Any of you who follow me on Facebook had to know this post was coming. Everyone has issues that they feel are important. And we all have our soapbox moments. But me? Well, I like to perch up on the soapbox and make myself comfortable. I like a nice, long stay. It's cozy up here, after all.
So here is a soapbox moment(s) from yours truly...and it has to do with Princesses and the modern notion that it is somehow subservient or old fashioned to believe in these fairy tales. I disagree with this idea. In fact, I am not sure there is anything more feminine than our Disney Princesses. They exemplify everything that is beautiful, strong and pure in womanhood.
Let's take Cinderella. Here's a girl who spent the better part of her life as a servant...practically a slave. She was afforded very little by way of material things, yet she sang a song every morning, optimistically hoping for better times to come. Most of us would just wallow and complain about all the things we didn't have. Not only does she refuse to succumb to that mentality, she is patient and endures the criticism of those who should offer her love and support. She forgives. She demonstrates self control and poise in the face of her adversity. And when the opportunity does come for her to break free and find a new measure of happiness, she takes it. She doesn't stubbornly shun it, playing a martyr. She doesn't allow her resentment and her past to hold her back from a happily ever after. She is offered a happy ending and she embraces it. Good job Cinderella...oh, and Prince Charming has a horse. SOLD!
Okay, how about Ariel. Now here is a headstrong girl who has never been satisfied with living the life her father has planned. Talk about being a liberated woman! And of all things under the sea, the thing she loves most is to sing. Yet she is willing to give up her voice (read: her dream to be a pop star) in order to be with the man she loves. After rescuing him from a hurricane at sea (no small feat...one word, Katrina), she falls for him and is willing to sacrifice her family, her voice and the life that has been planned for her, to be with her love. Sometimes loving someone else means giving something that means a lot to you for something (or someone) that means more. Since the present day sixteen-year-old is mostly preoccupied with texting and twittering, I don't think that taking a page out of Ariel's book would be a bad idea. Just sayin.
Belle. I love Belle. Belle is probably my favorite. Belle doesn't follow the crowd. She loves to read. She longs for adventure. Seriously, you want to see a brave woman? Show me one who is more concerned with being true to herself than being true to the trends of society. Belle isn't out there looking to land a nice cushy life complete with a cookie cutter home filled with pottery barn furniture. In fact, she turns down the town hunk because he happens to be a total doopy. After this she takes off to rescue her father facing down wolves and talking kitchen utensils. I don't know about you, but that would about do me in. Then she not only looks beyond the image, she also overlooks an awful temper (confronting it only when needed) and through patience, tolerance and long suffering, she finds her truest love. Not every prince comes in the same package. Relationships take patience and forgiveness and time. Belle knew that and exemplified it.
Mulan...not a princess, but a pretty tough chick. For real. Risking your life to save your father? Most of us struggle to remember to call our dad's on their birthday. Not only that, her dad had pretty much told her he was ashamed of her because she hadn't landed a guy or won over a crabby old woman. And she STILL risked literally EVERYTHING she had to save her dad. Color me impressed. PS. Her man also rides a horse...bonus points.
I'm sure that Snow White has many amiable qualities (not the least of which is that her Prince rides a horse) but her voice annoys the ever loving daylights out of me so we will skip her...Rapunzel and Jasmine both fell in love with a poor man on the run from the law. Aurora's true love was enough to wake her from a coma and Tiana worked her buns off, only to realize that nothing can be more fulfilling than building a family.
The bottom line is that Disney has given us a legacy of amazing ladies for our daughters to respect and admire. I am not sure when it became so sub-par to simply choose love over living the "dream". When did we decide that a girl has to be single to be strong? I haven't been married for a long time. I still consider myself a newlywed (11 years, in the grand scheme of things, is pretty small) but I can say that, in my limited experience, it's not always an easy thing to be a wife and a mother. Sometimes love, even true love, is hard. It takes strength and patience and forgiveness and sacrifice. And THAT, my dear friends, is what princesses are made of.