I know you all thought I’d forgotten to finish the “getting to know you” but I haven’t. I’ve just been stumped about what to say for this one. I’ve thought about it quite a bit and I’ve decided to write about Disney movies.
I have often heard the lament of people who hate that Disney movies have a happily ever after. Prince charming swoops in, saves the damsel in distress, and they live with singing birds and chipmunks for the eternities.
I agree that this can give children a warped sense of love and life after the movie ends. However that being said I often watch these movies and see something else all together, something I hope to show my daughter as she watches the movies, using them as learning tools… let me give you a couple of examples.
Cinderella: Makes the best of her situation, smiling and overcoming obstacles with cheer. Yes she had to scrub and clean but she often did so with a smile. It’s also okay to cry when things don’t go your way or you have felt deceived and that a hug from your mother (Fairy Godmother or otherwise) can help ease the pain. Being a gentle and kind friend will help be a support in your life (even if her friends were all animals, I mean come on they made that dress!)
Belle: Loyalty to her family and love and respect shown for her father always touched me. The optimism and praise she gives her dad when he is working on his inventions was genuine and sincere. She shows that a girl can be smart, and does not have to settle for the first man who comes along, even if everyone else thinks he is a catch. Also shows that beauty is more than skin deep, she did after all fall in love with a beast. When he tries to bully her she stands up for herself. Just because it was implied that she needn’t be educated, read or have ideas she stood her ground.(can you tell this is my favorite)
Tiana: She not only wished on the star for her dream, but she also worked very hard to make it happen. She learned to balance not only hard work but enjoyment in life as well. She learned that having those she loved around her would make her dream that much better, and all the hard work that much sweeter.
I could go on with about all of the princesses/heroines. I also love Mulan and Meg for their feisty personalities and fighting spirit. Nala even fought Simba at one point, telling him to get over himself (essentially). I am living my happily ever after with my prince charming, and it is challenging but very joyful at the same time.
I grew up watching many of these movies and didn’t feel like I had to be beautiful and all my problems would go away, or that if I just sat pretty I would find prince charming coming around a corner to save me. I am not saying I wasn’t self conscious at times but I never felt that watching Snow White made me have a poor self image. My mom and dad raised us to be strong independent women. There is nothing wrong with being feminine, or feeling pretty. Guess what, you can be self-confident and smart and still find prince charming.
The point is this. Even if Disney didn’t make these movies, and have the happily ever after, someone else would. I like that they usually at least make the princesses intelligent women with good character. Yes I’m aware of all the things you can throw at me of the princesses being bad examples, but I choose to help my daughter see the good in these fictional women. The strength, and fortitude instead of the flaws. The glass is half full kind of approach. Yes I want her feet planted in reality but that doesn’t mean she shouldn’t believe in love. I hope that Jeremy and I can show our kids as they grow up that you can have the happily ever after but it does take work.
So I’ll continue to let her dress up, watch the movies and sing and dance to the songs. I’ll continue to point out the good qualities while she watches them. Bravery, loyalty, friendship, compassion, understanding, love, service, etc. Lets face it, in today’s world we could all use a good dose of happily ever after.