Monday, November 26, 2012

What Disney Taught Me About Love

1. Heterosexual relationships are the only "real" ones
2. Man = savior, Woman = Damsel in distress
3. Princes and Princesses always end up together (their stories are more important)
4. Love is for people who are attractive 
5. Marriage = Happily Ever After (divorce and marital problems don't exist in Disney Land)

Don't get me wrong, I love Disney movies and they made up a huge part of my childhood. But they're also mainly written by a bunch of middle-aged white guys who copyrighted stories that they didn't even come up with in the first place. Hello, does anyone remember the Grimm Brothers? Or Hans Christian Anderson? Anyway, what follows is a break down of all the Disney Princesses and the misogynistic stereotypes that they conform to.

Snow White (1937)
Appearance: thin, petite, beautiful, virginal, pale-skin.
Talents: singing, cleaning, cooking, good with "little people" (hinting that she'd be a good nurterer or mother), friendly towards animals.
Hobbies: baking pies, cleaning, singing, taking care of seven little men
Enemy: The "Evil" Queen - an independent and strong ruler who happens to be a female, as well as a widow/single "step" mother, therefore she must be an evil witch who tries to poison her only child. Note: vanity is her major motive for murder.
Love Life: A handsome prince (Prince Charming) who lives in a castle, sings, rides a horse, and apparently has a fetish for comatose chicks. Even though the dwarfs technically save the day, the Prince is the one who gets the girl and whisks her off her feet to his castle.

Cinderella (1950)
Appearance: thin, attractive, pale skin, blonde, youthful
Talents: singing, cleaning, and possibly dress making (though her mice friends do all the hard labor)
Hobbies: Cleaning, Cooking, Taking care of her Step mom and Step Sisters, Talking to mice, and Designing clothes
Enemy: Lucifer the cat from Hell, Her bitchy jealous step sisters who have extremely large feet compared to Cinderella's (apparently the men of Disney hold the same beliefs about feet that China men used to have). The implication is that Cinderella's step mom is an old bitch whose bitter because she doesn't have a husband, so her only purpose in life is to make her step daughter miserable. Rather than be praised for being a single parent with three daughters to raise, she is made out to be nothing more than a greedy, abusive, biotch with two ugly, untalented, spoiled daughters.
Love Life: Prince Charming - he's attractive, rich, and knows how to ballroom dance. He can pick any girl out of the Kingdom. But he picks Cinderella because she's beautiful and just happens to make it to the ball in time. He also apparently has a fetish for women with tiny feet because he refuses to marry anyone who won't fit into that glass slipper. He doesn't even recognize Cinderella when she's in her rags, that's how vain he is. In the end Cinderella just "fits" the part, so they get married and go off to his castle to live Happily Ever After with his servants and his Dad. (There are a lot of single parents in Disney movies apparently). Oh, by the way- Prince Charming probably would never have even noticed Cinderella if she hadn't met her Fairy Godmother that night who used magic to get Cinderella noticed.

Sleeping Beauty (1959)
Appearance: Thin, Beautiful, Pale skinned and Blonde 
Talents: Singing, Dancing, Talking to forest creatures
Hobbies: Hanging out in the forest with the animals, Collecting nuts and berries
Enemy: Maleficent - an independent and strong female, who apparently hates Aurora because she wasn't invited to the newborn's birthday party. Thus, she is an evil fairy/witch (also a dragon) who puts a sleeping curse on the Princess and the rest of the Kingdom which will take affect when Aurora is about 16 or 18 years old.
Love Life: A handsome prince, betrothed to her since birth. He sings, rides a horse, and wields a sword. Stefan is the one that kills the dragon, chops down the thorns, and wakes up Aurora (because of "True Love's Kiss") thereby saving the kingdom. They live Happily Ever After in either of their two castles (also keeping the wealth in the family, God help them if Stefan had actually been just a poor boy in the woods).

