They didn’t ruin me, they made me better!
Lately there has been a growing concern and increase in studies (like this one) about how Disney princesses are horrible role models and how there is little (if any) benefit to letting young girls looking up to these women .
Let me start with saying I am one of those girls who grew up loving these Disney princess movies, with their disproportionate lead characters who some claim reinforce stereotypical girl behaviors.
I am now 23, and I still adore Disney. So I’m one of the grownup girls that these studies are talking about.
I won’t sit here and pretend that Disney princesses are good role models physically. Yes, Disney could definitely stand with making some princesses with realistic proportions. (Parents should also be talking to their children early on about being beautiful no matter what and explaining that the images we see of women (and men) in movies and in magazines aren't really "real.")
What I won't agree with is people who say that all (or even most) of the Disney princesses are stereotyped female leads who are poor role models.
Exactly what princesses are you looking at?
Disney princesses taught me to be myself, whoever that may be, that no matter who I am, I am amazing and someone deserving of love and respect.
I learned that I am someone who is strong enough to lead — because that’s what a princess is. I’m not sure when "princess" became synonymous with being a weak damsel in distress.
I saw princesses who were independent, and while they may have wanted a man, they certainly didn’t NEED one.
I saw girls who loved nothing so much as reading and gathering knowledge.
I watched women become the fiercest of fighters and warriors, protecting themselves and those they love.
I watched as these women fought their own battles and won.
I saw princesses work as hard as they could to achieve their dreams.
I saw them take risks and try new things.
And from all that I learned to be strong and to never give up.
I learned that a girl can be anything she puts her mind to.
Disney gives girls someone to look up to. And over the past few years, Disney has making a concerted effort to include princesses of various ethnic, racial and cultural backgrounds. (I can't wait to see the upcoming Disney movie Moana, which features a Pacific Islander princess.)
Perhaps if everyone would focus more on the actions of these animated women and less on their looks, we'd see the wonderful role models they really are. (Ahem, listen up, marketers!)
Because the movies' important lessons about life and about being a strong woman are far too valuable for our children to miss out on. And that's what I (and I'm sure many other women) learned from Disney princesses.