Eff you, uncle Walt
It has come to my attention that an alarming number of girls have distorted views and expectations of men, love and relationships. Now, I fancy myself something of a detective and you will be delighted to hear that I have discovered the source of all the trouble! My shaming finger of blame is waggling directly in the face of magic-mongers, Disney. Here is the crux of my mini thesis: Disney movies are toxic. The things that young impressionable girls learn from the tales of Disney princesses are useless, baseless and destructive. And yes, I can back up these emphatic claims. In the words of the Genie in Aladdin, ‘why don’t you just ruminate while I illuminate…..’
Cinderella: this blonde bombshell with a broom teaches us that if really terrible circumstances befall you (you know, like your mum dying and your dad remarrying someone really unsuitable who kills him off and treats you like shit), chin up, all is not lost. Have a chat with the animals, be good and nice (oh, and beautiful – that is crucial) and fate will arrange it for you to be flung in the path of a handsome prince who will pursue you by any means possible and take you away from all of the pain. What’s more ladies, your worth as a suitable mate is directly linked to very specific physical attributes like your shoe size.
The Little Mermaid: Ariel says, ‘Hey Girls! Radically change your very nature and you will get the guy and be blissfully happy with him FOREVER.’
Pocahontas and Jasmine: the lives of these women suggest that if you pick a wildly unsuitable man of whom your parents don’t approve or who doesn’t understand your culture or background, worry not! Love will prevail! He’ll learn… they’ll come around!
Mulan: is a badass. And has a pet dragon. I have no beef with her – carry on babe, do your thing.
Snow White: men employed to kill you will take pity on you because you’re so pretty.
Snow White and Sleeping Beauty: whatever has happened, even if you are almost or even entirely dead, a kiss from your one true love will make it all OK.
Broadly speaking, the message is this: everyone has a ‘one true love’ and if you are good and beautiful they will find you and know at once that you are the one and then stop at nothing to wed you. And, once you achieve the ultimate life-goal (marrying the handsome prince – obv), it’s plain sailing from there on.
And all of this is spoon fed to young women folk, with a lovely big dollop of magic, butterflies, unfeasibly enormous dresses and some catchy songs to really hammer the message home. Nice. This is why women are crazy! And not just the crazy ones either. Some of my wisest, most worldly and free-thinking, strident feminist friends have fallen foul of this nonsense and found themselves befuddled and confused when contemplating their futures.
Because REAL ACTUAL LIFE, on the other hand, teaches us that:
Beautiful people are rarely any happier than the rest of us, nor are they often blissfully in love forever after. In fact, it seems the really difficult bit is the ‘actually maintaining a marriage’ bit. I would like to see a Disney Princess ‘where are they now’ special about how it all went for Ariel and Eric, when she actually had to deal with the reality of being where the people are, walking around on those… what do you call ’em? oh, feet! And eating with forks etc. Or how Snow White got on with dealing with her Prince’s insecurities about her having previously lived with seven men.
People who change fundamental things about themselves for their partner usually end up unhappy, resentful and unfulfilled. Badly matched couples who get together in a whirlwind of romance and or rebellion have a really hard time communicating in the long term.
There is no one true love: there are any number of people you could fall for and with mutual respect and appreciation, you could make it work with.
I know none of this is very romantic but that’s the gritty side of the myth-busting business.
PS. ‘Under the Sea’ is a TUNE
PPS. Where can I get a pet dragon?