Ariel (1989)
Appearance: Thin, Beautiful, Pale skin, and a Red Head (originally Disney was going to make her a blonde though)...and as a side note: almost all of the Disney Princesses have flawless skin: no freckles, scars, or acne for these adolescent beauty queens.
Talents: Singing, Swimming, Decorating her grotto
Hobbies: Collecting things, People watching, and Performing concerts with her sisters 
Enemy: Ursula - she used to work at the palace but then got cast out for some reason, so she started collecting souls from her "bargains". Now she's just a fat lady (an octopus because mermaids can't be evil) and she is also known as the "Sea Witch". The only men in her life are her two eels, otherwise  she is pretty much evil and nobody likes her until she becomes beautiful and tricks them into thinking she is Vanessa (with Ariel's voice). Apparently in Disney Movies, all single middle-aged women are evil witches and their powers are used for evil rather than good. Ursula is ultimately defeated when Eric stabs her with a broken piece of the boat, right in her fat gut.
Love Life: Ariel = Sea Princess and she falls for Eric = a Prince she just happens to see on a boat one night. He's strong, attractive, and knows how to sail a ship. He's also heroic since he risks his life to save the life of his dog Max. But, he still lives in a gigantic castle with all the money to himself (since he's an orphan) and he's got servants and a chef to take care of him. He falls for Ariel because she's beautiful and saves him, but mostly because he likes the way she sings. He's too stupid to recognize her once she loses her voice. Either way, I didn't see him complaining when Ariel couldn't talk - stereotypical man wishing a woman would stop talking. In the end Ariel gives up her fish tail so she can have a vagina and legs and be with a "real" man. And the prince and princess live happily ever after (they get married). Oh, and did I mention she leaves her entire family and friends (also, her species in general) to be with a man she just met?

Belle (1991)
Appearance: Thin, Beautiful, Pale Skin
Talents: Singing, Reading, Scaring the Town's people with her "peculiar" behavior
Hobbies: Taking care of her crazy father, Avoiding the "hottest" guy in the Village
Enemy: The "hottest" guy in the village who wants the one girl that he can't have gets a crowd of Villagers together to come destroy the Beast. Apparently Gaston didn't want to settle for just any of the village whores, he wanted the one conservative chick in town. He also tries to justify why he should be with Belle: he's strong, hairy, and beautiful people should just be with other beautiful people.
Love Life: A handsome prince, who vainly pissed off a witch, is turned into a big hairy "Beast". Living in a dusty old castle by himself, he selfishly threatens Belle and her Father before locking her up in a dungeon. A majority of the time he is also super angry, and has no manners. But Belle is just such an awesome woman that she teaches the Beast how to be a man again. Although Belle definitely gets points for NOT being a coward (since she takes her Papa's place), instead of falling in love with someone who is poor or homely looking, she apparently has a fetish for big hulking beasts who wear human clothes and treats her like shit. Belle either has Stockholm syndrome, a beastiality fetish, or she just really enjoys abusive relationships. Oh, by the way he lives in a fucking castle and has servants.  *Spoiler* - he's actually a wealthy white dude (Adam), semi-attractive, under all that fur.


Jasmine (1992)
Appearance: Thin, Beautiful, Lightly-tanned skin (although supposedly Arabian)
Talents: Singing, Meeting with potential husbands
Hobbies: Playing with her pet tiger, Wearing revealing outfits, and Talking to birds/fish in her backyard
Enemy: Jafar and his talking bird. Jafar = a sorcerer who wants the pretty girl and all the money that Jasmine and her father have. Like Belle, Jasmine does not have a mom. Only an extremely childish father who wants to marry her off - regardless of whether or not she loves her potential husband. In the end, Jasmine distracts Jafar with her sexuality (she's in a sexy red outfit basically throwing herself at him - she even twirls his beard). Thanks Disney for teaching all little girls that they can use their bodies and beauty to get what they want from men.
Love Life: Aladdin might be a "street rat" but he's handsome, built well, gives to the poor, and he's got a pet monkey. He also just happens to have a magic lamp with a Genie in it. And even though he's dirt poor he still pretends to be a prince for most of the movie. Oh, not to mention that he's got his own magic carpet! Fuck the camels, he'll woo you in flight. In the end Aladdin goes to live at the palace with Jasmine and her Sultan father, Jasmine would never be allowed to rule alone as a woman - she "must be married to a prince". Also, even though the wedding isn't at the end of the movie it IS included in one of the sequels. And as a last bit of ranting, many women in the middle-east are very conservative and wouldn't be caught dead bearing their midrifs and showing off their hair.

