How Messed Up Lessons From Disney Films Affect Us - URBANETTE: Lifestyle Magazine & Blog

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How Messed Up Lessons From Disney Films Affect Us

A startling look into the lessons embedded in Disney films.


Renaissance 1989 – 1992: It took 30 years for Disney to release another cycle of Princesses. When they did, they were praised by many who saw Ariel’s rebelliousness as the antidote to the subordinate, dreamy Princesses of the past (despite the fact that she gave up her home, friends, and fins, to get married to a fickle Prince, at age 16). This was followed up with Beauty and the Beast (where she falls for her captor) and Aladdin (where he keeps saving them from her f*uckups). However, the core focus of these scantily-clad Princess’s stories was, ultimately, to be sexy and win a wealthy husband — at any cost.

How Messed Up Lessons From Disney Films Affect Us

Ariel waves goodbye to everything she’s ever known, at age 16.

The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s only two options in life are the ones her father has laid out for her. An older, overweight woman (obviously, the villain) convinces her that to be sexually attractive to men, she should drastically change her physical appearance — so she does. The price is that she can no longer speak or sing (and singing was her greatest joy). No problem, as she has nothing of value to say, and the Prince clearly doesn’t care anyhow, since he decides to marry the mute Ariel.

So, in the end, she’s yet another tale of a girl being saved by a Prince. This time the Prince has a wandering eye (which he, of course, is not to blame for). The moral of the story is that giving up her family, home, biggest talent, and everything she knows was totally worth it because she is now owned by, and totally dependent on, a man (ie. –yay– happy ending). After all, it’s not as if he would have ever considered living under the sea with her.

Before Ariel trades in her voice for a pair of legs, Ursula sings a song to convince her to give up the goods. This gem of a verse seals the deal:

You’ll have your looks, your pretty face
And don’t underestimate the importance of body language, ha!
The men up there don’t like a lot of blabber
They think a girl who gossips is a bore!
Yes, on land it’s much preferred for ladies not to say a word
And after all dear, what is idle prattle for?
Come on, they’re not all that impressed with conversation
True gentlemen avoid it when they can
But they dote and swoon and fawn
On a lady who’s withdrawn
It’s she who holds her tongue who get’s a man.”

Beauty and the Beast: She saves a Prince’s life — not with her wit or strength (because she doesn’t have either of those things), but with her only asset: her sexuality. Proving that appearances don’t matter; what matters is what’s inside your heart. Unless you’re a girl, of course.

How Messed Up Lessons From Disney Films Affect Us

Good thing a man is on his way to save her! (Nice waist, BTW)

Aladdin: As a 15-year-old girl, her only worth was her marriageability, and the longer she waited to marry whomever her father demanded, the more trouble she caused. She ends up enslaved by a powerful man and is only saved by marrying a shallow and possessive man pretending to be rich (who refers to her as a prize to be won, and repeatedly assumes she must be shallow). “A liar who agrees that I am only a rich, hot prize to be won? GO JUMP OFF A BALCONY! Oh, you have a magic carpet? Never mind, let me hop on that!”

Lesson: Give up everything and make your life revolve around marrying a rich man. Then, the rich man will give you money and therefore fulfill your dreams. Oh, and always wear bikini tops to be sexy.

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A writer, artist, and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she spends most of her time in France, NYC, London and Switzerland, and travels extensively around the world. Hilary spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She's always looking for hot new topics, destinations, and brands to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 76 Comments

  1. Lucinda Hanslow

    The only two Disney princess movies I sort of disliked was sleeping beauty, and Snow White, but that’s about it. Originally my favorite princess movie was Aladdin, but I honestly don’t see jasmine as the main princess anymore.

  2. Lynda Diaz

    I forgot how much I love Disney princess movies after reading this.

  3. Joyce Gonzalez

    It’s like the people who think old Disney Princess movies are “classics”. HAVE YOU REWATCHED THEM THEY’RE SO CLICHE. LMAO

  4. Debra Perry

    When I was little, the only two Disney princess movies I watched were Pocahontas and Little Mermaid. Why? Because Pocahontas was brown, and Ursula in Little Mermaid turned into a cute brown girl. lmao.

  5. Melissa Richardson

    blame those Disney princess movies for girls being obsessed with being in a relationship, and feeling like they need someone to complete them.

  6. Annie Wright

    One time I watched all the Disney princess movies in order with my brother, and his girlfriend. We rated all the guys on 5 separate attributes to decide which one was best. Hercules and Shang were tied.

  7. Kathy Rogers

    I don’t care, I will still watch Disney Princess movies. I still love Ariel!!!!! ?

  8. Alice Torres

    I knew it since I was in high school. I love them all, but when I started to realize that it is wrong, that I should not fantasize them because it is wrong, that I should not copy what there are doing. I love them, but I don’t love the story.

  9. Denise Murphy

    Because the generation changes. Before, during the classic times, women are not that strong. They are depending on their partners, but look at how Disney changed the story? from being a dependent bitch, into a strong, and powerful woman.

  10. Julia Gray

    WTH. I used to love Ariel, but after reading this, and realizing that she’s worst than the others, I hate her now.

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