Thursday, August 25, 2011
Why do people attack the Disney Princesses?
Ok, I''m currently in a Children's Literature class and the theme in most of these classes. The theme is to bash Disney, and Disney Princesses usually. Now, to be fair, these characters are fiction, and they live in fantasy worlds. As far as I know, the Disney Princesses are characters that influence young girls by being good role models and iconic representatives of their fairy tales. I know that the media is often blamed for people making bad choices, but Disney especially seems to get the most negative attention. I rarely hear people bash Dream Works or Nickolodeon for their characters. So just for fun, I decided to go through each Princess, and explain what they represented to me.
Snow White- I know that this character in particular is considered very passive and weak. Looking back on the movie, I would agree that Snow White runs from scary trees, faints and becomes very easily scared. Now I will bring in her situation: Evil Stepmother, hardly any social interaction with people, and mostly alone. As a character with these situations, Snow White seems to be believable. She is very innocent and naive because she has hardly seen the world, and actually has a talent for adapting to her surroundings. She may not be a feminist, but Snow White has a good heart, kind personality and a knack for adapting to situations. I believe she (considering her as a simple character) is a good role model for girls.
Cinderella- I actually haven't heard this character get bashed in a while. In fact, Cinderella seems to be the favorite Disney Princess of our society. The Cinderella story is done many times, with different characters, and is still a guideline for some of today's action films. The only complaint that I have heard about Cinderella, is that she doesn't stand up for herself. Well, in a way, she does. One, she ignores many of the insults thrown at her, continues to work hard, and she has a kind nature. Also, she stands up to Lucifer, the cat, several times, making it clear that she's in charge. She also has an optimistic personailty, which is better than a pessimistic one.
Aurora (Sleeping Beauty)- The only negative criticism I hear about this character is her lack of knowledge about pointy things. Well, to be honest, she probably never heard of a Spinning wheel because they were banned and the king and queen wanted to avoid Malificent's Prophecy, so of course they didn't tell her. Aurora has many qualities in her personality. She is kind, of course, curious (which can lead to knowledge) and seems comfortable with a simple life. (She isn't selfish).
Pocahontas- This is probably the most underrated character in the Disney Princess line. In fact I have a friend who told me this is her favorite movie :) Anyway, Pocahontas is one of the strongest women characters in the Disney line. She is very confident, smart and she loves to have fun. She is more social than the previous three, but she also has an intelligent side that brings the English and Native Americans together. This movie may not be exactly like the historical story, but no one can say Pocahontas is a weak character.
Ariel- The story of The Little Mermaid itself has been debated over as a good or bad story to tell children. I'll stick to Ariel for this blog. So this princess is one of the most popular for many reasons; her appearance, her voice and her personality. Ariel is an adventurous, social, persistent, creative and curious character. She is also active in the sense that she tries to understand the world in her way, rather than accept what she has been told. The complaint of her rebellion can be understandable, but her age plays a big role in her story. She is sixteen, a teenager. That can sum up a lot of her actions. Still, she has the motivation to achieve her dreams, which is another characteristic for role models.
Belle- My favorite, and one of the most liberating characters in the Disney Princess line, Belle shows a very strong personality for her generation. She stands up to Gaston for one, and the Beast for another. She is portrayed as an avid reader (smart), curious dreamer (adventurous) and a loyal daughter. She also shows a sophisticated response to Gaston's harassment. She is kind, and seems comfortable around people. Belle is also able to adapt to her surroundings and she seems confident with herself. These are very interesting characteristics and good qualities in a role model.
Jasmine- This Disney princess is ahead of her time ( in her own story). She wants to marry for love, and makes it happen. She also doesn't care about status or money. Similar to Ariel, she has a bit of a rebellious streak, but not enough that it becomes a problem. This desire becomes an action to change a palace law. She also stands up to Jafar and stands up for Aladdin twice. She is a courageous, stubborn, resourceful, and compassionate.
Mulan- Clearly Mulan is strong. She takes up her father's sword and armor, goes to war and even while everyone knows she is a woman, defeats Shan Yu. She is smart, persistent, strong, courageous, resourceful, competitive and loyal. Mulan is absolutely a good role model for girls and shows that the impossible is possible (in terms of gender roles).
Tiana- A very strong character, Tiana shows the values of working towards your dreams and valuing life. She is passionate, persistent, friendly, goal oriented, loyal, independent and responsible. These are excellent qualities for a girl to look up to. Completely the opposite of a damsel in distress, Tiana shows a successful story arc to achieving a goal. She knows that it is important to take action in order to get what you want in life.
Rapunzel- Rapunzel is the artistic soul in the Disney Princess line. She is naive in the beginning, but learns quickly. She also has a goal to motivate her, and learns to stand up for herself and perceive the world around her. She is creative, playful, charismatic, brave, talented, productive, and loyal.
So those are the princesses so far. I think these characters were created to modernize fairy tales and serve as role models for young girls. So I really don't understand why these characters get put down by college professors and used as negative examples in college discussions.