Most women in the western world grew up admiring Disney princesses, since Disney made them out to be role models for children. As we grew up we kept on admiring these Disney princesses that stole our hearts as young children, however, many of the messages sent through the screens of our televisions by animated characters were actually negative.
For decades, women around the world have fought to change the role of women in society; a role that was heavily imprinted on us from a young age through these characters that would characterize women in pitiful circumstances and that in many occasions sent out the wrong message.
We might wonder why women around the world tend to expect certain things from the opposite sex or why we act the way we do, when it was actually a message we received from infancy. We can't put all the blame on Disney, but we do have to admit that these 13 shocking moments in Disney films represent some of the problems women have to deal with.
Thankfully nowadays, Disney has changed the way they depict women and the hazardous messages that were the norm have been changed to more positive ones.
In this list you will find 13 moments when Disney princesses ruined women in several ways. Keep on reading so you can discover the true message behind these “innocent” cartoons.
13 When Ariel Makes A Pact With Ursula For A Man
She hadn't even crossed words with prince Eric, yet she fell so crazy in love with him that she decided to practically sell her soul to the devil to have a pair of legs to chase after him. She didn’t even take her family into consideration before heading onto solid land to chase a man.
Ariel’s negative behavior shows an obsessive personality that is perceived as something positive, negatively showing young girls around the world that the most important thing in the world is to land yourself a man regardless of the price you have to pay.
It’s no surprise that in current times, women put such a high price on getting married, even becoming obsessed with the idea of needing to be with someone.
12 When Cinderella Submissively Becomes Her Stepmother’s Maid
Cinderella showed us the negative consequences of being an obedient and submissive woman. Of course parents around the world liked the idea of an animated film showing obedience from their young children. Nevertheless, Cinderella’s behavior shows a lack of determination to stand up for herself and for justice. She passively accepts the denigrating commands of her stepmother and fails to show any form of self-respect. This sent out the message that women are to obediently follow orders regardless of the consequences it has on human dignity.
11 Showing An Unrealistic Physical Image
Eating disorders, body dysmorphia and low self-esteem are nothing new in western society. Girls and women around the world are constantly bombarded with unrealistic body images of women who are physically perfect and Disney clearly failed us normal looking women, by representing their princesses with unrealistic body sizes and perfection to its maximum representation. They all (except for princess Fiona from Shrek once she became an ogre) showed extremely thin physiques, perfect hair, a perfect smile and perfect everything. Even their singing voices are unbelievably perfect. Of course young girls who grew up watching these films came to believe that the idea of beauty was to look like these nonexistent and physically-perfect animated characters, slowly destroying the self-esteem of girls around the globe.
10 When Snow White Runs Away From The Huntsman All Frightened
Snow White gets threatened by The Huntsman and instead of standing up for herself and fighting to improve her circumstances she runs away from her problems and hides in a house with seven men.
She then proceeds to cook and clean for the dwarfs instead of pursuing more transcendental goals or fighting back to save her kingdom from the evil hands of her stepmother. Snow White plays the victim and finds refuge in the small cabin in the middle of the forest, but not once do we see Snow White willing to overrule the Queen's power, even though it's Snow White’s kingdom. If anything, Snow White is one of the worst Disney princess since she has no moral grounds or dignity.
9 When Cinderella Leaves Her House To Go Away With The Prince
She didn't even know him. They danced ONCE, while she pretended to belong to a higher class, he didn’t even know her name and she didn’t even know him. Nevertheless, when he shows up at her house and fits the glass slipper onto her foot she happily swans off with him.
Cinderella automatically assumes that because he’s a prince he’s a good catch but for all we know the prince could have been a sick pervert, which Cinderella pays little attention to. This moment taught young girls to be too trusting when it comes to safety and security in romance, especially when there is wealth involved.
8 When Nala Tells Simba That They Need Him
O.K. so maybe Nala isn’t exactly a princess because she’s, well… a lioness, but we still consider her a female leading lady so that’s why she’s on this list. Unfortunately for girls watching The Lion King, Nala sends out the worst message of all, that females can do little to help themselves out of a bad situation.
In the animated movie, Nala goes to the jungle where she finds Simba and begs him to come back so he can save them all. Apparently, only Simba holds the power to save the kingdom from his uncle’s tyrannical control. Not even Simba’s mom holds any power over the kingdom of her husband and apparently, females are unable to strive for more without male help. Definitely a negative message about the strength of women.
