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Disney Princesses, and What I Learned From Them.
Disney sure gets a lot of flack...
Whenever someone mentions the 'D' word, if it's not about how crappy their animated flicks are as of late, or how money-gouging they are, it's usually about how Disney is really screwing over kids- especially girls. With these impossible tales of Happily Ever Afters, Prince Charmings, evil villains, woodland critter friends and musical numbers... and nothing that could EVER reflect upon life, how on earth were we supposed to cope with such unrealistic expectations of life? *cough cough*
And you'll always hear, "Good gravy, little girls should stay away from those Disney movies. Especially the classics. The women in those movies are so helpless, naïve, little virgin-ous headaches. Nobody wants to see that!"
Well, I want to see them! Feminists and general Disney bashers, you need to get something else to do other than hate on some seriously magical movies.
I LOVE the classics. And I'm 25. I know I'm not the only one, either. I was chatting with an old, old friend awhile back-- this awesome girl I've known since Kindergarten, and we recanted about how we spent our childhood playing princesses. She was Ariel because of her red hair and I was always Jasmine because of my darker looks, but the funny thing is when we played princesses, we never waited on Prince Charming (usually one of our dogs took that role). I remember quite vividly we would just fight each other to see which Princess was more bad-ass or which princess could do the splits all the way. (me, *flex* and I still can. *cough*.)
I asked this dear friend of mine, "did you ever learn anything from good ol' Disney movies? Do you suppose they taught you anything?"
And she said, "quite a bit." Even though it wasn't obvious to her at first. Watching those Disney classics has rooted some deep "shit" into her. Her words precisely.
It then exploded into my mind the second she began to explain from her end, what I might have picked up unintentionally from these movies. When I say classic I mean the classic Disney princess ones. The ones we watched on repeat as kids, the ones I still watch on repeat on lazy weekends... or whenever I've in the mood, which is more often than not. I learned something from each Disney heroine, believe it or not. These movies are practically how-to's for us, and none of the 'helpless sit-on-your-butt-waiting-for-a-prince' stuck with me. (Although I will admit to wanting to be romanticized and swept off my feet... but who doesn't?)
Alas... what each Disney princess taught me.
Let's start with the one closest in looks to myself. The one I was always posing as as a kid and the one I've always thought was the sexiest. Jasmine. What the heck did I pick up from an Arabian princess?
I love to wear my hair long. I never *not* have my hair long. It's long, black, and thick and while I know Jasmine has nothing to do with the fact gorgeous Filipino hair runs in my family, I'd like to think that she inspired me to keep it the way I do. In fact, if I could get away with it I would probably emulate her whole friggin' hairstyle, but unless I want to be heckled everywhere I go, I refrain from going that far.
Jasmine doesn't take crap concerning her familial duties and if I say so, she's a spitfire-of-a-stubborn biatch. Which I am to the T. When I left a certain ex of mine, my family would have NONE of it. If they could've, they probably would've forced me to stay with him because he was everything they wanted for me. Though he wasn't what I wanted for me. The sultan tries to get her to marry all these ridiculous pompous suitors just so she's taken care of. Jasmine wanted to be free to make her own choices. As did I. "If I do marry, I want it to be for love."
Jasmine also oOoOoooOoozes sexuality, well, for a cartoon. And while I might not OOZE it like she, I have certainly channeled enough to use to my advantage in persuading the opposite sex into well, a whole lot. Today I actually got stalked all the way to the parking lot at DOLLAR TREE of all places, and that isn't the weirdest place I've been hit on unfortunately. Remember the scene where she pretends to come on to Jafar and he falls right for it? Mhmm. That sultry tone in her voice, the eye lids droop ever so slightly, and she slinks a certain sexy way... by God, Disney, thank you. For watching this movie 37827489239 times as a child has molded me into a seducing machine, now if only I used my powers for good... (or maybe I'm crazy and all us girls are inherent seductresses?)
Sleeping Beauty/Aurora/Briar Rose
Phew, that's a lot of names, girl. But whatever works for you.
Whatever you wanna call her.
What did I learn from this sleeping beauty?
