The Disney Dilemma


The doors opened and I looked around. Oh no.... I thought to myself as I waded through the sea of tulle and sparkle. 

"How was the show!?" my mother asked excitedly as we spoke through Facetime the next morning?

BIG SMILE "Did you know it was a Disney Princess on Ice Show?!?!" I said with an excited (ok sarcastic) voice.

"Oh no..." my mom said with a semi- chuckle.

"Oh yes. Don't worry mom, you can read all about it in my next blog. (Yes, as in this right here).

"Christa, there is nothing wrong with princesses." 

"You are right mom, but there is something wrong with the way Disney has portrayed women through their princesses..." 

I sat in my stadium seat a bit uncomfortable with my surroundings, and took a moment to reflect on how much my thinking has changed since I founded Tuff Girl almost 8 years ago.

The princesses glided across the ice in their pretty, sparkly, scant costumes as the "heroes" (their words, not mine) lifted them up to whisk them away, save them, and rescue them from... well, whatever it is they needed rescuing from. 

The guy in front of me even turned around giving me an odd look as I explained to Lea why Arielle wanted legs. As the words "She wanted legs so she could go on land and meet him..." came out of my mouth I realized how stupid they sounded. 

I thought for a minute and quickly added, "So she could meet people and have new experiences, and see different places." How do you explain to your daughter that a girl wanted legs she could meet a man she had seen lying unconscious on a rock?

And why is price charming was kissing an unconscious sleeping beauty. What kind of message is this sending our girls? Is this the best we can do for our girls Disney? 

And why does every princess fall in love after a quick walk through the park?

And why are so many princesses locked away in towers or dungeons. Why are so many princesses helpless? Again, what kind of message is this sending to our children? What is this teaching them about women? Women that they admire and aspire to be like. 

I had so many questions...

I think my two daughters were the only two girls in the whole entire stadium who have (purposely) not seen any of the princess movies with the exception of Frozen. Now many of you think this might be extreme, but we become what we believe. And I certainly don't want my daughters becoming someone that believes herself to be helpless and in need of rescuing. 

I want my girls to fall in love because they meet the right person, not because they need someone to take care of them. 

I want them to be empowered enough to stand on their own, make their own money, blaze their own path, and live an awesome life, even if it is alone.

I want them to know that they are strong and can take care of themselves.

I want them to believe that they are the hero. 

I believe this pretty pretty princess mentality is pretty pretty dangerous. Once again, teaching girls that they are something to be looked at, instead of something capable enough to do amazing things, escape from a tower, slay a dragon, or whatever it is they want to do. 

Without the help of a "hero". 

At intermission, we waited in line for the bathroom along with five Cinderella's, ten Sleeping Beauties, five Aerials, and five Snow Whites. Each little girl adorned with the fancy dress and tiara of the princess they aspired to be. 

My daughter had on a monkey hat. 

In a sea of princesses, be a monkey. Better yet, be the queen monkey. 

In Strength,

Christa

Update: After I posted this, I received some feedback from people who thought my thinking might be a little extreme. I want to clarify that I do not think there is anything wrong with princesses (XENA and SHERA were both princesses!). My problem lies in how Disney has portrayed women through their princesses (namely, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella Snow White, Jasmin and Ariel). These women were and still are portrayed as helpless, in need of rescuing, and in need of a man to show them things they couldn't possibly see on their own. The Disney on Ice show showed me that these princesses, even if they are from years past, and the harmful messages they send about women are still alive and making more and more dollars for the Disney empire.