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Sunday, January 8, 2017

I'm A Girly Girl, Raised On A Healthy Diet Of Disney Princesses - And I'm Not Sorry

As we're entering the realm of kids' movies with Aidan, I've been thinking more and more about how Disney characters (especially princesses, in my case) affect the people we grow up to be.
I was one of those little girls with all the obnoxious pink stuff.
I also went through a rather unfortunate boy-crazy phase.  Or two.
I love(d) anything that sparkles.  A couple months ago I went online shopping with my mom, and one of the items I got was a great, simple black tee - with sequined shoulders.  I can't help it.  I love simple, uncluttered lines.  But I also love things that sparkle.
When I was very little, my consequence for being disobedient was having to wear pants to church - instead of a dress.

Disney princesses fit my personality like the glass slipper fit Cinderella's foot.

I loved the classics, especially Sleeping Beauty.  Being a 90's baby, of course I also loved The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast.  Because I refuse to grow up, I also love Mulan, Pocahontas Tangled, Brave and Frozen.  And don't even get me STARTED on Moana.

Then, I came across an article entitled A Feminist Ranking of All the Disney Princesses.  And while I don't necessarily disagree with the article's views, I was sad to see that my sweet Aurora was at the bottom of the list.  Yes, she spent most of the movie sleeping.  Yes, she married a dude she met once in the forest and then kissed her.  But is she really such a bad role-model for little girls?

Around the same time, I saw this, "Dream Big, Princess" commercial on Disney Channel, and I kid you not, I started to tear up.

No doubt, if I had a daughter, I would encourage her to be brave and confident like Merida, Mulan and Moana (maybe I just need to name her something that starts with "M").  But you know what?  I would also encourage her to be sweet like Snow White, and even graceful like Aurora.  (If she gets any of my genes, she'll need help in the klutz-department.)

I am glad that the message that princesses portray has changed.  I'm glad we have princesses without love interests.  But I also like when there is one.  Because love is something we all long for at some point in our life.  I am glad the princes actually have names now, and personalities.  Or aren't princes at all.

Recently I was talking to a friend, and told her that I really like Anna in Frozen, and wish she'd been around when I was little.  I totally identify with her clumsy, naive, chocolate-loving personality.  My friend said she preferred Elsa, because Anna wanted to marry a guy she'd just met.  That got me thinking.  And you know what?  I still like Anna better.  And I'll tell you why.  Because to me Anna represents a transition a lot of us go through.  Or at least I did.

At first Anna falls in love with prince Hans "of the southern isles", and immediately wants to marry him.  Later she meets Kristoff, and he points out how ridiculous her wanting to marry a total stranger is, and of course in true Disney fashion they end up falling in love.  

I certainly went through the teenager crush phase, where I felt like this guy was TOTALLY the one.  But then we grow up, and learn that that's not how true love works.  You have to take the time to get to know someone, and preferably find out their quirks before you commit to living with them every day of your life.

I am glad Disney princesses have evolved.  I am glad that if and when we have a daughter there are so many more strong, brave, even quirky role models to look up to.

But, if she wants to go skipping through a meadow picking flowers, wearing pink from head-to-toe with a tiara, I'm not going to stop her.  I may try to nip the boy-craze in the bud, because that really isn't necessary, nor probably healthy.  But if she does develop a crush, and I hear her humming "Someday My Prince Will Come", I will probably smile and join in.

So, what is this princess-rambling about?  I don't know.  Too much time on my hands?  Watching too many princess movies?  Maybe.  Probably.  But, I just wanted to say, that I'm a princess-loving-girly-girl, with unrealistic hair expectations, and that's okay.  And I'm not sorry.

Dream big, princess.

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