Friday, August 19, 2011

Musings on the Disneyfication of the World

Well, friends, I'm not dead. And my computer isn't either. But I have had a rather eventful summer, so my reading...well it didn't really happen. I think I might have finished three books this summer. Shameful, really. So I'm trying to get back on the bandwagon. Currently, I am about halfway through three books, so, I should be able to add three more soon. Yeah!
So anyway, in the meantime I thought I might throw out some random musings about various issues. Heck, some of them might even be literary. Woo hoo.
A few months ago, I attended the ACA/PCA conference, and I had a fantastic time. One of the sessions I went to was all about Disney princesses and whether or not they are a "good" thing. I have my own thoughts on that. Indulge me here.
I am not necessarily a fan of the Disneyfication of life. Think about it. Why do we let little girls grow up with a princess mentality? I am the first to admit I am guilty of this as both of my nieces adore Disney princesses and I do nothing to discredit them. But why introduce the idea of happily ever after when sometimes it's only that--an idea. There's a reason why early Disney stories end when the princess meets the prince.  After that, life happens and things can get ugly.
Let's look at a few examples. Take Aurora (you might know her better as Sleeping Beauty). Her prince kisses her and she wakes up. Hoorah! Riiiiight. (See the original story. Not so neat and tidy there.) She marries a guy she's never met because he kissed her? What happens after she gets to know him and he's a jerk who refuses to listen to anything she has to say? Then there's Cinderella. She meets the prince like, what, once? twice? After a little dancing she just knows he's the one? Really? Come on. Snow White-see Sleeping Beauty.
I know this probably makes me seem cynical, but I'm not. I'm just trying to be a realist here rather than an idealist. I do have to give Disney credit for some of the princesses though. You know, the ones who actually spend more than ten minutes with the prince before deciding to marry him. See: Ariel, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Belle, Mulan, Rapunzel, Tiana (I'm sure I'm missing others here, too. Feel free to add to the list). They get better with time, but the mentality of "the princess has to find her prince to be happy" is still there.
The point is, at some time we have to realize life isn't a Disney movie and that's not always easy. All is not flowers and rainbows and stars and ponies. Life is work, and relationships especially so. Disney never shows the after because that's too real. Besides, who wants to see Cinderella and her prince arguing over the castle budget? You know those mice don't work for cheap.

Anyway, just a few thoughts on Disney and life in general. Feel free to chime in with any of your own ideas, friends. And until next time, happy reading!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, don't I miss you right now. :) Loved the analysis of the princess mentality, and I am equally unnerved by young girls' obsessions with Disney Princesses. It truly is the Disney marketing machine reminding little girls that they can all be princesses, which of course, makes Disney a lot of money. I know at least three families with little girls who have spent summer vacations at Disneyworld, and all those little girls come back with Princess photos and an even more starry-eyed view of womanhood. What irks me most about Disney princesses is that all the stories rely on finding the prince for a happy ending. Without the prince, it seems, there is no happy ending. This is reflected so often in our still-traditional societal views on marriage. Women are expected to ride off into the sunset (at a respectable age somewhere between 24 & 33) with our prince on his figurative white horse. In the very least, we're supposed to find that prince, and until we do, we're supposed to be unfulfilled and unhappy. And those who don't find a prince? There must be something wrong with them.

    While I haven't seen some of the most recent princess movies, I think a lot of the classics came from the 40's and 50's when the family unit was the basis of all happiness. I'm glad to see some of the more contemporary princess movies taking a slightly more cautious stance to finding the prince, but where are the movies where the princess no longer needs to find the prince to be happy?

    I don't think Disney has quite caught up to that world yet...