Controversy seems to surround Disney as much as their perfect, pretty princesses. Princesses who always look gorgeous, who have the ideal slim yet curvy body, and who always find their prince charming. For a children’s company that heavily appeals to young girls, Disney sure does manage to lump sum all types of girls into one narrow slot.
If an icon contributes to nuanced negativity, should it really be an icon? And furthermore, is it unfair to expect such perfectionism out of icons as large and all encompassing as Disney, even though they primarily reach America’s impressionable youth?
Let’s look at the facts. A quick Buzzfeed search sends me to an article posted April 7, 2015–yesterday. The title: “16 Terrible Love Lessons We Learned From Disney Princes.” I’m not even surprised. Disney certainly has a sordid past of promoting no sexual consent (Sleeping Beauty AND Snow White), changing yourself for the man you love (The Little Mermaid), and allowing yourself to be abused by your true love (Beauty and the Beast)… Just to name a few.
The model Walt Disney created as far back as 1923 certainly lived in a world very different from today. Only three years prior woman finally won the right to vote.
In 1937 Snow White almost gets killed then has to run away until a man saves her by kissing her while she’s unconscious. In 1942 Planned Parenthood is established.
n the 1950s Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty have to be saved by their prince charmings to live a happy life, while in 1960 the FDA finally approves birth control and in 1963 Congress passes the Equal Pay Act.
In 1989 The Little Mermaid changes herself for a man; in 1991 Belle lets the Beast be abusive. In 1992 the Supreme Court reaffirms the validity of women’s rights to abortion under Roe v. Wade. Hey, that’s when I was born!
As women have been making leaps and bounds in the real world, Disney continues to follow their outdated model of confining women to the life of princesses, in a role that is usually subservient and passive. Isn’t an icon supposed to change with the times and remain relevant? How can Disney continue perpetuating cold hard sexism to generations of impressionable little girls?
Oh yea, for this thing called money.
It certainly appears that when an icon is intertwined with making people money problems arise and morals and progress remain locked in the tower with the princess.
Too bad that intelligent little girls get the shaft.