One of the secrets that women keep from straight men – and yes, I AM insinuating that ALL women keep this from ALL straight men – is that we have a little tiny Disney Princess living inside of us.
The reason that we keep it simple is three-fold.
- If we admit that we think we’re princesses, we’re automatically perceived as spoiled and high-maintenance.
- We’re grown-ass women, we were supposed to outgrow the whole “pretend” thing a while ago.
- Feminist, modern women are supposed to hate the gender role stereotypes portrayed by these films.
Look, I have no problem telling any boy who calls me a princess or spoiled to build a fucking bridge and get over it. I also have no problem continuing to play pretend. I’m a teacher. I pretend to maintain an orderly classroom each day. I also have the word imagine permanently inked on my skin – and not just because of John Lennon.
The third reason is the one that gives me fits. I mean, I know that all of these fairy tales with the damsel in distress portray one type of role for women. I also acknowledge that even in the more modern films, where the girls are spunkier and more independent (see: Mulan) there are still issues. Like the fact that in all of these, their lives aren’t complete until they’ve found that special man.
Is that the message that we want to encourage our small little girl children to see? Probably not. Especially not when we’re finally making progress toward a normal family being something more than that. Or having no normal at all.
But sadly, I so totally love all of these fairy tales, just as much as I love James Bond, – especially the older, more misogynistic ones despite writing a paper on its sexism in college. I know that I shouldn’t. I know both these franchises demean women, each in their own way. Yet I continue to love and watch them.
Of course, I’ve always rationalized that the only parts of Disney princesses that I embodied were the good bits. I take care of tiny people all day like Snow White, I love to dream and fantasize like Sleeping Beauty, then my imagination runs away with me almost as much as it ran away with Alice, I dance with men with no intention of ever seeing them again like Cinderella, I love exploring new places like Ariel, I read just as many books as Belle does, I like hanging out with the riff raff like Jasmine, and both Mulan and I find similar souls in boys more often than girls.
It wasn’t until recently that my inner Disney princess was fully realized, and I owe a little thanks to my good friend Pinterest for that.
Yes, Pinterest helped me understand myself better.
Soak that up, ladies and gents. But mostly ladies, let’s be real, this is an entry about Disney princesses.
See, thanks to Pinterest, I now understand the whole hierarchy of Disney Princesses, in addition to having a wide array of different ways to perceive them. There are hipster princesses, zombie princesses, sexy princesses, anime princesses and even sexy anime princesses – you name it, Pinterest has it.
It’s all there, right alongside Feminist Ryan Gosling, ecards, and how to make super-fattening food your hubs will enjoy while also working out to stay skinny.
I first noticed a slight leaning when some of my (admittedly younger) friends were pinning outfits inspired by Walt’s royal ladies. There are all sorts of these pins out there, but unsurprisingly, I liked the purple ones the best. I laughed at myself and thought, ‘Of course, Erin. Of course you like the purple ones best. You also love anything that drapes like a toga.‘
But then my wardrobe choices and love of Greek mythology led me to make other connections.
Like the fact that once I decide that I like someone, that’s it for me. I’ll do almost anything for that person, which to this point usually involves me making an idiot out of myself and saying yes to helping them when I’m overloaded. Or going to church with them. Gah.
Then there’s the whole optimist in the guise of a cynic thing she has going on. C’mon. That’s me all over. I so desperately want to believe in other people, but when it comes to whether things are going to work out in the future, I’m all doom and gloom. And if you think I’m not cynical at all…you must know me from work.
Actually, if you know me from work, or in some realm where you’ve never been drinking or listened to anything but pop music with me, I know what you’re thinking – WOAH. Woah. Erin. Let’s slow down here. Are you sure you’re this one?
Yes, I am. Thanks for your concern.
In fact, this very week, after I had decided once and for all that my inner princess is, in fact, the less-acknowledged and not-really-a-princess Megara from Hercules, my therapist gave me one more similarity.
“Erin, you do this <come hither motion> while also doing this <stop hand held up> at the same time. And it confuses boys. So you either need to stop that or realize that you’re doing it and deal with it.”
See, that’s what makes me definitively Meg. That whole “resistance to love” thing. That and the innate bitchiness we seem to share. Because as much as I once thought I was Belle with all her reading and loving her dear ol’ dad and shit, my attitude and personality isn’t quite in line with hers. No way in effing hell would I just sit around the beast’s castle, chillin’ with the talking amenities.
Nope. Not happening.
I’m more the “make a deal with the devil” type once my poor judgement landed me in a tight situation.
There are smaller things, too. Like the little ones I have in common with other princesses. Small, but still telling.
“NO, REALLY?” says everyone I grew up around or worked with at some point. My students have a love/hate relationship with this aspect of my personality. I don’t blame them for it. I mean, it’s rough when you realize that your teacher has been saying, “That’s soooooo pretty…” and not meaning it for weeks.
I don’t like being treated like a tiny little girl. Don’t believe me? Just ask any mechanic that made the mistake of patronizing me.
I can handle my own shit, and I’d rather no one try and fix it for me, especially not some guy who thinks he’s “rescuing” me.
To add to that, I also generally get uncomfortable when I’m not the one in charge of things, which is why I don’t always play well with others. I hate feeling like a puppet.
And, the part that actually disturbs me about myself, I see the truth in the quote below:
That’s one of those things my therapist and I are working on. Reluctantly. It’s a good thing she thinks I’m awesome, or she would have given up on me a long time ago.
And you know why I’m okay with being the damaged Disney Princess who is often forgotten (and don’t give me the she’s not really a Princess bit, because neither is Tink, Pocahontas, or Belle), who also has a reputation and a score to settle?
Because in the end, she stays true to herself, and instead of becoming someone she’s not, or ending up alone, the guy compromises and stays with her.
So until I find the hero of my story, who likes me for the independent and flawed woman that I am, I’ll just keep rockin’ and rollin’ along. And making snarky comments whenever I please.