Teaching our little princes and princesses that life is enchanting and magical is wonderful if a good dose of reality and hard work is also stressed. Although child psychologists and feminists may argue that fantasy is confusing or harmful, I’m an optimist who likes to believe in the possibilities, something children do easily and ever-so naturally.
So with a Mary Poppins skip in my step let’s take a look at a few Disney heroines and see if there is a lesson or two to be learned.
The Little Mermaid’s Ariel, completely alters her appearance, gives up her voice, family, friends and home for the sake of a man she loves only because of his looks – and he has to fall in-love with her for no reason other than what he sees.
Lesson 1 is what not to do if you desire a relationship based on equality and self-worth. Hmm, not such as good start.
Cinderella had a number of imaginary animal friends to whom she turned to for counsel to deal with the harsh conditions of her life. Totally delusional, she crashes the palace ball, loses her slipper and still lands Prince Charming because of her small shoe size.
Lesson 2 is not so fantastical if you consider Princess Kate or Mary. Not that I in any way suggest they are mentally unstable (or have deformed feet for that matter), rather, that dreams sometimes, if rarely for most of us, do come true.
Snow White is simply too pretty for her own good. She escapes death to become a house frau for a family of little men, until another Prince Charming arrives on his white steed to save her.
Lesson 3 suggests that beauty is the key to happiness. If only!
It seems these lessons are not the soundest so time to reinforce that stories are entertainment. They don’t always have an appropriate message but fashion magazines and fast foods can also create a questionable influence if a daily obsession rather than an occasional treat.
Does that mean than every unmarried nanny shouldn’t dream of a widowed captain to serenade her like in The Sound of Music?