Laziness. Pure and simple. Come on. What does she do the whole movie besides look pretty (okay, really damn pretty), sing occasionally to birds and the like, and sleep? Nothing. In fact this is one of my lesser favorites as a kid. I probably watched it maybe 500 times compared to the other ones which I've watched 893294783748 times. Sometimes I get so tired, coffee won't cut it, and I wish very heartily for some evil jealous witchy-woman to cast a spell on my town just so I could catch up on some z's. I don't care what people might say, I say Aurora/Sleeping Beauty/blahblah had it EASY. Her villain just put her to sleep, whereas Ursula wanted the trident to rule all the seas and turn everyone into those squiggly wormy things/kill Ariel and Eric in the process, then there's Gaston who wanted Belle so badly he'd kill the beast that stood in his way, the step-mother and her daughters in Cinderella treated Cinderbutt horribly, and then locked her up in the tower, if she hadn't escaped, God only knows how long she would have been kept in there...
Yes Aurora, you had it disgustingly easy. Which isn't to say Maleficent isn't worth her salt as a villain... Maleficent herself is a bad to the bone, she just has some rather crummy ideas of revenge. Although Prince Phillip is the true hero in this story... when Maleficent finally showed her true powers and fought him, where were you Sleeping Beauty/Aurora/Briar Rose? Oh, yeah. Asleep.
So thank you Aurora, or whatever name you're going by currently. You've taught me that there is no such thing as oversleeping because sooner or later a handsome prince will kiss you on the lips and wake your ass up... or a blaring alarm clock will deafen you to consciousness... or a seriously annoyed looking boyfriend will throw things at you 'til you snort yourself awake. It's like the same thing, right?!
What did I pick up from Snow White? Well, besides an obsession with mirrors and paranoid that my mother might one day be jealous of herself no longer being fairest in the land (*snort* just kidding) there are a couple things.
First off, Snow White is hardly my favorite. Which is humorous considering she was the first Disney princess I dressed up as for Halloween (actually, not true, I attempted Pocahontas in 3rd grade... but is she technically a princess?) Snow White is probably my least favorite. However, there are a few things. The fact that she initiates and pawns off much of the cleaning duties and chorework on anything around her (animals, for instance) taught me: why do something all by yourself when you could have someone else help you or do it for you? I recall forcing my sister to clean up after I played with my toys and making her help me with whatever duty I was stuck with. (Sorry, Mary, I love you! I'm a bad sister! But don't act like you didn't learn anything from these Disney babes!)
That goddamn mirror. Lately I've been obsessed with poring over my youth. I'm 25 and I feel like I might as well be 40. It's not that I want to be fairest in the land... that's not it at all. It's just that I want to be fair for a long long time. Ya know?
The 7 dwarves thing... Snow White lived with 7 dudes. But was she a slut? Hardly. She just seemed to have gotten on better with guys than girls, perhaps if only from the jealousy she invoked in other females. My friends mainly consist of guys. The couple girlfriends I do have that don't even like going out with me because they seem to think all I do is sabotage their every move in nabbing men they're interested in. PSHHHHHt. Insanely untrue, but there you go. Females have seriously warped minds, which is one of the biggest reasons I prefer the company of laid-back dudes in the first place. And if I knew a bunch of dwarves, I'd so be friends with them.
Snow White also can get the 7 dwarf dudes, the hunter guy who was supposed to cut out her heart, etc to do pretty much whatever the hell she wants. Is it that sickening innocence and purity and all that nauseating shit? Bingo. I know I've definitely pulled that grotesque innocent act a few too many times... I think this is where I learned it.
Honestly, I don't think I picked up ANYTHING from Cinderella.
I'm unorganized, and I'm a slob, and thanks to Aurora, I'm lazy and love to sleep. Though I suppose I've always had that fantasy of the dude of my dreams finding my missing shoe and coming over to me to slip it perfectly onto my foot.
Oh Disney... I suppose you do corrupt my mind and the minds of many...
Sorry Cinderbutt, I can't think of one damned thing I learned from you. Maybe it was to love rodents? You did have a vast array of rodents and birds at your beck and call. I love pet rats, so sure why not. I'll give you some credit for that.
Ah, one of my favorites.
What did I pick up and learn from Belle? (and Beauty and the Beast in general.)
