The problem with Disney princesses

This is not a post about feminist objections to oversized eyes and waving cascades of hair brainwashing our youngsters into idolising pink and pretty over Tonka and Tuff. Nope.

Sure, that’s there, and I don’t say it’s not. It’s just that Offspring is on TV in a little while, and someone important is going to die, and DEATH is quite important, you know. It deserves some respect. So I intend to spectate, and, you know, respect the dead with my glass of ‘ahhhhhhh kids are finally asleep and not hobbiting on my desk’ wine. My rabbit died today too, so I feel an affinity with Nina. I want to virtually hold her hand, since pet rabbits and pretend TV characters are probably about the same in metaphysical-mourning land.

This is a fairly serious digression from the Princesses of Disney. My objections, however, are quite straightforward, and from this point onwards I will STICK TO THE POINT.

My first bone of contention is with Snow White. Sure, she’s supposed to be a 14-year old girl, white as snow, and the fairest of them all, yada yada, but she has no less than seven little men doing her bidding. Granted, their brief is to ‘protect’ her, which almost classifies as a posse of bodyguards, but this is the pre-Britney era, dear folk of the forest. Snow White wears undies ALL the time, and her posse don’t need to be on this kind of detail. I suspect, in fact, she has what is known as *I shall whisper now* a harem. GASP! I know. Besides, those Sleepy and Dopey dwarves wouldn’t be providing much protection from anything, if you ask me. Snow, just because you reverse it, and make your harem all male, doesn’t make it politically correct. It doesn’t make it OK. You’re taking the sisterhood BACKWARDS, girl. Just stop.

Ariel, the dear little Mermaid. One of my favourite movies. How could I find fault with you? It’s not your fault honey, and I shouldn’t hold it against you. But you are, in fact, A FISH. A fish, who wants to marry A MAN. Ok. I’ll suspend my disbelief for a little while, cos the singing is pretty, and we all want to live ‘under de sea’ cos everything’s better, down where it’s wetter, BUT then. Then, you lose your voice, and the hot dude from the castle STILL wants to marry you, even though you’re a fish with no voice. Do we not question his motives, even a little bit? Is this man REALLY good enough for our Ariel? I’m a bit worried about your future sweet one. I hope someone’s got your back. Just in case your hair falls out, or something.


Outside water, Disney mermaids develop a disturbing case of alopecia, and their tails tend to drop off. Eat your heart out, princes.

Outside water, Disney mermaids develop a disturbing case of alopecia, and their tails tend to drop off. Eat your heart out, princes.

Then there’s Belle. Belle had me impressed in the beginning, running off to the library to read ALL THE BOOKS. Then she impressed me further flicking off the advances of Gaston, recognising his conceit and arrogance while all the other butterfly-heads were fawning over his flexed biceps. But then? She fell for an ACTUAL beast. Not just a man with hair. A man who is moderately-to-extremely hirsuit. Someone who pays more to their waxer per month than you pay to yours per year…. but an actual, real, animal variety BEAST.  He is of a different species. So what if it came about by witchcraft and she saw something in his eyes. I’ll say it once more, because this is important.He is of a different species. That shit is ILLEGAL.

Obviously there are issues with the others too (whatever they’re called – Tiana, who kisses, then MARRIES, an actual frog; Cinderallas who live in broom cupboards etc), but, as I mentioned before, Offspring, and the DYING. I have to hold Nina’s virtual hand and do weeping.

The modern princesses are improving and getting stronger and less whelpish, but still Ms Tangled (Rapunzel) has iss-ews. Sure she can wield a frying pan and belt the crap out of a man who looks sideways at her, but she still has hangups. Mother ones, mostly, but whatever. I’m not a princess analyst. I’ll tell you what though. These Disney ones? They’re distinctly STRANGE.

Role models? They are not.

They do make a nice soundtrack now and then, though. I quite fancy listening to one, to soothe my jangled nerves, after the death of Nina’s beloved and my Peter rabbit.


