For the record, I have nothing against Disney. Like every 80’s baby, I spent many a happy hour idolizing Ariel, Belle, Cinderella and Jasmine. I hummed along as they sang, silently rooted for the victory of good over evil and felt slightly uncomfortable during the final resolute kiss. As an adult, I was realized that along with drinking in sights and sounds of a land far, far away, I was also drinking the Kool-Aid of fairy tales. Now when I watch these same films with the educated and possibly cynical eye of adulthood and experience, I cannot help but observe some of other lessons we could take away from Disney movies. While I’m sure the following were communicated with no malicious intent or even intent at all, I must say what is on my mind.
Kings Requires No Formal Training
Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge is in line behind his father for the throne of England. He attended St. Andrews University and served in the British Army, he has had extensive training and preparation for a job he will most likely not have for many years to come. Life has taught me that ruling a country is a difficult job and requires much education. Disney taught me that you can learn all you require by eating bugs with a jolly warthog and sarcastic meerkat and receiving a clock on the head from a baboon. Think about it, after many lion years in the jungle living as a herbivore in an unlikely friendship with animals who were already in an unlikely friendship, Simba returns to the peak of the food chain and pride lands with nothing but a birthright. And we thought we didn’t teach Divine Right anymore. No one told Disney, apparently.
101 Dalmatians on A&E
Disney taught me that dogs can have crazy amounts of puppies with ease and a surprising lack of fluid, obtain the balance of 101 and still maintain all of them in a living space meant for a newly married couple and be the heroes of the story. Life (and A&E) taught me that animal hoarding is neither charming nor praiseworthy. If you think about it, Cruella DeVil may have been the unsung hero of the story as the sole voice of reason against Pongo, Perditta and their motley crew living it up in a flat in London. Some might even say Cruella was the landlord. In fact, I’d bet money on it.
Pest Control Not Needed
If you watch Cinderella with an adult eye, you may take note that she might not have been the best housekeeper after all if the house was as overrun by mice as it appears to be. But thankfully these mice put themselves to good use as tiny seamstresses (which may be a way of indoctrinating our children to be okay with sweatshops) and tinier thieves. Moral relativism reigns supreme in the story of Cinderella as she cunningly exits the house where she was told to stay put and makes her way to the ball with a huge advantage over the competition, having secured the good will of a fairy god mother who shows up about ten years too late. But what really gets me is the slipper, as it is not a word I associate with the texture of glass and cannot imagine wearing. If I were Cinderella, I would have unloaded both for sure upon my entrance to the palace, not my exit from it.
Magic Carpet=Shady Van
Life, my mother, most afterschool specials and the policeman who came to my middle school class assured me that no good could come from sneaking out at night with a boy I just met and riding in an unstable vehicle. Disney taught me this is the only way to see “A whole new world”. Let’s consider the message we send our young daughters with this travesty: trust not your blubbering fool of a father, rather the lying con-man with a monkey and a good soul only you can see. Somewhere out there, Dr. Phil just threw up.
To be fair, there are many Disney movies I cannot figure out how to bash. I cannot find a flaw in Beauty and the Beast, and although I could go to town on how the Little Mermaid makes women change who they are for the men they love, I think there is actually some wisdom in communicating the truth that relationships require compromise, and Eric did probably stop deep-sea fishing as a result of their union. Before you go crazy with comments about how I do not understand fairy tales and have no imagination, rest assured that I very much understand them and have plenty of imagination. In the end, I know that fairy tales exist to teach up to follow our dreams and fight for the things and people we love. I enjoyed them in my time and will enjoy watching a possible daughter fawn over them as well. If she stays there, then we’re in trouble. But believe me, there is plenty of time for the little girls who idolize Disney princesses to grow up to be snarky bloggers 🙂