge fan of her new ‘pantsuit’ costume in Frozen 2! Finding herself is more important than any man or crown. Tiana is a businesswoman and that is her first and foremost priority, not a man. Moana’s goal is to restore her family’s traditions and the only man who was to help her partially bailed out.
I’d say Disney has done a decent job in re-vamping the modern princess, though fragments of ‘old-school princessing’ still permeate. I guess traditions are traditions, though I know I will omit some for my kids.