My problem with Disney princesses
By Nobonita Chowdhury
Let’s face it: we’ve all watched Disney movies at some point in our lives. We would sing along to the musical numbers, dress up as Disney princesses at class parties, have their faces printed on our lunch boxes and what not. However, now that I’ve become more aware of gender roles in society, a lot of the princess stories greatly irk me. For instance, I would not want my daughter to give up something important to her, all for the sake of a man. Unfortunately, this is the message our beloved Ariel is sending to all the little girls out there. It is NOT okay to sacrifice everything for the man you love. Love is about compromise; the man has to be willing to make sacrifices too. But in The Little Mermaid we see Ariel sacrificing everything, only to see her man go off with another woman till the very last minute. Ladies, no man is worth chasing after like that.
Not convinced yet? I’ve got other examples to follow along as well. Let’s talk The Sleeping Beauty. If you think about it, Aurora doesn’t have an actual legit role throughout the movie. She is sent away in hiding, where she falls under Maleficent’s spell and goes into a deep sleep. Then her prince charming comes and rescues her. Do you realize the message this is sending to young girls? The Sleeping Beauty is basically telling them to stay put and let their prince charming do everything. Not only is Aurora a horrible role model, she also demeans a woman’s role in society. Ariel and her are not the only princesses giving off the damsel in distress vibe. Think about Cinderella and Snow White. If you think of it from a feminist perspective, do they really make good role models for younger girls? I would want little girls to think of themselves to be more than pretty princesses whose only job is to woo men. In my case, I always try to compliment little girls on their personal attributes as opposed to their physical appearances, so that they know what to value more.
Thankfully, Disney is starting to catch up with the times. Movies like Brave, Mulan and Frozen feature strong female role models for young girls. Disney also uses Megara’s character in Hercules to criticize female stereotypes; a great leap from Aurora and Ariel if you ask me. Hopefully Disney will keep this up. Now all that’s left is to get rid of the D.I.Ds (damsels in distress).