Living happily ever-after or grounded? Disney princesses in a different light

disney-princesses-grounded-mts-writing

Who doesn’t love Disney’s classics? We were growing up watching these magical stories and filling our little minds with dreams of adventures, true love and so. But here’s the funny thing about pretty much EVERYTHING we remember from childhood.

When we’re getting in the nostalgic mood and try to refresh the feelings from the past, the outcome is often far from what we intended.

For example: a small girl watching her favourite princess’ story looks most at the pretty dresses, hairdos and adventures. A bit bigger girl secretly dreams to meet similar handsome prince. And what happens when we watch these cartoons when we are actually full-fledged adults, with a serious approach to life? I wonder if you agree with my list of four Disney princesses, who I would gladly seen grounded, instead of honored.

Aurora

Princess Aurora had it quite bad from the very beginning. She became betrothed before she could say “yes”, “no” or “mama”. Then she got cursed by the woman she has never done anything wrong to, just because her parents were skimping on the extra invitation. The result was that girl was raised for the first sixteen years of her life in the forest. By three elder and completely unsuitable for the task fairies. When the day of her sixteenth birthday comes, her guardians are trying their very best to make it as special for her as they can. And except of a beautiful dress and a royal cake, there is another birthday surprise waiting – girl, you are really a princess! Now let’s go back to the castle and meet your king father, queen mother and prince fiancé.

But for Aurora all of that is nothing, because she’s moaning over her lost love, which lasted like half an hour. She met a boy, they danced and sat down together for a while, and that’s a reason to behave like a spoiled kid. She can’t muster any maturity fitting for a princess. Or any joy on the account of meeting her real parents, who were probably worried sick for the last sixteen years. Not to mention even shade of gratitude to the three old ladies who were caring for her all that time. No, she throws herself on a bed and cries over the guy whose name she doesn’t even know. I wonder would few years more in the hardships of peasant life, but with the knowledge she really is a princess, cured her from her whims?

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Rapunzel

Rapunzel was another baby separated from parents and not knowing her real family. Unlike Aurora though, she’s not been cared for by kind friend, but snatched away and used for her powers by a villain. Now, when I think of Mother Gothel, I do feel a bit for that woman. For her keeping Rapunzel at hand was literally a matter of life and death. And for seventeen years she did care for the girl. Yes, she kept her imprisoned, but she tried to make her stay as comfortable as possible. All the supplies for candle making, sewing, paper mache or baking did not fall from the sky. Not to mention the special paint, that required three days journey to get. I mean, seriously, someone get me such a resourceful witch, please! Of course that she was mean and selfish at times, but I think that there were more feelings on her side than just want of use of girl’s powers.

Now, Rapunzel had no idea that Mother Gothel wasn’t her biological mother. When the day of her eighteenth birthday approach, the girl feels that she is adult enough to get what she wants – with mother’s permission or not. She tricks her guardian to get rid of her for a while, then escapes from home with the random guy and risks her life numerous times. Because she’s eighteen, “such a clever grown-up miss”. I guess it is kind of setting an example: even if you rebel against your parents and mix with the wrong crowd (“wanted criminal, my congratulations”) it will be alright in the end because your mother is a witch and you know best. Only life is not a fairy tale.

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Ariel

Ariel is another princess who knows best what is good for her, even if she’s hurting people (or mermen) who care about her. As she lives under the sea, she is deeply fascinated by the world of humans, and her interests focus mainly on the handsome prince Eric. Although they never exchanged a word, and on his part, even a glance, she quickly decides that he is the one to sacrifice everything for. Her father unwillingly helps her to take risky decision, when he destroys in anger her collection of human-related objects. That’s enough for brave girl of fifteen to leave her family and friends, make a deal with the sea witch and jump headlong into the world completely unknown. All that for a guy she knew almost nothing about.

The odds were really not in favor of the sea princess. She landed in our world mute and unknown to anyone. Now, what kind of prince is picking randomly a mute stranger, and invites her to live with him in the castle just like that? I guess more chances were that she would be considered a crazy person and placed in the asylum. Of course in the end she gets the guy she wants, but only by pure luck, as all she has done herself was to place herself and her friends in danger. And wait for things to go all right by themselves. Still, she can be glad that Disney did not stick truthfully to the original story, where little mermaid dies in the end.

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Mulan

Mulan is this kind of girl you would probably laugh at school and wouldn’t accept her in your basketball team. Although kind-hearted, she’s also clumsy, disorganized and unconfident. When people of China are summoned to go to the army and to protect their country, Mulan’s old father is required to go too. The girl cuts her hair, takes family’s armour and steals at night out of home to join the army’s camp. There she pretends to be a boy to prevent her dad from going to war. Now, I always wonder, what she’s been thinking? A person, who can’t do a simple task of feeding chickens without causing disaster, throws herself into the middle of fighting professionals, believing that somehow it will be all well?

Now, I know what you will say: oh, but she did it for her old father, so he won’t die in the battle. No, she didn’t. She wanted to prove herself, like that kid who’s always laughed at in school, and will agree to any crazy challenge just to improve own reputation. And the stakes were really high: she could die in the fight or her disguise could be easily discovered. In which case she would also meet death. No matter which of these scenarios would come true, the disgrace would be more than her family could bear.

Mulan-disney-princesses-grounded-mts-writing

So, what do you think? Agree or strongly disagree? Or maybe you can come up with some other names I missed? Let me know in the comments!

M. R.

Author: mtswriting

We just love to write. For ourselves and for YOU.

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