Monday, March 12, 2012

Disney Princesses Revisited

I've watched just about every Disney movie with my daughter, especially the Princess ones. *Disclaimer: we have not sat through Pocahontas, as Little Olive is terrified of the talking willow tree.* Those Princesses receive a lot of criticism from the modern feminists because they often play the role of the damsel in distress. Sleeping Beauty probably is the worst in my book. The movie is named after her, yet she's asleep for 80% of it. Belle seems to be everyone's favorite, but I have major beef with her. Mostly because she sounds like she's crying/frantic/gasping for breath no matter what mood she's in or what she's saying. I do have another post to write about Mulan and Belle, though, so stay tuned for that.

I have to say, my favorite Disney princess is Cinderella. There are pros and cons, so hear me out:

The whole story was trouble from the beginning. Cinderella's father should have known from the first time he looked at Lady Tremaine that something was wrong. Clearly, the man was rich, and knew a thing or two about life insurance. Lady Tremaine was totally after his money. Little gold digger. Even if she and her two daughters were a thousand times nicer in front of him than they were when peering creepily from the parlor window, it wouldn't have been enough. Bad move on Father's part.

But despite it all, she turns out great! Cinderella's personality is so precious. She's optimistic, genuine, efficient, and has a great sense of humor. She even argues in defense of Lucifer. That's true kindness. She has just the right amount of spunk and creativity to make her dreary situation pleasant. Plus, she makes washing the floors look absolutely beautiful. That's one of my favorite parts.

One of Cinderella's weak areas is her honesty. I know, right? How can I say that? Well, listen. I don't often encourage sneakiness and rebellion, but if she wanted to go to the ball so badly, what possessed her to ask permission? Did she really think the stepmother would say, "Why, sure. Go work on your dress all day and meet us down here at 7pm."

No, instead they worked her ragged all day and were ready to flounce out the door when Cinderella makes her second silly move: flying down the stairs looking like a 1800s runway model. Darling, if your stepmother went out of her way to make sure you didn't have a chance to go to the ball, is she really going to back down now? Have you learned nothing these past 14+ years.

We all know how the rest of the story goes: dress is torn apart by screaming stepsisters, and Cinderella cries in the garden. Then comes along the plump fairy godmother who gives her a dress that is 10x uglier than the pink one. And that's when Cinderella really loses it. That's when she stops being my favorite Disney Princess. If you walked into a huge ballroom and saw masses of people standing around, wouldn't you go join them? Or would you wander aimlessly in a dark corner with your hands in the air, not quite sure what to make of a pillar in front of you? Then the prince notices her and her ugly dress and the headband that hides her ears, and they dance for what seems like a very long time.

Oh, they walk the gardens, gaze into each others' eyes, sing (but don't really sing) to each other, and almost kiss. But they didn't take two seconds to stop and say, "So, what's you name again?"

Silly, silly, Cinderella. If it were up to me, Cinderella would have been smarter. She would have delivered the letter to Lady Tremaine during the music lesson, caught the news, then rushed upstairs with a plan: "Okay, little mice, make me a dress, kthanksbyeeee." Then she would've waited till her step-family left for the night, thrown on her pink dress, ridden the horse into the palace, and got in line to meet the Prince. When her name was called, she would've said, "Hi, Philip, I'm Cinderella. Let's dance all night. I don't have a curfew."

Then as she was glided by the crowds, she could've looked Lady Tremaine right in the eyes and flashed her the finger - the one with the diamond ring on it. "What now?"

But this is 2012. Not 1950. So we have to make the best with what we have.


i.ikeda said...

N. loves all the princesses, but... I have to say, I do have beef with all of them. All. But despite Belle's shortcomings (and yes she has many), at least she doesn't fall for the first chum everyone in the village admires. Oh no, she has to wait for someone a lot richer with an enchanted castle, regardless of what he looks like. Kindness? Pff, it was the size of his library that really won her heart. And Cinderella didn't even know the prince - but hey, he's the prince, right? A palace has to be better than her slavery at her stepmom's house. Don't even get me started on Ariel or Sleeping Beauty. I guess I'm too cynical.

But my little one loves them, so... :)

(I'm hoping you don't find this comment too rude, the princesses just get on my nerves so bad)

Maggie said...

@i.ikeda, It's definitely not rude - I love hearing your thoughts on this. Haha it was totally the Beast's library that won her heart. Good point! Ariel is a piece of