I was at Disneyland two weekends ago with my boyfriend, and we got into a heated discussion over the gender stereotypes Disney has imposed on the generations of families who know Disney and his legacy. Great way to kill an hour in line for Space Mountain, huh?
I tried to express to him that the Disney Princess’ and their stories negatively portray women in many ways. One being, “happily ever after” comes solely in the form of marrying a man. Cinderella, Aladdin, the Little Mermaid to name a few. And even Pocahontas, who finds her happiness not in marriage, but in a (white) man.
My favorite movie growing up was the Little Mermaid. Little did I understand the true nature of the story as a child. The story of a girl named Ariel who is the princess of King Triton. She gives up her voice for legs and a vagina, so that she could be with a man that she doesn’t know and watches from afar. What the heck?
What message is Disney sending to our girls?
To make my point, we went into the Emporium Store at the end of Main Street. I had him just briefly take a look at the store and point to where he might have thought the “girl’s” section was.
He spotted the bright pink section and pointed in that direction.
I said, “Very good” and had him lead me to that section.
I had him compare what was sold in the boys and girls side.
On the girl’s side: Dolls, princess dress-up dresses, tiaras, plastic Princess pink and purple jelly sandals, “baby” Disney character stuffed animals wrapped in baby blankets for “mommy” simulation, and plastic jewelry.
On the boy’s side: Swords, fake pistols, action figures, light up twirly Buzz Lightyears, baseball caps, Buzz and Woody dress up, and Lightning McQueen Race Cars.
He took one look at me and said, “You’re right.”