A tale as old as time

Rebecca Raves



I am a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, Disney-obsessed fanatic, especially with the Disney Princesses. Their stories hold many underlying meanings and deeper truths that can relate to just about anyone.

Let me backtrack a little.

When Disney came out with Princess Tiana from The Princess and The Frog in 2009 and added her to the list of Disney Princesses, I was livid. Not because she was a black princess, but because in my opinion, no new princess could compare to the original Disney Princesses of Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas and Mulan. And while I wasn’t completely wrong, my way of thinking was. I was raised in a world where we little girls and boys were taught to aspire to Disney Princesses. The stereotype of “someday my prince will come” soon turned into the realization that we need to look deeper at their stories. And here’s why.

Last month I came across a post on Facebook that amazed me. It was eight drawings of a pink giraffe counselor speaking to Disney Princesses as follows:

Aurora – “Let’s talk about consent while you are unconscious.” Belle – “It doesn’t matter how many books he gave you; he’s still your captor.”

Mulan – “Wow, so, you saved China for your father’s approval?” Elsa – “Did you really let it go?”

Ariel – “So … basically you changed your whole self just to fit into his world.”

Cinderella – “Ok … you danced for a couple of hours in a party and now you think he is the love of your life. Tell me more about it.”

Jasmine – “The guy lied to you the entire time and you’re still going to marry him?”

Snow White – “You went to live with seven people you didn’t know, and you got poisoned by food a stranger offered you. I’m simply impressed by your capacity of trusting people.”

So, I wasn’t completely wrong, was I? The new Disney Princesses of Tiana, Rapunzel, Merida, Moana, Elsa and Anna are doing so much more than teaching young girls to depend on a man or seek their approval. They add to the original Disney Princess tales by teaching women empowerment. Consent. Diversity. Being true to who you are. Not taking less than you deserve. Never giving up.

People often ask me why I’m so obsessed with Disney and this is exactly why. Disney has and always will be the best platform for all things in our world. It teaches us to feel, to love, to respect and be yourself. It teaches us to hold onto hope and keep pushing forward.

I want to challenge you to take the time to watch all of the old and new animated Disney Princess movies and look at them from a different perspective. Even the new, live-action movies of Cinderella, Aurora, Belle, Jasmine and Mulan, which differ greatly from their counterparts. When you do, I’d love to hear from you about what you learned from these tales as old as time. Is there another Disney movie outside of the princesses you’ve watched that holds deeper truths? Let me know and I’ll see if this Disney-obsessed fanatic hasn’t already seen it.

REBECCA PESQUEDA is the News Editor of the Pleasanton Express. You may reach her at rpesqueda@pleasantonexpress.com.

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