As we all know, there are always two sides for everything. We have good and evil, beautiful and ugly, warm and cold… so today we’ll just do a memory exercise and talk about some of the Disney princesses that we’ve all grown up with. As a parent, you become more aware of some of the consequences things might have on a little person. Their brains are like sponges, they get the information really fast and try to figure out what to do with it, that’s why they need their parents guidance.
Let’s just start with the classic Cinderella. Everybody knows her and we all ended up loving the idea of a fairy that will help our dreams come true. We have the evil step mother and the ugly step sisters. It is all about the fight between good and evil and finding true love in the end. That’s the message kids should get, but considering all the social media and the fact that nowadays children have access to information and technology way more faster than the older generations did, some images might not be exactly what the child should get.
Cinderella is very pretty, she needs to cook, clean and basically obey to everything her step mothers says. She wants to go to the ball but she is not allowed and she is actually mocked by her step sisters. Of course, then comes the good part with the fairy god mother who helps her. The prince falls in love with her and everyone lives happily ever after. So, somehow, the prince here is the escape plan and the gate to a new life, away from the people who didn’t like her. Things don’t always go that way, and girls need to understand that a prince charming won’t be able to solve their family issues. That’s why girls end up with a lot of “bad” boys… just because they want to run away from their parents.
We also have Snow White, she is extremely beautiful and because of that her step mother is extremely jealous. Somehow, girls need to understand that beauty can’t be used as a weapon, although all the toys, dolls and everything else promotes this idea: a skinny looking model, with lots of make-up and very provocative clothes.
Girls need to understand that there is more to life than just being a pretty face that can get away with living in a house with seven men (dwarfs).
Now, Belle from Beauty and the Beast, on the other hand likes to read, she is very close to her father, but she is poor and wants to fall in love with a prince that will take her away from the village she lives in. She doesn’t fit in the society that surrounds her. Somehow, the red flag would be Gaston and all the stereotypical girls (the blondes) that just want to be with him because he’s handsome. He actually says that girls just need to become wives and not read. That’s not really the appropriate message for a little girl.
We also have Ariel, the mermaid, who is not happy with her family life and wants something different. We might extend the discussion and say that she is not pleased with her own body, because she wants to be human. Girls might start having doubts about their own bodies because of that, and of course, because of all the commercials in stores, on TV and everywhere else.
All these princesses have in common the search for love. The only problem is, their search for love is somehow a way for them to get away from their own lives. Many of the princesses don’t have a maternal figure, they just have terrible step mothers, so they also promote the idea of the “evil” new partner, in a world where most parents get divorced.
The princesses promote the idea of beauty and perfection and girls really get this from very young ages: “in order for people to like me I need to be skinny, look nice and obey the rules” – it’s the message that goes straight to their brains.
That’s why parents need to let them know that there are other sides of the story as well. In a world that evolves so fast, where technology and social media and the social pressure is so high, we need to be careful how we raise our children. The bad part is that parents don’t really have time to listen to their children anymore; they are stuck in work and when they get home they just want to sleep.
I’m not saying that looks are not important, they are the first impression we give to people, but after the first minutes, you really need to be able to continue with the “inside looks” and show that you’re more than just a nice package on the outside.
It is only recently that we got princess Fiona, from Shrek, she takes away the idea of a skinny princess and promotes the idea of deciding for yourself. She rejects the prince and chooses a life that would make her happy and allow her to be who she wants to be, together with the ogre.
As girls grow older, they receive some more “positive feedback” from their own parents:
– why don’t you want to wear a dress like all the other girls? Pants are for boys, not for you!
– what grades did your friends get on the test, why didn’t you get the same?
– remember to find a good husband that will take care of you.
– stop playing football or ride a bike, you can be a model and earn money and fame.
It’s all down hill from that. It’s like society wants women to be “oppressed” somehow. And the ones that build a career and don’t really have much of a family life are blamed: did you know she is in her 40’s now and she still doesn’t have a husband and a child?
I’m sure you all have a friend that went through something like that, especially at family events when older people ask “so, you’re next, right?”.
It’s a bit of a stereotype… women need to listen to their mother and father and then obey their husbands and make children, and also take care of the house. The ones that focus on something else are blamed and everyone talks about them as being the “bad” example.
I’m not saying that children shouldn’t listen to their parents, but the parents need to understand that they should be their friends, not some sort of a negative example that will turn the child’s mind into a robotic one, that can’t decide on it’s own.
Children’s imagination and free spirit need to be encouraged and parents should understand how important a healthy mind is in today’s society, where we all have boundaries that we can’t really surpass.
I suppose I’ll end this here and just let you think about this for a while.