People blamed Barbie for a number of things, and while it is true that her dimensions are a little unrealistic, I had a number of Barbie dolls as a child and whatever body image issues I have had throughout my life, I don't blame the dolls for any of them. I feel the same way about the Disney line. Actually, I'm a little more defensive about the Disney line because of all of the lessons that I did learn. And those lessons? Every single one of them has held true throughout my life. I have also enjoyed some of the lessons offered up by the newer princesses. I am happy to share some of them with you.
1. It is perfectly okay to be a woman who thinks for herself. Belle was an outcast in her town because she was different, but she didn't hide who she was just to fit in.
2. You're not always going to like your boss. In fact, sometimes they might even be a real witch. The wicked stepmother in Snow White was an actual witch. Snow White didn't much like her, but this witchy woman was the queen, so Snow White had to do as she was told. And she did.
3. Sometimes men will lie to you to try to impress you. Have you ever seen Aladdin?
4. It is also perfectly okay to be a woman who is strong. Mulan pretended to be a man a joined the army in her father's stead in order to save his life. Yes, when they found out that she lied and she was actually a woman they kicked her out, but she remained strong, saved the emperor and brought honor to her family.
5. It's important to know self defense. Even if your primary mode of self defense is to hit intruders with a frying pan. Nice shot, Rapunsel.
6. You have to work hard for what you want. Sometimes it will seem impossible to realize your dreams, but you if you give up and stop working hard for them, then you are certainly never going to get what you want. Tiana worked multiple jobs to save up enough money to buy her own restaurant, just to have it bought out from under her, but she didn't give up.
7. Just because someone has a different skin color, a different language, or different customs from you, doesn't mean they are crazy, weird, or a savage. Thank you, Pocahontas.
8. Sometimes all you need to put you in a better mood is a new pair of shoes. Now if only they would appear for free as a gift from a fairy godmother, that would be even better.
9. Not everybody is going to play fair. The Little Mermaid learned that one the hard way.
10. Yes, pretty girls get treated differently. It's not a fun lesson to learn, but it's still true.
11. But don't worry, because looks aren't everything. Just ask the Beast.
12. You shouldn't go around touching things that aren't yours without asking. You never know when one of them is going to be a poisoned spindle.
So while other people may complain that the princesses teach girls to sit around and wait on a prince who may never come and that they need to be skinny and pretty, I beg to differ. I say that while the lessons I learned were fun to see played out on the screen, they were backed up by things I was taught at home. So maybe instead of always looking for a scapegoat to point the finger at, some people should just let their kids be kids sometimes.
And by the way, if your five year old has body issues, I HIGHLY doubt that she got that from watching a cartoon character. Now if you want to cut off her exposure to the entire Kardashian family, anybody with the last name of Lohan, or fashion magazines until she is old enough to stand the general absurdity of it all, that I'm all for. But back off when it comes to Disney animation.