44 thoughts on “The problem with Disney princesses

  1. Snow White was only 14?? Yikes, that gives me the creeps.. and the other thing that creeps me out is how insanely jealous the step-mother was..of a little girl…

    Anyway, great post. I completely agree… sorry about your rabbit by the way, hope you weren’t too traumatised by Offspring.. it was much worse that I thought it would be. Nothing can ever be the same again..
    Alice Shaw recently posted…What I’m Doing Now…My Profile

  2. So sorry to hear about your bunny, that is very sad. As for the princesses, they can be right little bitches off screen, too – one of them shoved her stupid plastic shoe into my USB drive the other day. And there’s another Princess doll that lives in the dolls house that I swear is trying to give me the bird – only she can’t separate her fingers, so it’s more like ‘the hand’. She better be careful or I’ll put her head off one day. Bratz dolls are a whole other issue…. Katie at Mumabytes :-)
    Mumabytes recently posted…Married to Social MediaMy Profile

    • I ‘disappeared’ a couple of Bratz dolls we were given once. They call me ‘Breaking Mad’. Lol to your doll giving you the hand. Off with her head I say!

  3. And have you seen what they’ve done to Merida? She went from kick arse to pathetic arse with one sweep of the artist’s pen. I only skimmed the comments, apologies if I missed anyone saying this already.

    I did notice the Little Mermaid comment though, in the original tale, which I had in my book of Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales as a child, she throws herself into the sea and turns into the foam on the waves, after giving up her tail and her voice to try to get some bloke’s attention, and failing. Sigh.

    • I know. You should feel sorry for the Little Mermsid really, but there’s not much left of her to feel sorry for. She’s thrown it all away. Kinda hard to feel sorry for foam.

  4. This analysis has been crying out to be done for years and I can think of no better woman for the job than you Kimbo-Slice!

    I have to say I’ve never been a fan of the princesses even when I was a little girl myself. Mind you we only had Cinderella and Snow White to start with, followed later on by Ariel, Jasmine et al.

    My main problem was that even back then I simply couldn’t relate to them – they were just so simpery and WET! And I already knew that girls at school who acted like these princesses weren’t much fun and much would prefer to plait each other’s hair than sneak into the creepy gardener’s shed to see if he had dead bodies in their (as was the rumour at my primary school).
    Rachel recently posted…A Public Service Announcement…My Profile

    • Dead bodies are WAY cooler. I can’t remember ever being into them myself either. I was all about pretending to be Enid Blyton while jumping on the trampoline. :)

    • Word Sonia – I thought exactly the same thing! But I found out the other day they still pick up on OUR insecurities. My little Mr 5 told me the other day “I think you’ve lost weight Mummy. That shirt makes your tummy look very flat”. I felt sad that me banging on about that sort of thing had made an impression on him already. I really must cut that out :(
      Rachel recently posted…A Public Service Announcement…My Profile

    • Ha Sonia I think you’re terrified of whatever you don’t have. I wouldn’t have a clue how to raise boys! I like to think their values are going to come from me, and not Disney, but hopefully I can keep the subliminal stuff from seeping in (from Disney, AND me, as Rachel said!! ) xx

  5. A couple of things:
    1. Never been much of a Disney fan. Surprisingly, however, I don’t mind the Barbie movies, and if you like a good singalong I have to recommend The Princess and The Pauper.
    2. Your digressions are always worthwhile.
    3. On twitter yesterday afternoon I saw a tweet about Offspring coming up that evening, and I replied that that was a good reminder for me to stay off twitter. The tweeterer thought I meant because I didn’t want to hear spoilers. No, because I’m not interested in Offspring. But I was too embarrassed to correct her. And yet, even still, I was able to explain the main point of the Offspring episode to my husband this afternoon who thought Nina had died. Please, dude needs to get himself on twitter or facebook.

    Yep. I think that’s it. For now.

    • Yes. Dude needs to get himself on Facebook. Twitter may be a bit much for him. Mine calls it all one thing ‘faceblog’ or ‘facetweet’ – depending on his mood. Social media cynic. Grrrr.
      So glad my digressions don’t wander off into the pond in your eyes. Shall defo check out Princess and the Pauper – I don’t know that one. Thanks!

