What's Eating Gaelic Disney?

Since she's feeling the pull between adulthood and childhood with college looming large, Finola has been having a movie marathon of all her childhood favorites.  Mostly Disney movies.  I love Disney as much as the next girl.  But I've noticed something insidious about most Disney movies as I catch glimpses of them.

My list (in no particular order):
  • Snow White - prepubescent girl carries no action in the story, things happen to her not because of her, waiting for her prince to come
  • Sleeping Beauty - barely legal girl (story happens on her 16th birthday) carries no action in the story, things happen to her not because of her, waiting for her prince to come
  • Cinderella - girl carries no action in the story, things happen to her not because of her, has to wait for her prince to come
I see a trend here.  Is this what we want our girls to emulate? Moving on . . .
  • The Little Mermaid - here at least she willingly goes along with the evil witch to move the story along, but only because she's waiting for her prince
  • Beauty and the Beast - FINALLY a woman who reads and who's NOT waiting for her prince, carries more of the action, now we're getting somewhere!
  • WALL-E - warning: stalker alert! sure he's a robot, and cute, but still
  • Mulan - a woman trying to protect her father, she really moves the plot, have you noticed this is the only one with a mother?
Don't get me wrong.  I love all things Disney.  As a child, I couldn't wait to turn to ABC on Sunday evenings.  And those Pooh specials on TV!  As a mom, I sewed countless princess costumes for Halloween.

It's only through the prism of impending womanhood for my daughter that I've been able to look at the films with more of a, gasp, don't say it!, feminist eye.  (Throwing out the F-word is almost like slapping a hammer and sickle on my back.  But that's another blog.)

That's when I remember another Disney princess movie that's an amalgamation of several of the different story lines. 
  • Enchanted - begins as an animated movie, turns into live action, the girl who's waiting for her prince discovers what it's like to be a thinking, breathing, strong woman, she ditches the prince for a commoner and starts her own business.  (My only beef is that they wasted the voice talents of Idina Menzel, although Amy Adams does a good job.  But that's another blog.)
Did I get up on the wrong side of the movie house today?  Maybe.  But even princesses need a wake-up call.


  1. Growing up I was not wholesome enough to watch Disney films. The only one that I saw was "The Aristocats," around 1967 or so. It would be interesting to watch some of these films as an adult I guess, although I think Disney is a generally a pretty pernicious company in some ways.

    It sounds like your daughter is a little apprehensive about college and is falling into the familiar to find her center. A year from now I think she will be surprised that she felt this way.

  2. I think my last theatrical experience with Disney was Mary Poppins, which we left with at least an hour remaining, as my dad was getting antsy sitting through all the musical numbers. (This was, of course, before cable networks, let alone DVD or even VHS.) Maybe that’s why I was reading Plato by age 12.