I’ve always had dreams of being a princess. A Disney princess in particular. And for those of you who know me, no I did NOT want to be Ariel, thank you very much. There is more to warrant being a princess than what your hair color is and whether or not you can pull off a shell bra. I actually always wanted to be Belle. She reminded me the most of myself.
I’m working on another project mostly involving how the perception of women has changed throughout the years. I may or may not include this bit in my final project, but you can see a direct correlation between the Disney princesses and the women of the era they represented.
Take Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty for example. The perfect damsels in distress. The pretty dresses, the handsome princes, the faithful steeds and the scarier than heck villains. But these three women all had one thing in common: patience. Or at least…a great skill at finding waiting somehow conducive to a good life. Cinderella waited for a Fairy Godmother, Aurora waited for true love’s kiss and Snow White waited for…oh…she waited for true love’s kiss too!
I don’t think I could just as eagerly wait for true love’s kiss. Especially if my prince was off fighting some wicked queen or my evil stepmother. He can’t do it all on his can he??
Swinging the pendulum all the way to the other side we have Tiana and Rapunzel. Disney’s most modern princesses are much more independent and make the three aforementioned princess look like sissies. Tiana definitely is NOT one to wait around. She is proactive, intentional, and self-disciplined and works her butt off to get her restaurant. Nothing defers her from her dream and nothing gets in her way. Except for getting turned into a frog…and that’s not even really her fault. Silly curse.
As for Rapunzel, she tries the waiting thing, but it doesn’t really work for her. Ditching mother dear (which I don’t think is a good idea…Rapunzel must be the exception or something), she adventures out on her own and meets a guy whose been around a couple times and befriends thugs and extremely expressive horses. She has no idea what she’s doing, but somehow has all the knowledge she needs to work her way through the world. And come on, that horse has GOT to help some right?
While I totally respect both these princesses, I always sort of feel bad for their Prince Charmings…they sort of get left in the dust don’t they? I certainly hope they aren’t a reflection on the men of my generation…they don’t really get much of a chance to prove that they can save their dear princesses. They don’t really get much of a chance to do anything except stand there, flash a smile and cower when something tries to ruin their smolder.
But if you look at the middle princesses: Belle, Ariel, Jasmine and Mulan…now these are the gals I like the best. Belle has gumption and brains and confidence. She doesn’t let anyone tell her what to think and she knows there’s a bigger world out there than the people around her seem to be aware of. Ariel is curious and innovative and doesn’t let anything get in the way of what wants. (Granted…it’s a prince, but I’m working on the principle here). Jasmine is independent, self-sufficient and a risk-taker. She is game for anything and is willing to learn about things she doesn’t know. Mulan, while she does disobey her father, she still fights for what she believes in and sacrifices herself for her family. She knows what it means to love.
These are princesses I’d rather be like. And their princes don’t get left in the dust and aren’t forced to do all the work. There’s a beautiful equality and partnership there. They stand up for themselves, but let their women do the same.
If only we had stopped there and hadn’t pushed forward to feminazis!