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Disney Princesses and Our Young Girls: 8 Negative Psychological Effects


There is hardly any child who did not grow up hearing Disney stories. Disney, whether in the form of stories or movies, has always been a part of everyone's upbringing. Disney and our young girls have a special bond. Young girls fantasize about the princesses in these fairytales and aspire to live lives similar to theirs.


This may not appear to be a major issue since fairytales are common among young girls, but the long-term consequences could be damaging. Since girls are more sensitive and pick up on things faster than boys, these stories can have a more profound and long-lasting impact on their minds.


The harmful effects these stories are having on youngsters are frequently disregarded by parents. However, if you thoroughly review and analyze these narratives, you will realize how flawed they are.



1. Imparting Wrong Interpretation


Almost every Disney fairytale includes a narrative of a damsel in distress. This damsel is usually a pretty princess who needs saving. However, this isn’t a problem. The real problem begins when they represent a princess as just beauty with no brains.


You must have seen movies or heard tales like Cinderella or Snow White in your childhood. But if you read or watch them again as a grown-up you’ll realize how controversial they are. The princesses are shown as stunning and dumb at the same time.


They show an evil stepmother who is jealous of her daughter’s beauty and wants to get rid of her. Most of Disney's stories imply that stepmothers are evil and only mean harm. This keeps a permanent place in children's heads, and they think that stepmothers are supposed to be evil. They build an evil image in their heads whenever they hear the word "stepmother." This is wrong, and it makes them misjudge.



2. Setting Unrealistic Beauty Standards


The next false interpretation they create is that princesses are supposed to be picture-perfect. With rosy cheeks, snowy skin, skinny figures, and gorgeous hair, they turn everyone's heads with their beauty. This gives an inferiority complex to girls who do not possess all these features.


This factor of making Disney princesses the symbol of beauty has created unrealistic beauty standards in our society that get most girls feeling unworthy and less than the rest. If you remember Cinderella, you’ll know how Prince Charming fell for her just because of how beautiful she looked and failed to recognize her once the magic wore off and she was in her real attire.


This creates a false interpretation in young girls’ heads that you need a gorgeous gown, a perfect hairdo, and pretty glass slippers to look beautiful; otherwise, you’ll look hideous.



3. Relying on Male Power


Another negative impact these tales have is the concept of having a prince save you from trouble. Cinderella could and should have run away with all her animal friends and led a happy life rather than waiting on a prince to end her misery. Worst, a prince who couldn’t recognize her without a makeover and had to try on a shoe for every girl in town.


Tales like "The Little Mermaid" or "Cinderella" revolve around a princess whose only goal is to get a prince. This has made girls think that their only goal is to look pretty and impress boys.


This also implies that you need to rely on a man and wait for your prince to end your troubles and make your life beautiful. Moreover, it suggests girls always be dependent on a man and never get independent and create happiness.



4. Lack of Determination


Princesses in Disney tales have no real purpose in life; they have no aim, and they aren’t fighting for anything good. This creates a bad influence since children start idealizing these characters. The excessive reliance on male power has made them vulnerable and lesser creatures than men.


Almost every fairy tale implies a pretty girl that needs to be saved, and of course, it has to be a prince. There are hardly any stories that involve a common girl fighting for her life and making herself independent.



5. Incorrect Depiction of Love


These tales have also created fake portrayals of love and other emotions. For instance, Prince Florian fell for a dead girl lying in her casket only because she was as white as snow and had cheeks as red as a rose. Prince Philip fell for a cursed girl who’s been sleeping for ages, again because she was pretty.


This implies that to be loved, you only need to be pretty. They don’t require anything else like character, behavior, moral values, honesty, or kindness to take into account. And then they call it true love, putting the wrong idea of love in children’s amateur minds.



6. Perfection is an Illusion


Secondly, almost all of the Disney fairy tales end with the phrase "and they lived happily ever after." These tales make everything seem perfect, which is okay in the sense that kids shouldn’t know all the harsh realities of life, but this fake image of life may cause trouble for their future.


It is high time that we teach our kids that happily ever after is just an illusion and that life is not and will never be perfect, but that it is okay. Imperfections are what make life beautiful and worth living.



7. No Concept of Consent


Another negative impact of Disney tales is the concept of consent. And believe me when I say this is the worst thing Disney Tales has ever done. If you ponder upon the early Disney classics like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White, you’ll realize they all follow the same pattern. A pretty girl gets saved by a handsome prince. We’ve already discussed all this.


But the thing that’s the most troubling is the lack of consent in these stories. Prince Florian in Snow White kissed a dead girl just because he was attracted to her beauty. Prince Philip kissed a girl while she was cursed and in a deep sleep. There are no boundaries, no respect, and no morality in these tales, and they are just ruining the heads of young boys and girls.


And the worst of all is that these princesses fell for them and married them. It’s hard to understand what Disney was trying to show or what the real purpose of these stories was. They implement the idea that girls have no brains and no choice of their own. They cannot be smart or heroic. All a girl has to be is pretty and innocent, and her life is set.



8. No Moral or Life Lesson


These fairytales lack determination, intelligence, a sense of purpose, and morals. They are filled with unrealistic expectations from life, impractical beauty standards, excessive dependence on men, and the sheer dumbness of female characters.


Not every girl can have white skin, long blonde hair, a skinny physique, and a beautiful voice. But when you feed these tales to your girls from childhood, this is the idea of beauty they get. And when they fail to achieve this, they become depressed and fall into an inferiority complex.


Additionally, these stories aren’t motivating young girls to become something and achieve something on their own; they show a lack of motivation and determination. Instead of these stories, you must narrate Sahabah's stories to your girls.


According to these tales, a girl's life should revolve around just four things:

  1. A prince

  2. Beauty

  3. Love

  4. Marriage

You may not see the negative impacts it is having on your daughter, but deep down, these false beliefs have been sewn into their minds and may come out stronger once they are older.



How Disney is Improvising their Flawed Narrative?


However, Disney is improving their stories and improvising the narratives they tell. In recent years, Disney has produced some of the best movies that you must show your kids, especially girls. Movies like Moana, Raya and the Last Dragon, and Encanto are all perfect examples of how tales for young girls should be. It’s almost hard to believe that a story like Brave came from the same production house that made Snow White.


These recent movies show women to be strong, fight for their rights, not wait on a prince, prioritize their family over anything, and have strong moral lessons. Just as,

  • Moana tries to protect her family and her hometown without relying on a prince.

  • Raya sets out on a journey to bring her father and her kingdom back all by herself.

  • Mirabel’s purpose is to keep her family together and not let them fall apart, even if she doesn’t have any special powers.

  • Encanto shows the real magic is in kindness and good intentions.


Disney Ditching their Old Notion


The recent Disney movies like Encanto and Moana do not follow the old criteria for a princess set by Disney. None of the recent female characters dress a certain way, like in gowns and tiaras and stuff. They have common skin colors, normal hair, and ordinary physiques, but they are still graceful because of their compassionate nature and determination.


Furthermore, if you notice, the recent Disney movies don’t have a prince. All they show is a common girl setting out on a journey to make this world a better and safer place, all by herself. If your kids love Disney as all kids do, these are the movies to show them as they encourage good moral values and teach valuable lessons rather than the tales of a prince falling for a beautiful princess at first sight.



Takeaway


It's not harmful to let your kids watch all these controversial movies unless you have explained them all and they are old enough to grasp and understand things. But the better is to make them watch morally made animations rather than those Disney princesses who only wait for their princes.


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