Like many kids, I grew up watching Disney movies. And loving them. I remember recently telling my students that my favorite Disney movies as a kid were the years from Little Mermaid to Beauty & the Beast to Aladdin to Lion King; and then one of my students said, “Those are all ancient classics! They came out before we were born!” Ugh. Thanks for the reminder of my age, kiddo.
Anyway, now that I’m older, I can still say that Aladdin is my favorite Disney movie, but I have a little bit more perspective on these princesses. Belle and Jasmine? Pretty good, overall. Belle is smart, independent, courageous; Jasmine rejects rich cocky suitors and wants to live among the common people. All admirable qualities. Ariel, however, is horrible: spoiled, selfish, materialistic, ungrateful, and superficial—wants to leave her loving father and home for some cute guy she sees “out there,” and throws a tantrum and makes a Faustian deal when she doesn’t get what she wants. Yikes.
Yet, princesses in general are, I think, a bad idea. Because a princess is special. One-in-a-million. And do the math: not every girl out there can be special and one-in-a-million. To make every girl think she is the Special One is a lie that is fabricated by Walt Disney and others like him. How should people view themselves, then? Rather than try to explicate this myself, see the following excerpt by Laura Robinson, “Choosing Priest instead of Princess” in Mutuality, Spring 2011: