I am a self acclaimed ‘true Pisces’ in that I spend most of my time in daydreams and letting my imagination run wild. Thus it is no surprise that I love Disney as much as I do (I’ve considered tattooing a Minnie Mouse symbol on myself), however I’m often left wondering what it is that I love about these unrealistic tales? It is because I use them as a form of escapism or is it the memories linked to watching them which take me back to my childhood.
I write this post as I sit in my bedroom staring at a huge Minnie Mouse teddy I have and a Beauty and the Beast figurine I received for my 21st birthday no less.
So what did the famous Walt Disney teach us? Was it that princes will come to you on magic carpet or is it the deeper meaning behind these stories and the moral lesson we can all learn from watching them.
Let’s take Beauty and the Beast, a tale as old as time, this love story is the result of a carefully constructed plot wherein a small town girl loses her way and stumbles upon the eponymous Beast’s enchanted castle. Enchanted castles and their inhabitants do not exists in everyday life but characters such as the Beast do. These are people whom we look upon and view only through their physical appearances instead of looking into their soul and finding their true beauty. In casting away such characters based on their looks we create a society which is image obsessed and materialistic and perhaps this is what Disney is trying to represent through their characters. Love and beauty go hand in hand but beauty does not equal love and once viewers have realised this they, like Belle, are able to appreciate what is around them.
To be a Disney princess is what most young girls dream of but becoming a princess is so much more than a tiara or living in a palace as Aladdin’s Princess Jasmine shows us.
Aladdin is by far my favourite Disney film and in my opinion still the greatest to this day. The story is one of magic kingdoms, sorcerers and a whole new world. But what is the hidden message in this film? Is it that through lies and costume changes you can force someone to be in love with you, or is it that if you get three wishes make them all count? In my opinion, and from having watched the film countless times I would have to say this film teaches one not about magic caves and treasure but about the lengths worth going to for love. Jasmine and Aladdin when stripped down to what they are, should seemingly never be together. She is a beautiful princess, heir to a throne and lives her life never leaving the palace walls. He is a thief, liar and riff raff but he is also a true friend and worthy of a princely title. He keeps his promise to genie and frees him in the films climax which contrasting to Jafar make him a suitable husband for a princess.
One film which questions a suitable husband for a princess is Frozen. Frozen is a relatively new Disney film and it is by far one of the most original I have ever seen. The portrayal of two sisters is so realistic especially when Elsa questions her sisters decision to marry a man she had just met. In that one sentence Disney defined what it was teaching it’s audience; to be independent. Anna understandably disagrees with her sister and continues to make plans to marry Hans until he shows his true colours. In doing so we are shown what all Disney films represent – to look beyond appearances and to not judge a book by it’s cover. I believe that it is this message which makes the film so popular to it’s audience and teaches younger girls the importance of finding Prince Charming whilst also retaining their values and beliefs
In life we all want to find our Prince Charmings but in doing so we can’t forget what it means to be a princess and that some stories are more important than losing a shoe at midnight or kissing a frog!