  6. Those fucking princesses. Don’t get me started. Pocahontas is a bloody TRAGEDY with the COLONIALISM and the SHOOTING THE INDIANS and the DEATH and the SINGING WITH THE WIND or whatever. Fark.
    SlapdashMama recently posted…Bloggers IRL.My Profile

    • Only Patrick Swayze gets to sing about the wind, through his trees. And the young old man, with only a dream. Wish he was a Disney Prince.

  7. Oh Kimmy, I’m a cynic but I do LOVE the princesses, they give my girl dreams, the chance to imagine that she could marry a prince, that love it amazing, has no boundaries and that even frogs are marriage material – hee hee!
    I don’t think they are meant to be role models – they are escapism – a break from the boring reality that life is harsh and we probably won’t marry our soul mates (well I did but not everyone does)
    I linked an old post because I want to support you LOUNGERS, I hope that coolio?
    Em xx
    Emily @ Have a laugh on me recently posted…A flash back in time to when there were two – Wordless WednesdayMy Profile

    • Hiya Em, of course it’s cool to link up old or new, whatever you like. The only rules are there are no rules, especially when we’re Freestyling ;) I do love the Disney music myself, and find myself wistfully singing along to that Tangled song.. You know the one? The newer movies are getting better. Anyway – I was just taking the piss, as I’m wont to do. My girls watch them all the time on loop!!! I give them their values – not Disney! :) xxx

  8. Pingback: Nowadays … and have you seen my mojo? | MINsMASH

  9. So sorry to hear about your Peter Rabbit and then on top of that … Patrick dying *sob*. I couldn’t watch last night and I’m glad I didnt. Love your disney princess wrap up and totes agree tho some of the names I’m not familiar with – probably coz my kiddies are all grown up now…not that I’m old or anything ;-) This is my first time linking up with The Lounge – hope I’ve done it right! xo
    Min@MinsMash recently posted…Nowadays … and have you seen my mojo?My Profile

    • Thanks Min, and welcome! Glad you linked up. Feel free to drop in any Thursday you feel like a chat. Poor Peter was buried yesterday, to the great sadness of my littlest. He’s gone to heaven now, with a big bunch of parsley.

  10. Another mother of boys here, so I’ve been spared the whole Disney Princess thing. Lego, Star Wars and Soccer drive me nuts. And WWE and Harry Potter and…that Disney stuff is starting to sound okay..*slams head on desk*
    Ness recently posted…Scardey Cat BoganMy Profile

    • You know Ness, the Disney stuff kinda IS ok to watch, if you wish and hope everyone has their eyes open, but its the Barbie movies that make me want to slit my throat. Ugh.

  11. Great post!
    I’m somewhat of a Princess expert I believe. My little girl loves them but she finds faults (she’s 4 bless her!)
    My big beef is with how much they’ve altered their appearances over the years. They’re way overly sexualised now. Even Merida (who is AWESOME!) The doll they released for Merida (stocked in Target) had changed her from a young girl to a voluptuous woman. I wanted to get RatGirl one but when I saw it I refused. The whole point of Merida is that she’s young! Somehow, in the transition from screen to doll, she aged 10 years, started wearing revealing clothes and grew a pair of boobs that will surely lead to future lower back problems.

    Erm, yeah. Sorry for the rant. Loved your post. Never did think of the bestiality aspect of Belle! I’m going to call my sister and destroy her childhood (it’s okay, she’s 34)

    • Rant away! If this can be a ranting outlet for anyone, then my blog has a purpose- a public service function. Totally agree – WHY would Merida want boobs? They’d just get in the way with the bow and arrow. I know this from uni bar/pool-playing days!

