Film, Opinion, Parenting, Society

Disney Princesses – Not All Bad…

Confession: sometimes I quite like Disney.

I am totally on board with the “Pink Stinks” campaign. As the mother of a son and a daughter I have tried to select toys that are gender neutral. It hasn’t stopped my son from being car/train/plane mad and hating pink and dolls. However he loves baking and cleaning so I think I am doing a pretty good job. Besides, my nieces were all car/train/plane mad when they were my son’s age! I have been known to dress my son in pink (until he decided pink was for girls – I blame his nursery friends!) and rarely buy clothes in that colour for my daughter.

Belle from Beauty and the Beast with a bookBut I must confess I rather like Disney. Not all Disney. I hate the Princessy stuff that implies you have to be beautiful and get a man to be happy – yes Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, I am talking about you! However I am not ready to dismiss them all. I love Belle(Beauty and the Beast), her love of books and her ability to look beyond the surface to see a man she could connect to on both an intellectual and emotional level.  I am also a big fan of kick-ass Princess Fiona from the Shrek movies and that she chose to remain fat and ugly because to her beauty did not equate to happiness.

There are other good female role models to be found if you squint. Mulan was pretty brave going off instead of her father into war. I have recently introduced my son to Sinbad as well, Eris maybe a bad guy but she is female, strong and articulate. She also knows when to make a tactical withdrawal without losing face. Marina isn’t even a princess – she is an ambassador, presumably on her own merits. She consistently demonstrates strength, ingenuity, compassion and wit, all admirable traits in any person. She follows her heart in the end, leaving her fiance the noble prince (who Princess Fiona from Shrektakes it in good stride) to go with Sinbad – but she does it on her own terms and her need to pursue a different path to what was laid out for her. The only time she needed rescuing was because she had been distracted by the need to rescue someone one else!

These are the sort of Disney Princesses I want to capture the imagination of  both my son and my daughter. I want them both to appreciate that although men and women are different, they are equal and have their own strengths and weaknesses

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About madreleche

Mother of 2, married to a Sales Manager. Breastfeeding peer supporter, interested in environmental issues. Breastfeeding, cloth nappying, occasional baby wearing mama who believes in benign neglect but doesn't believe in cry-it-out. I spent 10 years working in waste management, specifically with hazardous chemical waste. Fan of science fiction, Star Trek, Battlestar Galatica, anything by Joss Whedon. Very odd. Has written poetry but not attempted to publish. Will not admit to writing fan fiction. Oh no, that wasn't me.

Discussion

4 thoughts on “Disney Princesses – Not All Bad…

  1. For the record, Jasmine is a pretty awful role model, but an epic belter.

    Posted by stuartjamesbox | December 31, 2011, 2:10 pm
  2. Ha ha, my daughter got a Barbie doll for christmas (as she requested a Purple Dolly) but to be honest, she didn’t give a monkey about it really, cause was much more bothered by this huge remote control car her dad has got;) Christmas Day they both went to the park to play with this 40cm long car;) Daddy’s girl;)

    Posted by vanillapiephotography | December 31, 2011, 7:53 pm
  3. Do you not think that the early Disney films are “of their time”? If you put them in context then they stand up as classic cinema, possibly what we should celebrat them as.

    Posted by Colin | January 2, 2012, 12:41 pm
    • Absolutely. I love Jane Austen, on the surface rather anti-feminist in that all the women are there to get married but when examined in the context of the times she lived, are actually very progressive and modern, with strong female characters.

      Posted by madreleche | January 3, 2012, 9:14 pm

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