Disney princesses as role models pt 1

OK I’m just so totally over the argument that Elsa is the best Disney Princess role model ever.  I’m not saying she may not be a good role model, nope I haven’t seen the movie yet I have a 10 yr old boy who only saw it when his 6 yr old female cousin came to visit and it’s her favorite movie so he picked it up at the library for her.  (yep I was proud of him because before that he had flat out said he did NOT want to see it, and when it comes up now on the TV movie channels he groans and says NO, LOL).

 

I recently saw a video someone made of a rap battle between Snow White and Elsa, really came down to who’s the better role model.  UGH!  First of all can we accept that life was different when Snow White was made.  Comparing SW and Elsa is not fair.  Yes SW cleaned house and cooked for the seven dwarves but as I recall from watching it she didn’t let them get away with making a mess, she made them clean up before eating, so while she was the homemaker she was in charge.  Ok eating the apple from the old woman/witch was dumb, but hey there’s a moral (what a strange idea a story with a message) don’t take food from strangers.  Wow *sarcasm accompanied by rolleyes*  You know what for 1937 when the film was released SW telling the 7 dwarves what to do was a big thing.  So what if Prince Charming kissed her and woke her up, yes he rescued her, sometimes women are rescued by men.  No kids don’t have to take it that that’s the way it should happen, and really is that what you think your average 5 yr old thinks when she sees the movie?

 

Shall we take a look at the other Disney princesses?  Where shall we start?  Let’s go chronologically:

 

Cinderella (1950) – Ok so her goal was to go to the ball and meet the prince, but is this a bad thing?  Even today there are many girls and women who are looking for their partner.  She uses whatever time she can to make her dress essentially standing up to her “wicked” stepmother to get what she wants.  When it doesn’t work out she takes the chance her fairy godmother gives her to go to the ball.  Um hello YOLO???  So is she such a bad role model?

 

Aurora/ Sleeping Beauty (1959) – While this was always my favorite movie growing up (I used to be able to recite it word for word) I have to admit Aurora is not a princess I would want my nieces to aspire to be.  While she finds love and fights at first to meet him she gives in and goes along with the fairies to meet her parents.  Who knows maybe she would have later fought her parents until she realized Prince Phillip was her charming stranger.  Then again this isn’t a bad picture of what girls were supposed to do in the late 50s.  It might be a good lesson in how times have changed.

 

Ariel (1989) – Ariel is fascinated with human life so honestly it’s not a big surprise that when she falls for a human prince she wants to become human herself.  Being willing to give up something so precious to herself as her voice is huge.  She tries all she can to catch Eric’s attention.  Maybe not what some people think is a good example for girls as you should be loved for who you are.  However there comes a time in any good relationship where the give and take shifts more to one side.  Use this as an object lesson, put something else in place of Prince Eric to show that sometimes we give up things that mean a lot to us to accomplish or find things that mean even more.  Not such a bad lesson is it?  Then there is the fact that her friends try so hard to help her.  True friends are always there for you even if they don’t necessarily agree with what you’re trying to do.  Another good lesson, so maybe we don’t look to Ariel as a role model maybe we look to her movie for the morals it shares.

 

Belle/Beauty (1991) – Belle is smart!  Belle reads books!  Belle doesn’t care that others look down at her for being smart and a bookworm!  I LOVE Belle!  From the first time they show her eagerly going to the bookstore and picking up a book she’s read before to reread I identified with her.  She refuses the attention of Gaston, the misogynist, and doesn’t care that others think that’s a bad idea.  She cares deeply for her father.  When the townspeople decide to do the pitchfork and torch mob thing she stands up for the Beast.  She tries to save him.  This is a strong woman!  Is she not a good role model?  Yes the argument can be made that she suffers from Stockholm syndrome, or maybe we can argue that she has reached out to someone clearly in emotional need and connected with that person.  We see people like this all the time in life, I know that I see them in the classroom every day.  Someone has to be the one to reach out to those kids, those people in life.  Belle is an example of that.  She ends up with a dear friend, nope not such a bad thing.

 

Jasmine (1992) – Oh yeah another princess I love.  She stands up to her father, refuses to marry just because she’s supposed to, she wants to marry for love.  She steals away and goes out into the kingdom, a risky idea as she’s never been out of the castle.  When Aladdin is taken she goes to Jafar and demands his release.  When “Prince Ali” makes his appearance she again stands up for herself, angry at being treated more as a possession than a woman with her own mind.  At the end when Jafar has become Sultan and has everyone captured, she tricks him to help to help Aladdin beat him.  Let’s face it Al couldn’t have done it without her.  Again I ask is she not a good role model?

Ok I think that’s enough for one day, I’ll cover the rest of the Princesses another day.

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