I have a four and a half-year old daughter. I am blessed to have her in my life but there are some unfortunate side effects to having a young girl in your house.
One of them: Princesses. Lots and lots of princesses.
To go along with the absurd amount of princess gear, princess movies.
Now, I love how Avery goes and dresses up as; and pretends to be a princess. The girl loves her gowns, tiaras, shoes and septers. She also loves her princess movies. She knows almost all of them by heart. Seriously, name a movie and she can tell you the characters, the plot, the casting director, the key grip and the lighting director. I think obsessed is a good word for it.
That’s where the problem lies. Those old Disney princess movie, while entertaining to a young impressionable girl, I believe they send the wrong message. In all the movies, the princess comes across as the victim, always needing a man to come and solve her problems. Or changing who she is just for a certain prince. Seriously, Cinderella can’t stand up to her sisters and needs a miracle to doll herself up. Sleeping Beauty, needs a prince to come and kiss her and save her. Snow White was told NOT to eat the damn apple, did anyway and needed a Prince to come save her. Ariel needs to change who she is to attract a guy. These messages are so wrong and it has been that way for decades. From Sleeping Beauty all the way to the Little Mermaid princesses have been relying on a man to save them from evil.
Thanks to the past two Disney releases, that seems to be changing. Both Brave and Frozen have central girl figures that one: took take no crap from anyone and two: don’t need a guy to save them. Also, while the earlier movies always focused on the princess falling in love with a prince and her relationship with them, these two movies have a much more important and healthier focus. The love of a mother and daughter and the bond and love between two sisters.
Now, both my wife and I try to teach our daughter how to be a strong independent girl. We try to teach her how to do things on her own and not to rely on others to solve her problems. These teachings are great and all, but if the movies that she watches send a different message, how well do these lessons stick? This is why I love love love Brave, Frozen and their stories.
Both these princesses are tough, independent strong-willed young girls. They take problems on themselves and don’t wait for Prince Charming or daddy to come and rescue them. I think these movies finally reflect where society has been and is heading too. I have no idea what it was like to raise girls ten or twenty years ago but I have to imagine this is a better age to do so. There are so many strong, smart and secure women to be seen as role models and if that can start at a young age with Princess’ like Merida and Anna then Avery has a head start on life.
Thanks Disney for finally catching up with the times and giving young girls movie characters that aren’t wussy princess’ or evil women.