Let me preface by noting I’ve been a Disney fanatic since birth, every biographical report I did in grade school was on Mr. Disney, I go to D Land at least thrice a year, Jiminy Cricket is my hero, and I regularly sing Under the Sea (including all relevant sea creature sound effects) in the shower. Basically, Walt can do no wrong in my eyes. But I saw Tangled the other night, and although I loved every minute of it from the adorable chameleon to the cutest cartoon hero since Fred from Scooby Doo, I’m inclined to pose an observation: Princesses are pansies.
Rapunzel has been grounded from everything except her hairbrush for eighteen years; Snow White cooks for, sings to, and Swiffers up after seven men who spend their days hi-hoing in the jewel mines yet bring her no diamonds; Cinderella has a panic attack at midnight because she’s afraid the Prince will see her hair undone; Sleeping Beauty passes out for decades at the sight of her own blood after pricking her pinky on a needle; Ariel sells her soul for a pair of feet so she can impress the first guy she meets; Belle pouts and laments for days on end until all the household objects in the castle band together and serenade her; and Jasmine needs the full time protection of a tiger, for crying out loud. What is with these broads? What is with these princes that fall for them?
So if Walt’s got it right here – which he always does – I need to quit my job, buy thirty-seven of the exact same dress, grab a couple of squirrels and some bluebirds, find myself a little cottage in the woods with some fairies or elves or something to mooch off of, and then simply walk around brushing my hair and singing until the man on the white steed comes along. This man who will surely be a handsome and charming prince, surely have the last name of Handsome or Charming to prove it, and surely have been looking all his life for a lovely songstress he can wear on his arm for all the royal balls ever after.
Yet now that I really put some thought into it, this all doesn’t sound so bad. It actually sounds a lot like an all-inclusive time share in paradise. No hectic schedules, no dating games, and aside from a wicked queen or stepmother – very little drama. Maybe we are just getting in our own way with our strength and wit and independence. Maybe these princesses had it right all along. Perhaps these shoe-losing, carpet-flying, apple-eating ladies know exactly the right strategy to get the elusive prince out of hiding. It makes me wonder… is Walt really just gallant and old-fashioned or is he truly a feminist genius who has been teaching us the art of manipulation through animation? Either way, I think the answer may be that possibly, just possibly, what we really all need to do is just let down our hair.