Does a Princess Always Need a Prince?

 

           As a child I grew up, like many, surrounded by Disney princesses. The Disney princesses were first introduced in movie form, but quickly grew into a large-scale business endorsement. The main Disney princesses such as Aurora, Cinderella, Snow White, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine and Mulan appeared on all childhood products such as birthday hats, blankets, clothing, toys and even had their own figurines. Although each story varies all of the Disney princesses share a similar plot element: a man that saves the princess.  For those of you who have not see any Disney movies I will highlight the plot of a few of the famous stories. For starters we have Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty and Snow White in Snow White, who both need kisses from a man to awake them from a permanent sleeping state. Then we have beautiful Cinderella who is put to work by her evil stepmother and needs Prince Charming to save her from her future of slavery and misery. Lastly, we have Princess Ariel in the Little Mermaid whose beautiful voice is taken away so she can become a human, but Prince Eric saves the day and gets Ariel her voice back even when she is a human.

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            Evidently, all of these storylines include a man saving a woman. These are the movies that are instilled in children’s minds from a very young age. All of these stories bring to the foreground the same sexual script. A sexual script is the way one is suppose to act in relation to one’s gender. These movies represent women as having to be attractive, happy, but always in need of rescue from a male. Many of our current sexual scripts are similar to those portrayed in the Disney movies. Furthermore, Disney’s slogan is “where dreams come true.” If this is really true then can a woman’s dreams only be fulfilled if there is man in her life? What message does this send to the young audience?  Personally I believe this message is corrupt and instills the wrong values in children. Women are independent beings and should not conform to any sexual script imposed upon them.

               Disney Princess act as role models for young children and continue to be present throughout their entire lives. People who aspire to be similar to these characters are what some would call fandom. Fandom is a person with a strong interest with a particular show, book, movie, character etc. Fan viding is the most demanding form of fan engagement. There is a plethora of fan vids surrounding Disney princesses, and I have chosen one to examine. It can be found on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyrLed7Fp-s. It would be good to quickly watch the clip to understand what I am going to be talking about.

              After watching this clip the first thing that resonates with me is the fact that more than half of this video is focused on the relationship between the princess and the particular male lead. The fan that created this video and many others have pinpointed the most important part of these movies to be the relationship. This fan has taken multiple Disney movies and highlighted that in every movie there is a princess that falls in love with man. This portrays the fact that the fans feel as though the princesses, their role models, need a man in their life to be happy. This is confirmed by the fans choice of music. This fan chose the song title “Ever Ever After” by Carrie Underwood. The choice of music is very important as it tries to encompass the meaning the fan wants to get across to their audience. This song is very upbeat and happy with lyrics that delineate that fairy tale endings do come true and that you can find true loves kiss. While these lyrics are playing all the princesses are being saved by their specific prince and they are experiencing their happy ever after. This fan vid clearly shows the impact these Disney movies have on children as it makes people believe they need to find a prince to be happy. This creates a distorted image of reality as a woman can be independent and still happy.

             In addition, all the couples present are heterosexual couples. These couples act as role models to young children, therefore by having all heterosexual couples it emphasizes the stigma of compulsory heterosexuality. Due to the fact these movies are repeatedly shown throughout our childhood it creates an environment where children feel uncomfortable to truly express their sexual identity.  Not only are homosexual couples not present, but there is a large inequality of racial representation within the princesses. Out of the seven main Disney princesses, only two of them are not of the Caucasian descent; this is less than one third. This inadequately represents our multicultural population, thus introducing inequalities between the races at a very young age.

            In conclusion, these Disney movies instill bad morals  in young children as they all want to live happily ever after, but Disney creates many boundaries to achieving this as they portray one as having to be skinny, attractive and predominately Caucasian to achieve this happy ever after. Truth be told, a woman does not need a prince to be happy and this is a moral that clearly isn’t present within Disney films as reflective in the fan video presented. 

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3 thoughts on “Does a Princess Always Need a Prince?

  1. Your comment “Disney Princesses act as role models for all young children and continue to be present throughout their entire lives” reminded of an episode of “The Big Bang Theory” that I recently watched. In this episode, the main female characters, Penny, Bernadette and Amy, decide to venture off to Disney Land together. Throughout the car ride, all of these characters express their excitement to arrive at the Magic Kingdom and how they cannot wait to receive a Disney Princess make over. One of the characters, Bernadette, explains how magical it is to be able to be a Princess for a day, where you can truly feel beautiful and be able to find your Prince Charming. The rest of the female characters are in agreement with her and also believe that this Princess makeover is bound to make them appear prettier and will gain the attention of other people. This image that surrounds a Disney Princess has extended beyond the typical Disney movies and is being seen in other pop culture displays, such as in this television show.
    Evidently, the Disney Princesses do act as role models and not just for young children. In this television show episode, three grown adults are admiring and aspiring to have the life that all of the Princesses achieve throughout the Disney movies. This being, that you need a man in your life in order for it to be successful and satisfied.
    It is time for Disney to start showing how one, especially females, can feel beautiful and be successful without a man be their side. There are many other ways to live happily ever after, however, like you stated, Disney creates many boundaries that prevent females today from understanding this.

  2. Wow! I do not religiously watch Big Bang Theory, but that is one of the last shows I would’ve ever thought to succumb to the adoration of the “perfect” Disney princesses. Not only are they promoting the fact that one needs a man to be happy, but more importantly that women need to have emphasized femininity. Women have to look the part of the most feminine character, such as beauty and grace. Just like you said in the Big Bang Theory the women are excited to receive a Disney princesses make over. What does this entail? How has Disney achieved to make women feel incomplete without glitter, glam and sparkle? Now, instead of travelling all the way to Disneyland to become a “beautiful princesses,” the Disney make over will come to you! The Disney.com site launched a new phase called the Disney Princes portal. The site states, “as in the gateway to happily ever after — open 24/7. Seriously. Charge your iPads now. With engaging content to create a modern yet elegant site sure to inspire all our daughters to wear their ball gowns and clacky high heels and sky high tiaras and costume jewels and elbow gloves.” This portal allows people all over the world the be a princess 24/7, which apparently automatically leads to happily ever after… if only life was that easy. Moreover, the site states “all our daughters,” they are emphasizing the fact that only girls are allowed the be princesses, well who made them the rulers of the land to dictate who can and who cannot be princesses?

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