One dad reflects on the (bad) lessons Disney films that taught his daughter.
When I ask my daughter who her favorite Disney Princess is, she responds, “All of them!” My daughter is three. So, fair enough.
As the father of a three-year-old girl, however, I do have preferences about Disney Princess films. But, not so much about the princesses. About the men.
Take Beauty and the Beast, for example. Belle is easily my favorite Disney Princess. She takes no shit, reads tons of books, and loves her dad. In fact, the plot begins because Belle wants to save him. I appreciate that last sentiment, I really do, but her father ought to have taught her better.
Belle’s maybe 20 years old in the film. And Maurice is, well, on the decline it appears. She shouldn’t be thinking about switching with him, and he shouldn’t allow it. I know, he puts up a bit of a fight, but I’m not convinced. You don’t let your kid do that.
Also, in order to save Belle, maybe don’t run right to the guy who hates you and has a pervy thing for her and ask him for help.
But while Maurice was incompetent, he wasn’t close to the worst of the lot.
Prince Charming in Cinderella is far worse.
He dances with Cinderella all night, presumably falling in love with her, and doesn’t even know her name at the end of the night. I know I’ll teach my daughter that she shouldn’t even have a second cup of coffee with a guy unless he can address her by name.
And then the following day Charming sends some incompetent servants to find Cinderella instead of going himself. Real commitment there, pal. Not only would his presence have been a tangible display of his feelings, but it also would have made things a lot quicker since he, you know, actually knew what Cinderella looked like.
But, alas, he’s not the worst of them. That’s King Triton, Ariel’s father in The Little Mermaid.
Ariel’s sixteen and acts like it, complete with obsessing over a guy she’s never spoken to and with whom she does not share a genome. But her dad doesn’t exactly do a great job of parenting her through the whole thing.
Triton’s finest moment, when he yells at Ariel to stay away from humans, is negated when he second guesses himself. “Do you think I was too hard on her?” he asks Sebastian. The crab says no, showing that the invertebrate is the only voice of reason in the movie.
And then, at the end, Triton performs an extreme body modification procedure on his daughter so she can be with a guy she’s known for like three days. That’d be like if my daughter was in love with some hipster she met last week and I took her to the mall so she could get gauge earrings.
Sometimes it’s best to ground your daughter for a few weeks.
A few guys have good showings in Disney films. Kristoff recognizes that people must have some shared experience before falling in love. King Fergus tries to help his wife better communicate with Merida.
Credit where it’s due.
But with most of these Disney dudes, well, it’s a good opportunity to teach my daughter to avoid jokers like them.
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