  12. But….. How do you actually know that Snow White wears under garments all the time? The idea of having seven cute little guys around to do my bidding holds some appeal. The thought of having to cook and clean for them however does not. As for Ariel – she falls hook line and sinker ( Brilliant – a fishy pun) for a dude she’s never even spoken to. Merida – now she’s my girl. Merida can wield a bow and arrow like a boss and totally kicks arse.
    Sorry about the rabbit. That kind of sucks.
    mumabulous recently posted…The PromotionMy Profile

    • I know- Merida is the full package. She’s got balls. And I want her hair, in an anti feminist, this is not about that kind of way. You make a good point re Sno White. We’ll have to set the papps onto her.

  13. I’m so sorry about your bunny. Not quite so sad about Dr Patrick since I really had no understanding of his apparent greatness, but I’m sad that you’re sad. As for Disney, yeah, you don’t want to go too deep do you? Almost all those girls are under age in contemporary terms for being married off. At least, as you say, they do tend to keep their knickers on – but then they have fewer paparazzi to deal with when getting in and out of carriages, so maybe we just haven’t seen the right photos? They don’t have one decent parent between them, which has GOT to lead to some serious therapy down the track. Yes, nice frocks, nice tunes, but not necessarily to be envied.
    Lara @ This Charming Mum recently posted…A very fishy taleMy Profile

    • Thanks Lara. Peter R looked very peaceful so I feel ok about it. As you mentioned, they’re all around 14-16 tops. Best to just let them colour them in, then CLOSE THE BOOK before they ask any questions.

  14. I’m lucky enough to have avoided the Princess influence – so far. I’m sure it’s only a peer-group pressure or two away but my wee Sugarpuff is still completely under the influence of her brother and his obsession with all things Ninja. So much so she is insisting we address her only as “Kitinja” – a mutant kitty ninja character of her own invention. Know any good child therapists?
    Aleney recently posted…Pride and prejudiceMy Profile

    • I do love me a good Ninja. Go Sugarpuff. No therapy necessary! Just try and avoid 4-yr old girl birthday parties at all costs… They will princess the ninja out of her with a flick of their fairy wands.

    • I think I have that colouring book – for the girls, obviously. Uplifting indeed. I reckon a genie would probably make my day, too. Especially one made of Patrick.

  15. Hahaha! There’s nothing like a morning giggle over coffee – thank you.
    And reading this makes me glad I have boys – I get to avoid all the Disney Princess stuff. Not that Ninjago, Star Wars and Ben Ten do a particularly fine job of providing realistic and inspirational role models (sigh).
    Leanne Winter recently posted…Fine Motor-skillMy Profile

    • Oh Leanne – and you get the joys of ninjas and zombies too. Luckily my girls aren’t too discriminatory and I’m well-versed in these areas too. It’s important stuff. ;)

  16. Firstly, I have never watched the little mermaid because the whole point of that story is that she goes to great lengths to change herself, and dump every friend she has for a guy who barely knows she exists and runs off with some other chick (great lessons there, ladies!)
    For the Princesses, I love Mulan – not only is it pretty, cherry blossom, snow and kimono style outfits, but she totally whips a bunch of wussy guys into shape and is fairly kick-ass when it counts.
    At Disney on ice, there was a black, jazzy, 1920′s Princess who had saved up enough money to buy the cotton mill…I don’t know this story but the fact that she had the get up and go to make stuff happened seemed pretty good to me. (and her song was good)
    PS I made my neice very unhappy by giving her the real Little Mermaid book – she hated it.
    Lydia C. Lee recently posted…BMX BanditMy Profile

      • Except in Disney, she gets the man. In the original Hans Anderson tale, he has no idea who she is and doesn’t care…(she’s clearly a delusional bunny boiler)
        I don’t know anything about Twilight except the vampire can’t act and the werewolf has a totally weird head. And some genius woman wrote 6 best sellers on the one story. And I mean genius woman! I wish!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        Lydia C. Lee recently posted…BMX BanditMy Profile

    • I agree – total bullshit. Lydia, that black princess was Tiana I think, and she has plenty of guts. Unfortunately she kisses animals too though. Specifically frogs. Ugh. Re the real Little Mermaid – LOL that you tried! That ‘walking on knives’ thing is something of a fairy tale killer.

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