Definitely the most important -- that first impressions are usually not correct and that beauty IS really on the inside. Yeah, there are some real uglies out there, but if you don't try to look past that, then you'll never know how awesome they probably are... and if their personality is shit, then junk 'em! I've known truly hideous people in my life, and these people were beautiful on the outside, but with souls like that of something truly rotten. Don't let looks decieve you is a pretty big message, and for that alone I think this is one of the best Disney films of all time.
BOOKS!!!!!!!!!!!!! Belle loves to read, and that's my absolute favrotie thing about her. I love reading. I love writing. I have ever since I could remember. I'm sure the sole reason for all that isn't this Disney princess or this movie per se, but I'd be lying if I said this movie didn't help advance my interest. I particularly loved the beginning scene where she walks around reading a book, not taking her eyes off the pages... (so much, in fact, that I used to do it as a kid thinking I was SO cool.) Oh, and my sis and I used to sing the entire beginning song super loud outside, hoping to annoy the neighbors. We lived in a rural area, so I'm sure our neighbors appreciated the bountiful trees that absorbed the brunt of our god-awful singing voices.
Belle is incredibly kind to everyone around her, even that fool of a creep Gaston. And she's brave, for taking her father's place as the Beast's prisoner. If some beast man had my family member as his prisoner, you bet your ass I'd take their place, or I'd go in there guns blazing... whichever would work best. She's also not afraid to stand up for what she believes in (me neither, go us!), as she talks back to the Beast after she rescues him from the blizzard and the wolves. (Gasp, a Disney princess saving their love interest?) Well, duh. It's not the first classic to have that happen, actually.
I save the BEST for last. My most favorite Disney princess.
Ariel. What did I learn from this mermaid?
Well. Every love interest I've had that watched this with me has sworn that Ariel is where I learned my pout from. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or bad thing, ha!
I think I also picked up on the whole headstrong stubborn don't-want-to-listen-to-what-my-dad-says thing because there was a LOT of that growing up. Many moments of storming off into tears, and wishing he could just understand, etc. I was always so jealous of everyone else's dad because they seemed to have it better than I. But now that I'm older, I've realized that was my dad's way of tough love and much like King Triton, he only wanted what he thought was best for his daughter. (My dad kicks ass! I love you dad!!)
I also have this part-of-your-world syndrome thing going on because I seem to be struck with that grass is greener on the other side concept. I ALWAYS want what I can't have and ALWAYS want whatever that person has *points* or that one! *points* or THAT ONE!! *points*
Though what I REALLY wish I could pick up was Ariel's voice. My God it's beautiful. I shame myself for even trying to attempt to sing her songs...
Let's face it, Disney owns. At least Classic Disney did. Their classics trump all the other movies that dared to compete. There was just this heavy sense of euphoric magic in these early films, and despite what many people think, their heroines aren't just sitting there looking pretty and twiddling their thumbs.
You have Jasmine, who wants to marry for love and does not want to be cooped up in a palace married to some jerk who is just after her riches and title.
Snow White, who is forced to pick up a new life because staying in her castle puts her own life in danger due to a vain, jealous step-mother...
Aurora, who doesn't even know her true identity because of Maleficent. She grew up thinking she was a peasant girl, and quite frankly because of that, she is probably one of the more humbler princesses.
Then Belle, who is the epitome of a good soul. Kind, gentle, sweet, loves to read, brave.. she is no doubt the best one if you're looking for a role model. Nothing vain or vapid about her, is there?
And there's Ariel, who longs for a different lifestyle... and makes it happen. Sure, the grounds for her wishing to be a human were a little superficial [saw a handsome prince and love-at-first-sight] but it's not the destination, it's the journey.
And they lived Happily Ever After.
Disney has been living Happily Ever After, despite their lackluster flicks of their recent fair, with the exception of Pixar, they're still pretty exceptional.
I think Disney deserves more credit. Rarely are their princesses ultimate damsels in distress. Sure they have moments of floundering ineptness, but who hasn't floundered ineptly? Who wouldn't love for a handsome man or heck, a beautiful girl to save the day now and then? Romance will always be a top selling point, and Disney carved their niche with the very idea into children's tales. Their movies were unbelievably magical, and had lessons... I mean, I definitely learned stuff. *cheeky grin*
Besides, without Disney, who would we rely on for the wonderful classics or heartfelt genuine movies?
Hahahahaha... ahahahhaa... baaahaaahhhaha.
Now THAT'S a fairy tale.