7 Believing That There’s A Prince Charming
This is a normal message in older Disney movies. Nearly all leading ladies are waiting or in search of a Prince Charming that will fix their lives and save them from their pitiful circumstances. The Prince Charming is usually that too; a male character who is rich, powerful and that holds an aristocratic position in society. He is “perfect” in every single way and even has a wonderful singing voice to match.
When little girls grow up, they can sometimes be shocked to realize that real men normally have multiple flaws and that there’s no such thing as a perfect Prince Charming. I’m pretty sure that even Prince William and Prince Harry have flaws, just like everybody else in the world.
Still, many women around the world keep waiting for perfection in their male counterparts and wonder who’s to blame for such high expectations.
6 When Belle Falls In Love With Her Captor
It’s no surprise to anyone who watched Beauty and the Beast that the beast was named such for a reason. Not only was he hideous but he also had a terrible character, showing abusive behavior towards Belle and everyone else.
In spite of Belle being held hostage by Beast, she still manages to fall in love, this being a symptom of Stockholm syndrome, a psychological phenomenon where the person being held hostage develops empathetic and positive feelings towards his/her captor. Belle totally failed at showing a healthy romantic relationship to little girls around the world.
5 The Way Tinkerbell Dressed
Women have had to deal with oversexualization for decades and Peter Pan’s helping fairy did little to fix that. There is no reason whatsoever for a fairy in a children’s movie to be dressed in such a provocative way. Her dress is too short and is barely covering her buttocks. We’re not trying to be over conservative, but every girl dreamed of being Tinkerbell. Unfortunately for girls and women, that involves showing a little too much, which is exactly what feminism is trying to defend, that a woman doesn’t need to show too much skin to be considered beautiful or sexy. A fairy in a children’s movie definitely doesn’t need to be sexy.
4 When They Need To Be Rescued
For some reason or another, princesses in older Disney movies like Cinderella, Snow White, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, and even The Lion King amongst others need to be rescued by a man, as if a woman is unable to defend herself and change her circumstances without needing a man.
As children, we saw this as the normal form of getting out of a bad situation and as we grew up, many of us believed that that’s what a man does, save us! When in reality all of us hold that power within ourselves. Luckily for the newer generations, Disney has improved in avoiding this hazardous message.
3 When Megara Sells Her Soul To Save Her Boyfriend
Megara goes insane for love and sells her own soul to Hades for a man; a man that then proceeds to dump her. As a consequence of such a betrayal, Megara changes her beliefs and decides she will never fall in love again.
Nevertheless, her conviction doesn’t last long and when she meets Hercules, she falls in love again. This moment precisely outlines the prejudice where women change their minds all the time, as if they have a shorter attention span and aren't smart enough to learn from their mistakes. She first foolishly gave up her most important asset (her soul) for a man, then swore never to fall in love again and the moment a hot man comes along she falls for him. This tells young girls that it is actually acceptable to give it all up for a man just like many of these princesses did.
2 Powerful Females Are Ugly And Unfeminine
Again, this one is more prevalent in the older Disney princess films, but most if not all occasions where a woman is in a position of power, she is ugly and possesses traits more associated to masculinity. The first example is Ursula the sea witch, from The Little Mermaid who not only has very broad features, but also has a relatively deep, not-so-delicate voice.
Also consider Cinderella's wicked stepmother or Madam Mim from The Sword In The Stone or The Queen of Hearts from Alice In Wonderland, and almost all other Disney villainesses, as they are not only lacking in the looks departments, but generally tend to be older as well, as if all that comes with age for a woman is bitterness.
1 Refusing To Include Motherly Role Models In Films
There exists a strange reason behind this one, however Disney has neglected to showcase the concept of a loving relationship between a main character and their mother for decades. Bambi's mother is gunned down in the beginning of the film, Ariel's mother is absent, and a large number of the princesses are abused by their stepmothers. This is what we see rather than a representation for so many young fans how the mother-child relationship should work.
It is rumored though, that the reason for many of Disney's films lacking mother figures came from Walt Disney himself, as his mother passed away in a house fire which he felt responsible for. Wracked with pain and guilt he then refused to portray mother figures in his films as an expression of his own loss. Interestingly, the trend has continued after Walt's death.