Unrealistic Expectations, Grapes, and Awesome Dresses

5 May

After being sick for pretty much the past week, losing my voice for a few days, and taking all kinds of cold/allergy medicine, communicating hasn’t really been at the top of my priority list. That honor belongs to sleep.

Anyway, the whole not-having-a-voice thing and sleeping a lot got me to thinking about Disney princesses. (Not following the logic? Click the links.)

I loved the Disney princesses growing up. (Who am I kidding? I still do.)

Check out around 2:20: “Yes, they named her after the dawn for she filled their lives with sunshine.” Four-year-old Dawn thought the princess was named after her. Thus, favorite. It was cool; I identified with her and thought she was absolutely beautiful. Plus, picking berries? How cool. I f-ing love berries. I had Sleeping Beauty books, coloring books, Barbies, magnets, anything I could convince my parents to buy me that had Aurora on it.

Too bad they didn't have these when I was growing up...

But when does it become dangerous? Does it become dangerous? Am I a hopeless romantic with ridiculously high standards because I watched so many Disney princess movies? I don’t think so.  Our culture’s obsession with an unrealistic standard of beauty probably has more to do with Barbie than with Disney princesses, but regardless, the blame can’t be placed on any one contributing factor.

I loved pretending to be Disney princesses with my little sisters when I was young. Using your imagination is super important when you’re a kid (or at least, super fun) and we would imagine what it would be like if the princesses knew each other and what our princes would do if they hung out together. So what? I feel like I grew up pretty well-adjusted.

Perhaps though, it’s just as important to have real-life role models (and even fictional ones) that are strong, awesome women.  I’m pretty sure my mom taught me and my sisters that the princesses weren’t real, but it was okay to make believe and to get caught up in the fairy tale. Sometimes, everyone needs an escape.

I’m quite pleased with two of the heroines in two recent Disney films – The Princess and the Frog and the live-action Alice in Wonderland. (Spoiler Alert, btw) Princess Tiana falls in love with & marries her prince, but still follows her lifelong dream and opens up a restaurant. Alice says, “No, awkward boy, I don’t love you so I’m not going to marry you just because everyone expects me to. I’ve got some great ideas though, so I’m going to go into business with your father and travel the world. Look at me, I’m on a boat.”

Yay strong women in Disney movies. And yay for unrealistic women in Disney movies. I don’t know if I can say ‘yay’ to how Eurocentric and geared towards white middle class girls the franchise is (h/t Donnae!)…but hey, great conversation starter, right? They all teach us different things and even if they’re not ideal role models, it sure creates a great situation to talk to kids about values and expectations in life. Sweet.

This post brought to you by Dawn, who could never really decide if they should make it pink or blue.

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