Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Disney princesses

the gorgeous Disney princess designer addition

I tend to get really irritated when people talk negatively about Disney. I feel quite protective both of the cooperation and the memory of the man himself. I grew up with Walt introducing 'The Wonderful world of Disney' on the TV and remember my own passion for animation being sparked during one such episode when it was revealed to me that animation is all just moving drawings ("Whaaaaaattt? So you're saying I could bring something to LIFE?" Childhood Jess screamed.)

My own experience with the Disney princesses begins with Cinderella breaking into song and telling me about dreaming and wishing and I haven't stopped since. Then, when I was at the perfect age for absorbing the maximum Disney influence The Little Mermaid came out on the big screen. Those two have remained my favourite princesses to date.

Recently Sera has gotten her own form of the princess bug. Disney Junior has recently released 'Sofia the First - once upon a princess' (Sofia la principessa - C'era una Volta una principessa) and I'm currently being subjected to watch it 2 or 3 times a day.

sweet Sofia is new to being a princess
She is also carrying around 3 princess dolls (Cinderella, Aurora and Belle) from a playdough set where forms squeeze the dolls and create new dresses for them. She sleeps with them, eats with them and even bathes with them. The only place they don't join here is at nursery where I'm sure they'd disappear into the realm of lost toys.... They do however wait in the car for the end of the day.

In re watching the movies as a parent I've found that I'm noticing completely different things than I did while studying animation or in my own childhood.

Cinderella seems to be an eternal optimist, and kind in every way but a bit of a pushover for today's standards. It's easy for us to criticise her saying she shouldn't put up with her step-mother's bossing her around, but presuming she doesn't have a choice (the narrator at the beginning of the film clearly states that she has been abused before arriving at the stage of being a house maid), hasn't she dealt with adversity in the best of ways? Making friends where she can find them (in the pests that share the chateau) and treating her adversaries only with kindness, Cinderella wakes every day to a cloud of hope that her dreams may come true. Wow... My daughter can learn that!

And the new kid on the scene, Sofia, is pretty great as well. She's honest about her short-comings and naive but is able to find ways to fix her problems and mistakes, and hopefully to learn from them (time will tell as the actual series starts mid-may here). Her family, and royal lineage comes from two presumably widowed or divorced people coming together to form a new family, and though Disney and fairy tales in general have always dealt with similar situations, never in such a positive light. Have they realised how many little kids were terrified of the possibility of new step-parents being cruel?

What do you think of Disney princesses? Who are your favourites and why? What can we learn from them?

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