Tiana (2009)
Appearance: Thin, Beautiful, Lightly Tanned skin (though she is often referred to as the "Token Black Princess")
Talents: Singing, Dancing, and Cooking
Hobbies: Cooking, Cleaning, Being a Maid, and dreaming about having her own restaurant.
Enemy: Voodoo Magician that turned the Prince into a Frog and then took his place. Not only is Tiana not a princess - Belle wasn't a princess at first either - (when she kisses the frog she turns into a frog too), AND she has no money. Even though she's the first and only black Disney Princess, she spends most of the movie as a green frog - so we're not even really seeing her.
Love Life: Prince Naveen - a frog that Tiana falls in love with while she is a frog. Even though he's rich and handsome he's also NOT a white man (or tan/light like Aladdin). Apparently Disney writers don't think a black girl can be with a white man, so Tiana's prince is also a man of color (I don't remember if he was Indian or Middle Eastern though because he was a frog most of the movie). By the way, the spell is only broken when the two frogs marry each other. Why do the non-white Prince and Princess have to be frogs? So Tiana, like Cinderella and Belle starts off as a non-Princess who marries into wealth, a castle, and Happily Ever After.

*Other non-white Disney Princesses that everyone ignores are Mulan and Pochahauntus. I'll write about them sometime in the future, as well as some other Disney women like Esmerelda.

Rapunzel (2010)
Appearance: Thin, Beautiful, Pale, Blonde, Youthful
Talents: Singing, Dancing, Reading, Sewing, Cleaning, Cooking, Painting, Chess, Guitar, Candle making, etc.
Hobbies: Hanging out with her pet chameleon and her fake mother, Waiting in her tower, Watching out her window, and repeating the same tasks everyday
Enemy: Mother Gothel - who steals baby Rapunzel out of her crib because Rapunzel's hair is magical and gives Gothel eternal youth. Not only is Gothel an independent woman, she dabbles with magic and is an old ugly hag. Only by keeping Rapunzel with her for like 18 years can she stay thin and young and beautiful. It's Rapunzel's hair that makes all of this happen. If she cuts her lovely blonde locks they become useless and brown.
Love Life: Flynn Rider - a thief (kind of like Aladdin, except he doesn't give to the poor) and an orphan, he finds Rapunzel's tower after stealing from her real parents (the King and Queen). Though a typical damsel in distress, at least Rapunzel tries to defend herself by utilizing a cooking pan as a weapon (just like a woman to pick something from the kitchen though right? It couldn't have been a sword or anything). Even though it takes a long adventurous journey for Flynn and Rapunzel to fall for each other, in the end he dies to save her and she then saves him with her magic. Rapunzel also returns to the palace where all of her money (and parents) are waiting for her. And even though the movie doesn't end with a wedding, it hints at one in the future. Disney also went on to make the short film Tangled Ever After which shows the two getting married and obviously marriage = Happily Ever After in the world of Disney. So even though Flynn didn't start off as a prince he became one in the end and he got what he wished for - a bunch of money and a beautiful bride.   

And that, my friends, is all I'm going to say for now. I'll follow up later with another post about some other Disney characters and maybe some non-Disney characters as well. Oh, and if you're still not sold on the whole Disney theme of Happily Ever After = Marriage, just google all the Wedding Dress lines that have been based on the Disney Princesses.

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