Read this before reading below. This is a study conducted by Brigham University saying that Disney Princesses are not “brave”enough and “force gender stereotypes” on our children. They’ve been deemed “dangerous” They also are the first exposure to the “thin” ideal. I first heard about it on Scary Mommy and then it was everywhere.
First a background on me. I am “tom boy”. I would rather climb a tree than go to a gala. (who wouldn’t right?!) I would rather learn to fix my car than learn how to do my makeup. That being said, I love Disney princesses.
Second – I am mother of boy. This boy is your typical 9 year old. Climbs trees, has scrapes and bruises all over his legs and elbows, loves video games and yes…saving the princess. He also likes movies like Tangled and Frozen.
Third – I am not in anyway debating science. I love science and I am sure there is some proof in this study. However, this is my blog, my opinion and I can say and think whatever what I want based on my experiences. (also take note that I LOVE science and math and also love Princesses)
Fourth/Fifth – I don’t normally swear in my blog, but if swearing offends you you might not want to read any further. This study really pissed me off. Also since this study is done on “Disney” princesses I am going to stick with them and not their original versions.
Saying the Disney princesses aren’t brave is just wrong. Saying they create “gender stereotypes” is wrong as well. Lets break them down shall we. Starting with the newest ones:
Elsa and Anna (Frozen) Know what the moral to this whole freaking story was? Family and love. Sisters. Not the prince (who by the way was a real douchnozzel). Sisters. When Elsa lost her shit and ran for it what did Anna do? She went after her sister. Alone. I would call that pretty brave. When the snow monster was chasing them she cut the rope sending her and what’s his face to the ground. When she was near fucking death and saw that her sister was in trouble she sacrificed her own life to save her sister. Where is that showing kids that they aren’t brave? Where is that showing any gender stereotype?
Rapunzel (Tangled) She beat a guy with a flipping frying pan because he broke into her house! Ya she needs to be more brave. Tricked that guy into taking her to see the floating lights. Saved that guy from a bunch of thugs and from drowning. Stood up to the evil stepmother when she found out what going on. Ran a country with grace and love and Flynn by her SIDE. Not in front of her or behind her but BY HER SIDE! No gender rolls in that marriage.
Tiana (Princess and the Frog) Honestly one of my favorites. She worked two jobs to buy the restaurant she wanted. Worked. She never gave up on that dream. She got turned into a frog during a moment of desperation. She was able to grow and see a different side of life she had been ignoring and accepted that she would always be a frog. She was strong willed, independent and spunky. When they turned back into human, she still worked hard and got her restaurant. That is a roll model that would be happy for my daughter to look up to. Better than half the girls on TV now a days.
Lets look at some classics shall we?
Belle (Beauty and the Beast) another favorite of mine. She loves reading! She doesn’t get caught up in the guy because he is good looking. In fact she kinda thinks he is dick. She wants adventure, wants to see the world. Wants to help her father. She traded her life for his. (brave!) She saw something in the Beast even when he couldn’t see it. (compassion!) She fell in love with him because of who he was on the inside, not for what he looked like.
Cinderella – Oh my gosh. Emotionally abused by a horrid step mother and her step sisters. Forced to do all their bidding and yet she still maintains a sunny outlook and a good heart. (gee she is rotten). All she wants is to go to the dance. All she wants is a night off. She wasn’t looking for a rescue, for love or for the prince. She just wanted to be a free for one night. When the clock struck 12 she didn’t say to the prince “Oh by the way save me from the evil step mother” No she ran away from the prince and back to her horrid life.
Pocahontas – Stands up to the white guy for coming onto her land. Shows him the value of the land, the value of nature and all the people and things in it. Tries to stop a war between her people and John’s people. Watches him leave! Stays with her family and watches him leave. I can’t think of one thing she does wrong or one thing that a person (regardless of the gender) wouldn’t want to look up to with her. Not one thing.
Jasmine (Aladdin) honestly the only reason I watch this movie is for the Genie (RIP Robin Williams) that said Jas is another strong willed, take none of your bullshit princess. Seriously she doesn’t put up with Aladdin’s crap or her dads or Jafar’s. She stands up to anyone who gets in her way. She turns away every prince that comes to call. She just wants a normal life. Again. Can’t see where she isn’t brave or how she isn’t someone who you can look up to.
Ariel (Little Mermaid) I am going to go ahead and give you this one. Ariel is dumb. Every time I watch it now and hear her say: “But daddy I love him!” I just want to ground her. That being said she did risk her life to save his. I am trying to think of redeeming qualities but ya all I got is she is nice and tried to save him.
Snow White and Sleeping Beauty I honestly haven’t seen in over 20 years. From what I remember though, even though the princes did actually save them it wasn’t because they needed it. Snow White found a way to make a life for herself with her new friends and was kind to all creatures and people despite her mother trying to kill her. (seriously she will need therapy) And Sleeping Beauty – well that was all part of the stupid curse. She was fine though from what I remember. How would any of us be if we were shut in with a couple of crazy aunts our whole lives?
There are ones I didn’t mention because I never saw the movies. (sorry I know …Merida for example I just haven’t gotten around to)
But each of these girls have their own strengths and yes, their own weakness and prove that they are their own heroes. Yes they are thin, yes they are “pretty”, and yes they do get the guy in the end. But I honestly don’t see how they can be considered dangerous. I think it is another example of people trying to use the media as an excuse for their kids behavior. It is up to us as parents to set good examples. Up to us as parents to encourage and nurture our children’s love of any subject. Up to us as parents to instill positive body images. If your child is getting their entire perception on behavior, social norms and self esteem from movies, than maybe we need to turn the TV off and be more active in their lives. Maybe we are the ones who need saving.