A Bone to Pick With Disney
I got seriously sidetracked the other day. Here is how it happened: I was sitting at my laptop, wrapping up a couple of interviews and guest blog posts that were nearly due. Out of nowhere, a song from my past reappeared in my brain. So, I did what any teenager with a laptop and a song stuck in her head would due. I looked it up and listened to it on Youtube. And then I went from diligently working in silence, to sitting there belting out “I LOOK ONCE MORE!!!! Just around the riverbend!!!” like some kind of tone-deaf three-year-old. And after I sang every word to that song, I noticed another Disney song that I recognized on the sidebar. And I clicked it.
To make a long story short, I spent the better half of the afternoon singing Disney songs and re-living the first ten years of my life. But after the eighth or ninth musical number, indignation started settling in. The more I listened to these catchy little time-snares, the more problems I had with Disney. Because, let’s face it, these songs probably did not teach me the best life lessons when I was six years old.
Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Disney musicals. I’ll always be a kid at heart, and I’ll always remember every stinkin’ word to “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”. However, below is just a few of the many, many lies that Disney has fed me through those visually appealing fairy tales:
- First off, Disney princesses gave me unrealistic expectations about hair. I learned that hair is supposed to be full, shiny, and well-shaped, and should never, ever move unless it is tossed over your shoulder in an alluring manner. Never should it be worn in a ponytail, or a messy bun, unless maybe you are a mistreated stepdaughter slaving away for a bunch of unattractive brats and the whole ponytail/messy bun thing is a part of your overall look. Then I guess it’s okay.
- And also about men. According to Mulan’s hunky guy Shane, to be a man you must: 1) Be as swift as the coursing river, 2) Possess the force of a great typhoon, 3) Be as strong as a raging fire, and 4) Remain as mysterious as the dark side of the moon. No wonder I haven’t met the perfect guy yet! If I keep judging men by how swift and river-like they are, I’m pretty sure I will never find love. 😦
- The spontaneous singing in Disney movies is also something that did not translate very well into my own life. I tried it once. Randomly singing about something in public, that is. No one joined in. The lobsters did not orchestrate a perfect, sea-creature filled orchestra. There were no chirping birds or singing tea pots. Just awkward, judging stares.
- And you know what? It is totally unfair that Disney characters get such amazing names. There are no “Ann”s or “Mildred”s or “Bob”s in Disney movies. Instead they have to be all fancy and name their heroines things like “Jasmine” and “Nala” and “Ariel”. When I was little, I begged my mom to call me “Aurora” and she flat-out denied my request. Come on, Mom! How did you expect me to be happy with a name like “Rachel” when my hero was named after the glorious red-streaked dawn? I still don’t know how I ever got over that one…
- Dangerous pets are another thing that get a really bad rep in real life, but work out just fine in Disney movies. No one ever questioned Cinderella playing with rodents, Pocahontas jumping off waterfalls with a racoon, or Snow White sharing her home with squirrels and rabbits. Jasmine had a stinkin’ tiger. So I don’t think any parent should be able to tell their child that large dogs don’t make safe pets when we just saw a princess cuddling with a wildcat.
- For years, after watching Disney movies, I also believed that you could see a guy once, pine after him for weeks, sell your voice to a sea witch, and leave your home to chase after him, and everything would turn out okay. Or you could fall in love with a thief and convince your dad to take in a wanted convict as a son-in-law with little to no problems. Or dress as a boy, join the army, disappoint your commanding officer, save your country, and end up making the disappointed officer love you anyway. Now I’m not so sure if any of these would work out in real life…
But you know what the saddest, most grievous problem I have with Disney movies is? That I totally fell for every one of them. And that I still love them. No matter how frustrated I get at those crazy chicks with their perfect hair jumping off waterfalls and cuddling with tigers, I still know all the words to every song. And I still thinking flying on a magic carpet would be the best first date ever, and I still get choked up when I think about a girl sacrificing her life and potential happiness to save her father and show love to someone who never knew it.
Shame on you, Disney! I don’t know how you do it…