As a 90s baby and female born to lovely parents who believe in gender stereotypes (but who can blame them it’s an age thing, right?) I grew up OBSESSED with Disney – and still am a tiny bit.
Me and my sisters and our brother watched every cartoon (and didn’t rewind it properly) until the video tapes went squiffy.
We had the computer games that sometimes came free IN YOUR CEREAL – kids these days just don’t know how good breakfast can be – and the fancy dress costumes and the princess Barbies.
Some of my most treasured possessions as a very little girl, in fact, were the Disney books that came with a little necklace or bracelet to match each princess – seashell for Ariel, Rose for Belle, you get the gist.
But I guess that probably has something to do with why I’ve spent my entire life devouring books.
So I tried to tell you how Disney’s ruined my life and failed in the first five paragraphs… good thing all that reading paid off!
Back to the point, I love Disney and I know I’m not alone or, indeed, the first person to point out the morals of the stories are just ever-so-slightly flawed (ahem).
But here are five ways – beyond the usual ‘it ruined my body confidence’ although it probably did – those ‘tales as old as time’ have tarnished my existence.
5. I get swept away by pricks disguised as princes
I’m a fairly well-functioning, pro-equality, hardworking grown-up with some self-confidence and absolutely no desire to be reliant on a man or any relationship.
I know that relationships require time and effort and love is more than lust or infatuation. I even want to be valued as a human in its entirety. Who’d have thunk it?
But as soon as some tall, dark and handsome stranger swoops in with his charm, wonky smile and an attitude that says ‘I’ll save you from becoming a spinster with cats’, I become your basic DID – damsel in distress.
I don’t even want to be rescued 99…95% of the time, but swan into my life with your air of arrogance and ‘you will be mine even if you’re sleeping’, like a not-so-shiny knight on his high horse, and it reignites my hope of love at first sight that leads to happily ever after.
All of a sudden I’m prancing around the house singing Once Upon A Dream – minus the wildlife, unless you include the cat – and gazing out of windows, longing to submit to the patriarchy and become the princess of Pathetictown.
CONSENT? But I’m a prince and she’s a weak woman so she clearly needs me
Eventually sanity kicks back in and I remember that the princes are just pretty faces and behind it is a shallow prick who probably isn’t a lefty because princes don’t like democracy.
And then all that’s left to do is pick up my dignity and carry on.
4. Crippling inner turmoil
The morality of Disney’s stories is flawed. We all know it. They are starting to sort things out with the likes of Brave, Tangled and Frozen but, for anyone my age, the damage has already been done.
I’m not for a second saying I still believe that social standing is everything and if I want to be worth anything I should marry the richest, best looking man in town.
But it is the knowledge of how wrong all these life lessons were that turns my internal monologue into an internal row when I now sit down to watch a bit of Disney.
All I want is a quiet night in reliving some of my favourite childhood memories by watching a cartoon and instead I’m faced with a moral dilemma.
STOCKHOLM SYNDROME: Beats holds Belle captive but we champion their love because he’s got cursed one time
Why are you enjoying this when you should be outraged at how ludicrous it is that Cinderella has to get all gussied up to be noticed by a guy?
Why are you singing along to Kiss the Girl when Eric is so patronising and refuses to recognise his ‘one true love’ just because she’s lost her voice? What happens if she gets tonsillitis when they’re together – divorce?
Beast is so abusive to Belle but you still want him to be her boyfriend because at least he’s better than Gaston… Who even are you?
Why is everyone white and straight? Why does any minor deviation from stereotypical beauty standards mean your evil? Why does this rubbish still fill you with glee?
And so on…
P.S. I know Pocahontas isn’t white but she’s considered a savage. And then there’s Aladdin and Jasmine, who ride a Persian carpet on an Arabian night in what looks like India.
3. I am forced to question my emotional stability
When I watch Disney – don’t for a second pretend I am alone in this – I weep.
I cry tears of sorrow when yet another Disney parent is killed off or when the leading couple, who probably shouldn’t be together anyway, get temporarily separated by tragedy or, you know, when the prince gets distracted by something shiny.
DAD, WAKE UP! Just posting this pictures makes me well up a bit
And I cry tears of joy when they’re brought back together and united in holy matrimony aka condemned to an unhappy marriage because they’ve only known each other a DAY and there was no divorce back then.
I laugh too. Timon and Pumba always provoke a good old chuckle. And don’t even get me started on the scene when the chef is chasing Sebastian around the kitchen.
It’s basically a whirlwind of overly-dramatic emotions from start to finish no matter how many times I’ve seen the film and it really does leave me wondering ‘am I sane?’.
2. But mum, I wanna be a PRINCESS
I am a fully grown woman and, thanks to Disney, if I had my way I would spend every minute of every day flouncing about in some big meringue-y princess dress.
I don’t even think a princess dress would suit me but I don’t give a damn.
The frills, the tiara, the glass slippers, the layers and layers of itchy taffeta petticoats needed to give me that true lampshade look – you name it, I want it all.
This bizarre little dream that I suppress on a day-to-day basis is one I really can only blame Disney for. Nobody else made me want to be a princess.
And I’m not the only one afflicted with princess-itus. Isn’t it THE driving force behind the marriage industrial complex?
1. I fancy a lion
When asked by a rather eccentric boyfriend-y person at university which animal I’d have sex with if I had to, I responded with lion, because Disney broke me and made me fancy Simba.
NOT MY FAULT: They anthropomorphise the animals on purpose, okay?
All images courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures Inc, via YouTube, with thanks.