Remember those movies your parents put on for you to watch? Those bland, same-same movies that taught you never to think for yourself, and (if you’re a girl), to always rely on a guy? The ones where everyone wore pink and singing animals solved life’s problems so the girl at the centre didn’t have to do anything at all?
Basically, the “big one” is that Disney princess movies are sexist, teach girls to only think about love and being rescued, and feature an abundance of pink.
I’m going to dispel these myths.
1. First up, we have Snow White.
Understandably, this is probably the most sexist of Disney movies, since it was made in the 1930’s. I can’t talk much about her from experience, because I haven’t seen this movie since I was a miniature. Snow White’s evil queen stepmum wants to annihilate her because she’s prettier. Prettier? On face value Snow White’s innocent beauty–a feature about herself she can’t even control–is a hugely sexist thing to be the tipping point of the story. But wait! Reexamination, please!
Evil queen. Evil QUEEN. The land is ruled, undisputed, by a woman. Not one character goes, “Hey, wait. It’s a bad idea that she’s queen because she’s a woman.” No! They knock her out of power because she’s bad. Not because a guy can do it better. Also, she wants to kill the pretty stepdaughter and reign supreme. The villain is a woman, and a pretty stinking powerful one. I don’t really see how women are downgraded in anyway. (Also, Snow White wears blue and yellow — not pink.)
2. Cinderella, dear poppet.
Here’s a fun one. Firstly, the villain is a woman who can rule the roost just fine on her own. Also, Cinderella eventually stands up to her cruel treatment by defying the stepmother and going out anyway.
Note: Mr. Saving Prince has nothing to do with the real catalyst of the story. He’s just a bonus at the end. She didn’t have the prince on her mind when she went. She got there with a woman’s help, anyway. Her Fairy GodMOTHER. (Also, she wears blue.)
She does ultimately get saved by a bloke again, but in her defence, she was dead at the time. Or asleep for a hundred years, but same difference. The villainous woman, again, has extreme power. Interesting to note, ONLY WOMEN had powers in this movie — all the fairies. The guys like the kings and Prince Phillip? Mere mortals. Aurora was rescued by women when she was a baby, too. Women who were terrible housewives, something absolutely not normal for the 1950’s. I am a little sad that Aurora herself didn’t do much at all, but anyway. (And yes, she wears pink.)
She is probably the dumbest of all the princesses. I’m sorry, but it’s true. She changed for her man, which is about the dumbest thing a girl can do. But in her defence, she catapulted her own story into action by SAVING THE PRINCE. Eric would have been fish food if it wasn’t for her. The villain is a woman, once again, with more power than the average mortal.
(Ariel used to wear pink in group shots, but recent princess modifications now have her wearing sea green. Goes well with the hair.)
If anyone tells me Belle’s story was sexist, I will laugh. And then cry. Because Bell ran the entire show. Belle sacrificed her life for her father, stood up to Gaston (notably the first male villain), TAUGHT the beast (not just said, “Oh, I love you.” She took up a leadership position and taught him how to read and be a good human.) Oh, and she rescued the beast from enchantment. And then she rescued the rest of the castle. And she wears yellow.
She doesn’t do much. The movie isn’t about her. But she does tell those sexist jerks that she’s not a prize to be won. Then she stuffs Aladdin’s hat in his face when she realises that he’s just there to win a pretty bride. Yeah. Weak woman? Huh. Also: Blue outfit. Sensing a pattern?
I’m not going to say much here, because the only way to think Pocahontas is passive is to NOT watch the movie. She only said, “You must kill me before you kill John Smith” and then saved the environment while she was at it. I could go on. I won’t. (Brown dress.)
She only saved China…nothing major or anything, right?. (Yellow and green outfit–when she’s actually wearing a dress.)
She is certainly a hard worker. And her love interest is pretty much a slacker. Tiana is the star of the show that whips him into shape. She also said that she had no interest in finding a man (at the beginning). Oh, and she had to save Naveen. Because he was an idiot. And everyone knew it. (Though he was a great character. Like, Captain Thorne. Anyway.) (Green ball gown, note.)
She is maybe a nod back to Disney’s less feministic days, as she doesn’t exactly save the day (technically, the horse does, but anyway.) She does smack Flynn in the face with a frying pan. That’s anything but passive. She also helps him be a better person. Rapunzel has an agenda she will do anything to fill, and that definitely does not make her a sit-back-and-let-the-prince-do-the-work girl. (Purple dress. I love her dress. It’s my favourite.)
11. Ah, Merida.
Who doesn’t love a girl with a bow? Especially one with NO love interest. At all. In fact, she basically tells everyone the idea of only having life option–being a good queen and mother–is absolute rubbish.
And a green dress. Wow, I love that she does the whole action-packed movie in an ankle-length dress and it doesn’t compromise her fighting for a moment.
12. Anna is great.
She’s definitely not weak. She’s a romantic, yes, but she’s not afraid to boss Kristoff around. Or yell at an angry snow monster. Or throw punches. Oh, and she saved herself and her sister. No guys involved.
(And purple and blue clothes.)
She’s also a princess (Queen!) with no dude to slow her down. Oh, yeah. She rules, with no one questioning whether she’s “good enough” due to being a girl. She almost skewered a bloke with an icicle. She broke out of a prison using only ice. And covered an entire land in a deep winter. In summer. In high-heels. Power, much? (Wearing blue.)
Tell me again how Disney presents women as passive and/or damsels in distress? Because I think that’s a pretty naive statement. Same as the pink thing. The franchise DOES make all the toys, backgrounds, decorations insanely bubblegum pink. But think about it! Everything that’s NOT the dresses needs to be pink…or else it blends. It’s a rule of design. The focal image stands out better against a contrasting, light background. Also: many little girls like pink. I did. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.