Reading Anne Vasquez’s entry about her son’s love of Cars and what he’s learned from that movie made me think about my own decade of raising daughters on Disney movies.
They have learned much from the revered Disney Princesses, including a few lessons you might not expect.
1. If a short, grumpy guy tells you not to open the door for “nothing or nobody,” do not open the door for a scary, ugly woman selling apples. Especially not if you already know that someone with magical powers is trying to kill you. This is stupid. It is good to be smart and take care of yourself. It is not good to open the door to strangers. My girls don’t want to be like Snow White, because she is not smart.
2. If a big, hairy guy imprisons you in an enchanted castle, the way you can tell if you’re going to be OK is to check out the library. A well-read man may have depths of feelings and knowledge he’s not showing. You just have to open your mind and your heart. My girls have always wanted to be like Belle, because she is smart and she likes to read. She gets to know her prince before falling in love with him. And she doesn’t go for the first handsome guy who wants to marry her.
3. Kindness counts. Cinderella is kind to her animal friends and even her mean old stepsisters, and look where it gets her. We’re not too sure what happens after the slipper fits, but we know she had a great time at the party and her life is definitely looking up. My girls are, quite rightly, a little concerned about her running off to marry a perfect stranger. We hope it works out for her.
4. Careful who you bargain with. Poor Ariel almost loses the thing she wants most because of her lousy negotiation skills and poor judgment in her business arrangement with the Sea Witch. Thank goodness love triumphs, but Ariel got lucky and also had a loving dad to rescue her.
5. Girls kick butt. And they also come up with some really good plans. Mulan fights as well as most of the guys, and she out-thinks them, too, thus saving all of China. Not a bad day’s work. It’s good to think before you act.
6. Think for yourself. Maybe a poor, honest man is better than a greedy, rich one. That’s what Jazmine thinks, and for her trouble, she gets to ride on a carpet to see the world and meet a really funny blue genie who makes wishes come true.
And finally, what does Disney have against mothers? Have you noticed that not one – not one! – of these princesses has a mother? What is up with that? My daughters know that they are luckier than any Disney Princess because they have me.