Tag: Disney Princesses

Dangers of Disney by Sarah Klein

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.sleepingbeauty1

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 savesPrince_17 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!

sleepingbeauty1As women have been making leaps and bounds in the real world, Disney continues to follow their outdated model of confining women to the life of princesses, in a role that is usually subservient and passive.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.






The Grimm Truth by Alexandra Margaret Vene

As most people my age probably have, I grew up with Disney starting as far back as I can remember. When I was 3 or 4, my grandfather started taking me to the Disney store and I used to pick out items for my whole family. To this day, he has saved every Disney t-shirt and sweatshirt I’ve “bought” him (cute, I know). I have seen and loved almost all of the cartoon films, but as a little girl my absolute favorite were the princess movies. Surprise, surprise. Something about them was just so fascinating, and the “happily ever after” endings definitely added to the charm.cinderella 1

It was wasn’t until I was older that I realized many of the Disney princess stories are based on German fairytales dating back to 1812 and were written by brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm (Princeton press). Disney, for the most part, just used the main character and the overall theme of the original fairytales and there’s an important reason why: the real stories are not quite Disney or even child appropriate…

Let’s use Cinderella as an example. I’m sure everyone knows the basic storyline of how Cinderella secretly goes to the ball and leaves her slipper which the prince uses to find her again. The Disney version has that same idea, to say the least, but there are some intense details that are left out. We don’t get as much back story as to what happened to Cinderella’s mother. In the fairytale, her mother dies and Cinderella plants a tree on top her grave. Cinderella’s tears over the grave prompt a bird to fly down and dress her in the ballgown and gold slippers (not glass!). There is no fairy godmother business at all. And for 3 days, Cinderella went to the festival (not a ball!) and got away from the prince, except on the third day he put tar down on the steps to try and catch her (stalker status).

cinderella 2Little did the prince know, Cinderella wasn’t dumb and she ditched her shoes. To find her, the prince set out to have all the maidens in the land try on a shoe to see whom it belongs to. Because all girls wears different sizes, obviously. So far, this doesn’t sound like a story that could be a problem for Disney, but this is where shit gets a bit gruesome. In the Disney version the two evil stepsisters attempt to stuff their feet in the slipper with a fail. In the Brothers Grimm version, however, that just wasn’t enough. To make the shoe fit, the stepmother cuts a toe off one sister and the heel off the other. Obviously, this is way too gross and graphic for Disney to put in a cartoon and I can understand why they changed the story around.

So who cares? I don’t have problem with Disney changing the original stories around to make them more appropriate for kids today. It’s completely understandable. But Disney’s films and stories have become so iconic that not many people know the real stories and where they came from. Even I grew up thinking the Disney versions were the real deal. Disney stole the ideas right out from under the Grimm Brothers and since they are dead nobody seems to really care. These iconic fairytales don’t actually belong to Disney, yet it gets all of the credit for the iconicity. I think it is important to know that the people behind Disney are not as original as we give them credit to be. It’s “Grimm”, but it’s the truth.