Disney has built its Princess empire by fabricating the tales of the past and giving them a total make-over, overshadowing the true reality of our beloved princesses. Issues of cannibalism, torture, and bloody anarchy have been twisted into a so-called “happily ever after.” As time went by people began to realize the controversies that arose around Waltz Princesses. It became quite clear that not everything was about castles, handsome princes, and a magical happy ending.
The blonde haired, blue eyed timeless beauty has been a classic since its origins. Cinderella is a story of a young girl living happily with her mother and father until her mother falls ill and sadly passes away. Shortly after her mother’s death, her father remarries a cruel, coldhearted woman with two vicious daughters. After the passing of her father, she becomes a servant in her own house doing chores and catering to the needs of her evil stepmother and stepsisters. Although this is very sad and we all empathize with Cinderella, one can’t help but wonder why she didn’t work her harder to gain her freedom with the help of her Fairy Godmother? Instead, she wished to go to the ball to dance with the handsome prince. Having her Fairy Godmother magically cast her a new dress with some very fancy glass shoes she was off to the ball where she danced all night with the prince only chose her because she looked the prettiest of them all. Talk about shallow. What was most frustrating of all was message that Cinderella convened to all the young girls who looked at her as a role model, and that was her marrying the prince in order for her to be free and becoming a princess in the process just showed that having a husband can give you true happiness.
Long ago, in a far land, a King and Queen welcome their newborn child whom they longed for named Aurora. In order, for them to unite the kingdoms and keep their monarchy strong they promised to wed her to Prince Phillips when she is to come of age. This was very disturbing as many cultures approve of arranging their children to get married when they are old enough. However, the party was crashed by the evil witch Maleficent who cursed the infant princess to die on her 16th birthday. Scared the King and Queen assigned three Fairy Godmothers to protect their daughter and thanks to them Aurora would only fall into a deep sleep and not pass away. But even with all that magical protection the princess fell into a come as the sun set on her 16th birthday. If the arranged child marriage wasn’t bad enough, Disney has somehow come up with the logic that the cure for every princess-related problem is a “true loves kiss.” So, the young Prince Phillip sets out to save his betrothed princess and with a kiss, she awakes. Some argue that the kiss was not consented by the princess. But this was just a remake of the original Brother Grimm’s story. In the original book, Aurora is said to be raped in her sleep and wakes to find out she has given birth to children while she was in a coma.
Ariel a rebellious, red-haired mermaid is fascinated with life on land. Even after being forbidden by her controlling father, the King she sets off on another adventure to go to the surface, where she falls in love with a human. Desperate to be with the love of her life she goes to make a deal with the sea witch Ursula. Not only did she give up her beautiful voice for a pair of legs so she could be with a guy who doesn’t even know her. She also carelessly leaves her family behind who are worried sick and devastated. Somehow, she manages to get the guy to fall in love with her and also marries her without even saying a single word meaning he only fell in love with her looks. This sends a message to young girls that all that matters are looks and that its perfectly fine to abandon your family and your life with them to e sets go follow your husband.
Walt Disney Pictures via Giphy
The first African-American princess was introduced by Disney in 2009, is the story of an ambitious young lady who dreams of opening her own restaurant. Desperate to fulfill her goals and turn the frog back into a prince, she sets out on a journey to turn back human herself after kissing the frog! Although there were many positive reviews, the movie was based in New Orleans, a city rich in food, culture and no stranger to the practice of magic. Being home too many witches throughout history. New Orleans has a huge black community presence and there were many references to practicing Voo-Doo in the movie which rubbed some people the wrong way, many weren’t too pleased.
Alice, a 7-year-old, curious little girl falls into a rabbit-hole while sleeping, must now find her way around the magical place called Wonderland. Alice might not be your typical Disney princess but it’s quite clear why Alice in Wonderland raised so many controversies. From drug references to mental illness, it’s no wonder Alice raised so many critiques. Through-out the movie you can Alice eating magic mushrooms and shrinking from big to small showing the highs and lows of drug abuse. The Mad-Hatter seems to be having many manic episodes at once and shows signs of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. And let’s not forget the caterpillar who is always smoking from a hookah pipe. There have also been rumors about the original author being under the influence of several drugs which seems to be evident throughout the course of both the move and book.
6. Snow White
Jealous of her step daughter’s beauty the Queens orders her huntsman to take Snow White into the forest and kill her. But the Queen soon comes to find that Snow is still alive and has taken shelter in a charming cabin with seven little dwarfs. Eager to be the fairest of them all the Queen disguises herself as a hag and tracks down Snow White. Upon finding her she offers Snow an apple that poisoned and without thinking she falls into a deep sleep. Once again Disney has left it to the princes to save the day with yet another kiss. Even worse they have stereotyped women as being natural caretakers as the first thing Snow White does after finding the cabin is scrubbing and cleaning and making it look like so much fun! You’re not fooling anyone nice try. Critiques have also accused Snow White of polygamy since she is living with seven small men.
Princess Jasmine, the daughter of a Sultan who rules over the land of Agrabah, is a dark-haired Middle Eastern beauty. Although she is claimed to be of Arab descent the critiques have disagreed stating that her skin tone and features do not go in hand with that of a true Arab. According to them Arabs have a darker skin complexion and have a different nose shape for that matter. Then there is the issue of her promiscuous belly showing outfit which does not fit into the Arab culture at all. Many have raised concerns that the outfit itself seems to sexualize Middle Eastern women bring the issue of race fetish to light. Even though Princess Jasmine supposed to be portrayed as a strong woman she comes off as spoiled and very bratty, giving the word princess a bad name.
Belle a bright, independent and a delightful young lady sets out to find her father who has been held prisoner by a beast in his castle. She makes a deal with the Beast to take her father’s place. Although she’s treated quite nicely by the castle’s enchanted staff and goes on to befriends them she still, remains a prisoner. As days go by she begins to fall in love with the Beast which has raised many red flags. Critiques relate the relationship between the two as Stockholm Syndrome, where victims often fall in love with the person that is holding them captive, so that they can remain as sane as possible and not lose their grip on reality.
Disney’s second animated movie between is based on a romance between a young Native American Indian named Pocahontas and Captain John Smith, who journeys to the Native land with other settlers to start their new lives. However, some of the settlers plotted to take control of the land and seize it. This has little truth to it. In real life, Smith and Pocahontas had more of a father/daughter relationship while on the move they are shown as a romantic couple. Although the animation as a whole, deserved a round of applause the story strayed far from the truth. Many Native American Indians were angry that the true essence of their culture wasn’t shown and the reality of historical events were not correctly presented. Furthermore, they stereotyped the Natives as wild and very in tune with nature, talking to trees and animals like crazy people.
Disney princesses – Incorrect representation of women
The overall portray of Disney princesses has been questionable since day one. These princesses are obsessed with love and show interest in men. The noticeable thing is that what attracts the prince towards the princesses are their looks. The Disney princesses don’t give a positive message to the little girls. For example, if we see Snow white, she lived with 7 dwarfs under one roof. If we see their body image, they have the perfect body shape and pretty faces.
Being the empire that Disney is and having grown up around the idea of looking at Princesses as a role model, it is the responsibility of the creators to represent these characters as the positive and influential as they can be. Young girls follow the examples of these princesses and need to be shown what it really means to be a princess, that it is more than the fancy dresses and parties but that real princesses are more than just their looks. They are strong, they have responsibility and moreover, they are independent. A princess never needs saving she can handle all her problems by herself just fine.