The Real Princesses of Disneyland

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I know the lyrics of every Disney song Alan Menken ever wrote.  And I don’t mean just the main themes that win Oscars— I mean that Act 3 reprise of the the  second song introduced in Act 1 of Hunchback of Notre Dame.  Every.  Last.  Word.

I often wonder if neurons in my brain battle it out in my brain for survival.  It’s as if through the years, the nerdy quantum mechanics memories have fallen victim to the more robust dendrites storing “Just around the river beeeeend!”  Looking back on days of yore brings about strange new realizations.  It seems Deep Space Nine was not quite the intellectual treatise on humanity that I remember it to be.  And Disney storylines just seem like very bad ideas to expose little girls to.

  • Snow White: Give up your independent lifestyle and close knit group of friends to get married.
  • Sleeping Beauty:  When stuck in a situation you can’t change, wait for a man to change it.
  • Cinderella:  Increase your status through marriage.  Obtain marriage by lying.
  • The Little Mermaid:  You need to change your body for the one you love.
  • Aladdin:  When a man you don’t know asks you to get in his vehicle late at night promising a “magic ride,” jump on board!
  • Pocahontas: Men of your non-white ethnic background are boring fuddy-duddies like your dad.  You should go with the white guy, even if his crew is trying to kill your family.
  • Beauty and the Beast (the worst of the worst!):  If a controlling man isolates you from your family and introduces you to a lifestyle filled with the constant threat of violence, you should stay with him and try to change him.  His servants, who are all constantly making excuses for him, are all you need for emotional support.

I do realize that Disney fairy tales are allegorical interpretations not to be taken literally— the talking candlestick was sort of a hint.  What really frightens me are stories like Twilight, which has the same issues as Beauty and the Beast, but is targeted to older girls who obviously take it very seriously. 

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More by Dina Goldstein

Fallen Princesses

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