Friday, January 23, 2009

Happy Endings are for Stories That Haven't Ended Yet


At the age of 20 I still have a huge spot in my heart for all things Disney. My friends and I have all claimed our favorite Disney princess and why we are just like her. Growing up my dad called me Belle from Beauty and the Beast because of my love to read and my brunette hair. As time went on and my little group formed our fantasy Disney league. We argued over which princess had the better dress or the best song choice or the hottest prince (I never won that one, lets be honest, even after the transformation the Beast isn't quite the looker). Even in our adulthood we brought with us what we learned from the Disney movies of our youth. As I look at Disney movies with new eyes I have a whole new perspective. I am going to look at a few of my favorite Disney princess as some may see them or as they would be if they existed in real life.

PRINCESS JASMINE (Aladdin)

Let's face it Jasmine is damn hot. She has the curves of model, the abs of "Hit me Baby One More Time" Britney Spears, eyes the size of a normal persons head and hair with so much volume and length it would give a real girl neck and back problems to support it. Yes, Jasmine in attitude broke out of a normal Disney mold. Yes, she wanted her life and not the one that her father wanted for her. However, I have a feeling the reason all of those princes came to her beck and call wasn't because of her stunning intellect and incredible independence. For someone who wanted independence she was objectified easily by her attire. The character was sexy instead of sweet. She knows how to use her body when she has to seduce Jafar and she know's, and abuses, her beauty. At an early age girls can be found in their Jasmine Halloween costumes, flashing their stomachs and looking for their Aladdin. Jasmine is the mirror of independence. Although she knows how to reflect individuality she also knows how to flaunt her sexuality. Seriously, watch Aladdin again and Jasmine oozes sex appeal.



MEG (Hercules)

I don't quite know what hair products Disney uses with they female characters, but I want some. This dark haired spunky beauty is Disney's attempt to have a feminist character. Meg is a women scorned by love. She sells her soul to Hades in order to be with a man who then leaves her for the next pretty little thing that walks by (that bastard! As they would like you to believe). She isn't a damsel and she isn't in distress. She can handle herself and she doesn't NEED a man (even though she has to answer to one in everything she does). But really in doing this all they do is, and excuse me language, is make her kind of bitchy. Don't get me wrong. Meg is one of my favorite Disney characters and if I had her witty repertoire I would use it just the same. However, what is the moral of this story? Even when you don't believe in love, even when you aren't looking for it, even when you have been screwed over before it will still find you, like a killer in a horror movie. You can run, you can hide, but it knows where you live and it will consume you. Sure optimism is a great thing and a great thing to teach children, but not in the way that if you wait your "wonderboy", as she puts it, will come. Meg sings the theme song for most women just entering a relationship, "(I Won't Say) I'm in Love". The song begins, "If there's a prize for rotten judgment I guess I've already won that. No man is worth the aggravation. That's ancient history been there done that." The song is a constant battle between heart and mind. Love and Pain. It gives women a glimpse of what to expect. If Meg is supposed to be a womans feminist model she gives up pretty easily in the line of love.



ARIEL (The Little Mermaid)

Sure I could say the Little Mermaid is sexist because of her little bikini. I could say it shows a woman being dominated by a male driven society (father, Flounder.... Crab). I could say that is portrays a little girl who is ignorant to the world. I could say that the fact that she is a mermaid, eliminating the part of her that makes her physically a woman in human form, doesn't exist and therefore rids her of her femininity. But here is my main problem with The Little Mermaid. THE PRINCE FALLS IN LOVE WITH HER EVEN THOUGH SHE CAN'T TALK. I mean seriously can anyone even argue how male dominated that is?! This wasn't even made in the olden days either. This movie is as old as I am and although a lot has changed this movie depicts a time where a womans beauty got her everything she needed. I get that she was quirky and cute despite her ability to NOT SPEAK and I also get that not everyone can talk and they are still fully capable of finding love. However, their connection was limited to a day of flirting glances and childish smiles. This movies almost shouts at its viewers that if you are cute enough, if you have the body of a goddess and do cute things like brush your hair with a fork then a prince will fall for you without a personality or a voice.



SLEEPING BEAUTY AND SNOW WHITE (Sleeping Beauty and Snow White...)

I am lumping these two together because they have the same problem. After living independent and having their own lives they are struck down. They are two perfectly capable women that need men to recuse them. When it comes to Snow White she became the matriarch to fill the motherly role for her seven dwarfs. For Sleeping Beauty, she was raised as a independent woman but upon entering her new exquisite lifestyle is reduced to a insignificant character. The reason I saved these for last and I put them together is because these depictions are from a different generation. These filled weren't made within my lifetime or even the lifetime of my parents. But what they taught were that these girls were going to die without their prince's. Without the men in their life to save them they would have rested eternally and ceased to matter. It was the men who came and saved them and put life back into them and made their existents pertinent. Just like Cinderella says (or I think it is her at least). Some day my prince will come. A lot of girls sit around waiting for that day. Like in Shrek 3 when all of the princess realize they are screwed because they were waiting for someone to rescue them. It wasn't until Princess Fiona, the unconventional princess, showed them to get off their pretty little hineys and do something to save themselves.

I realized that each of these descriptions are particularly ranty and I am okay with that. I don't feel this way all the time and I don't watch Disney movies to analyze them. I have things to say about pretty much every movie I have seen let alone every Disney movie I have see, but I got a little tired of figuring out how to space the pictures out... My problem is that women, and myself included, feel like they can wait for a prince instead of doing their part to find one themselves.

They spend too much time at home shopping for their glass slippers instead of going out into the real world and doing the work themselves.


2 comments:

  1. I totally respect your opinion

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  2. I love the bikini picture at the beginning! And I totally agree with everything you said. I watched The Little Mermaid last summer for the first time since I was a little girl and had to ask myself why I liked it so much. She falls in love with him just by looking at him for 30 sec! What kind of message is that?

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