To be a Princess

Over time, a lot of negative things have been said about the female characters in the classic Disney fairy tale movies. The original princess, Snow White, finds her greatest worth in cooking and cleaning for seven little men. Aurora actually just sleeps until Prince Philip makes out with her, and instead of standing up to her wench of a stepmother, Cinderella passively endures abuse after abuse until her prince (does he even have a name?) sweeps her off of her slipper-losing feet.

The more modern Disney princesses have a little more spunk, and more often than not, control their own destinies. Belle wants adventure in the great wide somewhere, Merida bucks tradition and refuses to get married, and Elsa and Anna rely on their own act of true love to thaw Anna’s frozen heart. Awesome.

As a mom of two girls, and a self-proclaimed Disney-phile, I fill our house with the movies, merchandise, tiaras, and princess dresses. And while I’ve never taken much stock in the idea that these movies “train” young girls how to behave, I do wonder what, really, it is that they are learning from these movies. Because let me tell you, these girls love them some princesses. Love. And truth be told, so do I.

So a few weeks ago, I decided to ask my Mazie, aged 4, what she liked about the princesses. Is it their dresses?  Is it the castle?  Is it their beauty? If I had any misgivings about letting my girls watch (obsess over) the princesses, I don’t anymore. Here is what she said she liked about each of the princesses:

Merida – I like that she shoots bows and arrows

Rapunzel – I like her long hair and frying pan

Snow White – I like that she’s nice to the animals

Sleeping Beauty – I like the way she dances so beautifully

Mermaid – I like the way she sings

Cinderella – I like it when she makes clothes for the mice

Elsa and Anna – because they love each other

What I’m taking away from this, folks, is that my daughter is learning that it’s pretty cool to have a good talent and to be strong. She’s also learning kindness. She’s learning that people express themselves in different ways. And she is learning that sisters can also be best friends. What great lessons; critics be damned.  I guess we’ll be renewing our Disneyland Annual Passes again this year!

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