Woo hoo, do I have a fun multi-post thing to introduce! Remember the creative non-fiction class I talked about here? Well, our final for it was a ten page whopper on the topic of our choice. Those of you who have been following along for a while probably know what I chose, but for those of you who don't know me quiiite as well... I chose DISNEY *jazz hands and fireworks*
It was a blast to write (especially since the "research" for it consisted of rewatching princess movies and taking my cousin to see Frozen)and I hope it is equally fun to read! I thought I'd break it up at parts where it feels most natural so without further ado, the introductory paragraphs!
*cue Disney theme*
For all the promises of making dreams come true, Disney sure attracts some pretty extreme opinions. There are people who go to Disney parks every year, who obsessively collect Disney gear and toys, and who will gush at you about the magic Walt Disney’s legacy continues to create with every new film release. And then there are those on the opposite end of the spectrum, who think Disney is rotting children’s imaginations, completely and totally, movie after movie. When you narrow Disney down to its princess component, the target population focuses to young girls and the intensely expressed opinions grow even louder. Some parents see the princesses as positive role models for their daughters and surround them with the merchandise and stories while using the princess model to teach their child important life lessons. Other parents vehemently disagree and believe that Disney’s leading ladies are the first step towards a depressed and unfulfilling life for girls exposed to their influence. Academics weigh in on both sides of the arguments, using facts and figures to fan the flames. From where I read their articles (on my bed, with my feet appropriately tucked under a Tinkerbelle blanket), it all just seems like a written screaming contest.
Both sides of this argument terrify me—parents arguing over the mental wellbeing of their daughters? Yikes. Count me out— and I don’t really see the big deal of either opinion. My generation was practically spoon-fed this stuff, and we generally turned out okay(with a few outliers here and there, but name a generation that had none of those!). I was never infected with the “princess obsession” when I was little, even though I would have preferred it to any of the actual stomach bugs I caught. Both opinionated groups, do keep your pitchforks and smug shoulder pats to yourselves, I liked the movies well enough. I vividly remember this one time my mom was sick; I stayed at the foot of her bed, playing and replaying Pocahontas. Disney’s princess movies made me feel better whenever I was upset or under the weather (God forbid I was ever both, I’d need a marathon to return to normal), so I naturally assumed they did the same for her. She tells the story fondly now, acknowledging that there is something comforting about the films.
Despite the magically healing or calming powers the princesses may or may not have, I never felt the urge to dress up as any of them or play along to any of the nay-sayers’ dreaded “scripts.” I don’t remember there being much overlap between “movie time,” when assorted tapes (Disney or not, princess or not) would be popped into our VHS to give our parents a breather, and “play time,” when our troupe of misfits would invariably return indoors a little scraped up and dustier than we left. This nostalgic distinction is different in light of the rapid technological changes that took place in my awkward tween-y stage, but it isn’t the only thing that’s changed. Disney and its princesses are evolving; you cannot take one or two of the princess movies and rip the entire franchise apart with your insert-personal-reason-here rage. The way I see it, Disney’s princess movies are split along a spectrum in regards to both time and growth. I’ve divided them in my head into the groupings of “once upon a time,” “playing around with species,” and “what is history.”
So, yeah! That's the first installment of Disney discussions here on smilingrid! Real talk about princesses, this should be fuuun. Did you have favorite leading ladies? Did any of them do or say things that made you gnash your teeth and cringe in a "no, what, why?" manner (despite your affection)? You can bet I'll be enumerating these along the way, so feel free to let me know all the things you think about Disney's princesses! Who knows, I might sneak some reader's comments in there!