Saturday, February 18, 2012

Why the hate?

I've been researching ideas for Rory's 3rd birthday party today. She'll be 3 in May and I love toying around with ideas for months leading up to parties. (I love to plan parties in general, honestly.) Rory's birthday is going to be "ALL THE PRINCESSES!" this year, as she tells everyone we come in contact with. First birthday was owls, second birthday was Princess Tiana and this year is all the princesses. Great! Easy! Lots of pink and purple, fluffy stuff, glitter, some tiaras. All easy to find and fun to make.

I've been looking up cute ideas today and I am shocked by the hate I see for the Disney princesses. I am seriously flabbergasted. I don't get it. One article stated something along the lines of embedding age older gender roles and traditions in girls by allowing them to desire to be a Disney princess. The general consensus of all the hate I've come across boils down to the idea that princesses, but specifically the Disney princesses, sell themselves short for love and forgo family, friends and a fulfilling life to be a happy, royal wife.

Excuse me.

Let's talk about these princesses.

There are TEN recognized Disney Princesses. (Trust me, I'm an expert. ;))

Mulan. Chose to take her father's place in the army, trained herself in the ways of war, fought valiantly for her country and didn't want any recognition for her deeds. Wow. What a doormat.

Jasmine. Stood against the marriage law that was forcing her father to chose a husband FOR her and instead set out to find someone of her own choosing.

Cinderella. Dutifully worked in her own home, even though it was unfair and unjust.

Snow White. Yeah, okay. She is kinda lame.

Belle: Took her father's punishment for him, forsaking her own freedom, and learned to appreciate the man behind the beast.

Pocahontas: Bridge the racial barrier and befriended a "white man"

Tiana: Worked her way from having nothing to having enough to buy her own restaurant. Worked 3 jobs to achieve her dreams and didn't allow herself to be distracted.

Rapunzel: (Tangled) Sacrificed her "magic hair" for her true love without hesitation.

Sleeping Beauty: Also kind of lame. If the hate was based on just Snow White and Sleeping Beauty...yeah, they might be right on.

Ariel: Desired to see the world, explore and discover things that were new to her and out of the rest of her family's comfort zone.

8 out of 10 of these female characters are strong, intelligent, hard working women who set goals and achieve them. Sure, these are fairy tales and there's always a love story, but isn't that life? Don't we all want to fall in love with our one true love? Who doesn't want that? The journey along the way is what writes our story. I have no problem with Rory watching and loving the Princesses. I would hope she would have Mulan's courage, Jasmine's desire to stand up for what's right, Cinderella and Tiana's work ethic, Rapunzel's selflessness and Ariel's adventuresome spirit. Those are some pretty qualities and if a movie sparks one in her, hey she's better off for it.

Edit! (Thanks to Micha for inspiring this edit! :)) I need to make my point clear (and this is what I get for trying to write a blog with 2 toddlers awake! ;)) There are some qualities and situations in these movies and within these princesses story lines that of course I don't want Rory to fantasize. Naturally, I wouldn't want her hanging out with a violent man, like the Beast, or smacking someone in the face with a frying pan like Rapnuzel. I'm merely pointing out that the good qualities in the princesses out weight the bad. I use the stuff I don't like as talking points with Rory, just like I do with every song, story, book, movie or tv show she watches or is exposed to. Trust me, the talks we've had about how creepy Yo Gabba Gabba is or why the Bubble Guppies have tails not legs...sigh. I'm pretty good at the "Now Rory you know..." talks. ;)

I will however draw the line at Rory wanting to move in with 7 small men and fall asleep until a Prince kisses her. That, my friends, is really creepy when you think about it.


Neely said...

I take a line from How I met your mother regarding Snow White:

"Doc is creepy, he has a medical degree why is he living with 6 coal miners?!"

But this may be one of my favorite blog posts ever

Micah said...

You make some very good points, but there are also some aspects of each princess that alarm me a bit.

Belle - Yes, she learned to appreciate someone beyond their looks. But he was also quite violent. Is that supposed to be OK?

Ariel - She had to change a huge part of herself (getting legs) for the Prince to love her. Not sure that's a good message.

I get what you're saying, but I can also see why the Disney princesses are viewed negatively.

That said, I'm anxious to see the new Pixar film, "Brave," in which a female is doing the saving not expecting a prince to save her.

Natalie said...

Why is so wrong for a woman that WANTS to be a good wife? Why is that viewed as a step-down in women's rights?

Love this post :)

Jessica said...

I love this!!! My daughter has pretty much everything Disney princess. We have never tried to sway her against it. I agree with everything you've said!!!

Emily said...

This is awesome & so true! I grew up with the Princesses & turned out to still be a strong smart woman. People need to stop reading so much into things... Disney Princesses are amazing!!

Regina of Live Delightfully said...

As a self-proclaimed Disney freak and lover of Disney Princesses, I completely agree with and love your post!! Even so, haters still gonna hate. haha. But whatever, other people's opinions are just opinions, doesn't mean they are facts for me.

Laura said...

I think people like to pick on the princesses because they are feminine... and well... don't we all know now that that is not a good thing? For females to actually be feminine and want to be rescued by a man who deeply falls in love with us!? (sarcasm for sure.)

Sure, we don't want our kids hitting each other with frying pans. But we can look at every. single. character out there and find something disagreeable.

Hooray for princesses! And the thing with Belle... she wasn't just "hanging out" with a bad man. She was serving her father's punishment as you said. Anyways... people just like to have something to talk about so why not decide to hate the princesses right.

Unknown said...

I agree with Natalie - what is so wrong with wanting to be a good wife? But these are some pretty awesome chicks. YAY for Disney princesses!!