Princesses promote poor values

Graphic by Brian Hwu.

Graphic by Brian Hwu.

By Kara Adkins
Online Copy Editor

Graphic by Brian Hwu.

With drool stains on his T-shirt and boogers running from his nose, I was rejected on my preschool playground by my first crush. In that gut-wrenching moment, I realized everything does not end in happily ever after.

For the majority of my life, I searched for a Cinderella-type romance. I thought having high standards meant waiting to be chased, saved and swept off your feet by Prince Charming.  These ideas were put into my mind by none other than my preschool pastime: Disney.

Aurora, otherwise known as Sleeping Beauty, spends the entire movie waiting to be rescued by a prince. Snow White’s goal is to have a prince take her to his castle, which is accomplished only after she foolishly takes a bite from a poison apple. And, although in the beginning of the movie, Ariel wants to go on land to find gizmos and collect objects, once she meets Prince Eric, her only goal is to be united with him.

In all of these movies, the female character’s only priority in their life is to find love. It makes women out to be dependent and lacking ambition and drive. Disney manipulates young girls into thinking a man will solve their problems and that being alone is simply not acceptable.

In this fantasy land where animals talk and breaking out in song is socially acceptable, there is an underlined meaning of what love and beauty is that can change a child’s views of the world at a very young age.

Maybe that is what makes Disney so appealing. It sets an unreachable standard of love. Real-life couples fight about money, time and communication. Disney couples struggle with spells, dragons and monsters. It is so extreme and exciting it makes real love seem dull and not “special” by comparison.

Although my father always claimed I was a princess, I realized very early on that I did not look like one. Disney portrays princesses as flawless. They have a golden voice, perfect skin and luscious hair. My freckled face and unruly mane never fit the Disney image.

It is odd to say I am jealous of fictional characters, but in some ways I am. It is disappointing that love is not the way Disney portrays it. It is a shame that the majority of relationships end in tears, pain and dysfunction.

Disney is the best at cutting off the story of their princesses at the ideal moment. They never truly explain the most vital part of the whole love story: What happens after happily ever after?

In today’s times, where couples dispose of each other once things get boring and claim it is because of irreconcilable differences, there is no doubt in my mind that the media, movies in particular, play a role in this.

Disney sets girls up to be disappointed. That sounds harsh, but in many respects it is true. I am not saying love should be boring, but I know an average day for me does not consist of being whisked away on horseback into the sunset or having a wicked spell casted on me. Girls get so caught up in the characters of these movies they forget that it simply is unrealistic to strive for a perfect life.

In Disney films, the princess always gets saved no matter how close she is to dying or carrying on heavy consequences. In real love, however, there can be consequences to each decision you make, and you cannot always rely on a man to fix your problems for you.

It was fun to play pretend when I was a young girl, but love is no longer a game of pretend.  Even though it is not always easy to admit, Prince Charming is out there – he is just not what Disney had in mind.