When most people hear that a story involves a princess they assume right away it is just going to be about some pretentious girl who is in trouble and cannot save herself. People believe you should not look up to Disney princesses because they are not healthy role models and teach kids that they need some prince to come along and save them. However I beg to differ. I believe that Disney princesses are the best role models out there for kids. In a world where our children are being taught to aim for ‘jumping in muddy puddles’ with Peppa Pig and being ‘horrid’ like rebel ‘Henry’ is it not quite refreshing that Disney is producing animation at a deeper level?
“When the raindrops come tumbling, remember you’re the one who can fill the world with sunshine”- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Snow White is a prime example of optimism: she endures so much at such a young age- her mother died; her stepmother plans to have her killed; she ends up lost and homeless and worse of all she has to wear a horrendous dress with ugly puffy sleeves. With all the relentless attempts of the Evil Queen trying to have Snow White killed, not once does she wish bad on her step mother or Grumpy – even though he is very rude and dislikes Snow White. Unexpectedly, Snow White says a prayer (the only princess to do so in the Disney princess franchise) before bed, she prays for Grumpy. This is surprising as the usual thing to do would be talking down about Grumpy or her stepmother and being upset. Snow White is different, instead she prays for them. Throughout everything she endures she holds onto hope that everything will work out okay for her: that her prince will come – not to save her but to enhance her life. Not once did Snow White worry that she could end up alone forever, she trusts that her prince will come when the time is right. And he does, and just at the right time as well. Snow White teaches us to have tolerance and forgive those who have done us wrong. If more people had morals and qualities like Snow White then this would be a much more bearable world to live in as we would see that you may have to go through some hard times to become the person you aspire to be and obtain the life you wish to have.
“Well there’s one thing. They can’t order me to stop dreaming.” – Cinderella
Princess Cinderella said these heart warming lines in the Walt Disney movie “Cinderella”. Similarly to Snow White Cinderella sets the example of keeping faith in hard times whilst highlighting how a good pair of shoes can change your life for good. Cinderella lives a life surrounded by people who live to torment her and let her know that she is not worth anything. She also lives in deep poverty yet she teaches the 14 million people who are currently living in poverty in Britain that pretty dresses cannot cover up an ugly heart. However throughout the midst of everything Cinderella holds onto a glimmer of hope that life has more to it than having to be at hand and foot for her step family. Her strength in faith allows her to embrace change, rather than become doubtful when she is approached by her Fairy Godmother. She reminds kids that miracles happen and dreams do come true if you hold on to them and do not lose faith. She shows the British public that poverty at times can actually be overcome.
“What makes someone special? I suppose it all depends. It’s what’s unique in each of us.” – The little Mermaid
Princess Ariel sets the example of tolerance in the movie “The Little Mermaid”. Ariel, like many of the other Disney princesses, is viewed as being different and believes in diverse things compared to the people around her. Ariel is forced to feel alone and isolates herself as she is never accepted by others and does not get along with her family: especially her older sisters. Even though Ariel is made to feel bad about herself she finds worth in every creature she encounters. In this regard Ariel could be compared to Saint Francis of Assisi who had a love for all creatures and had a special bond with them. This is a great role model for children today. She also cannot help who she falls in love with. Yet, there are probably many handsome and eligible mer-men more compatible to Ariel and they probably would save her a lot of trouble. However, Ariel knows that she owes it to herself to follow her heart’s desires as she had been kept at bay her whole life. Had she judged people rather than look for the good in them, she may never have found her one true love. Even though Ariel is an animated character her story can relate to real life situations. Some may deem it farfetched but Ariel can be viewed as a role model for the LGBT community. Recent statistics show that 1 in 50 people in the British population are now members of the LGBT community. Do they not deserve a role model? Yes. They do. Throughout the movie we witness Ariel’s father’s lack of understanding towards her. Which spurs him on to encourage her to destroy her dreams and aspirations. Ariel recognises that just because her father is older his view is not necessarily correct. This then gives a clear message to all children that it is good to be different and to accept yourself. Many members of the LGBT community may be made to feel like an outsider and felt ashamed for who they truly are. Ariel gives them hope for a future of tolerance.
“You think the only people who are people, are the people who look and think like you.”- Pocahontas
Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes is one of the hardest things to do in this day in age. It is especially hard if you are not used to wearing shoes and the weird Englishman’s shoes are pointy, uncomfortable and too big. Beyond Pocahontas’ skin colour, she reminds us to be righteous: it has always been hard for humans to always act lovingly towards one another. However the example Pocahontas sets for us is to stand up for what is right and recognise our own self-worth. However we must also recognise and embrace the worth in others around us. The example Pocahontas sets for us is that we should treat people the way we want to be treated as you never know what is going on in someone’s life. In contrast she also refers back to the theme of self love and how we should not keep everything bottled up inside. This is so relevant in today’s society where mindfulness and self- care are regularly promoted in society. Moreover, with recent NHS figures showing that 1 in 4 British girls are hit by depression at the age of 14 is Pocahontas and her self-worth not a brilliant role model to be promoting? Yes. She is. However, if you ever find yourself outside talking to a tree you might want to seek help.
To conclude, Disney princesses are the best role models due to their moral codes and inspiring qualities they uphold. We only have to look to Ariel who sees everyone as equal Cinderella and Snow White who hold onto hope in dark times. Even though the Disney princesses are shadowed under the umbrella of being ‘perfect’ they do help us uphold our moral codes if we look beyond their labels. Why don’t we not aim for a ‘happy ever after’ but a happy right now.