The “Disney” Disorder

There is a new, possibly lethal, disorder.

No, it’s not “orthorexia” or “drukerxia”. Nope, its Disney Princess Syndrome.

Symptoms: a single parent, anorexia (or unhealthy bodies), virginity and purity, Caucasian skin tone (with the exception of Pocahontas’ skin being a sort of mush of every ethnicity on the planet), a lack of an identity, the ability to fall in love in five minutes and lastly, an unending desire to complete their ultimate goal; to be married.

Wow, no wonder some girls are messed up these days!

Lets take a look at the most commonly affected women:

Snow White: I should give snow white some slack since she’s from the 1930’s (before modern feminism). She has no biological mother, so she has an evil stepmother. Naturally, the step mother is nasty looking and inherently evil (Muammar Gaddafi was a step mother, did you know that? True story). The step-mother; vain, sexually aware (she’s mature, single and takes care of herself) and this is “evil”.  The good and pure (wink wink, virgin) Snow White knows nothing of sex, hell she even looks like a kid. She loves housework, as any good girl does, and is only saved from death in the woods by the male woodcutter and the dwarfs. Like I said, it’s easy to have a go at Snow White for being sexist. I mean really, truly, mind boggingly easy! Anyhow the Disney Princess Syndrome is obviously present here, albeit excusable give the time period.

Cinderella: Clearly, beauty is an issue here. The step mother and sisters are ugly. The step sisters are both flat-chested and the step mother is barely pushing a B cup. All the symptoms Disney Princess Syndrome are present: to be married, obtain unrealistic beauty, virginity, dead mother, a lack of any real character beyond being a woman, a bizarre desire to sing, and the easy love. 

Ariel: Wow, where do I start!? For the record, I am a big fan of the original little mermaid. I’m a bit of a Hans Christian Andersen nerd, and in the original, she must either kill the prince or perish. She choses the later. Anyhow…..Disney does things differently! Once again, motherless mermaid princess, falls in love with a sailor (a twist on actual mermaid tales where it’s the sailor who falls for the seductive mermaid). Ariel (who might I remind you is 16), can’t get the prince because she can’t walk on land. The obvious solution is to get legs. She does; from her evil, older, fat, alternative-mother woman sorcerer. For the legs she exchanges her voice. She gives up her voice, her mermaid family/friends, and entire way of life for a dude. And now she still has to get handsome Eric to fall in love with her without her voice. How you ask? When ya get ’em, spread ’em .Classic.

Belle: Actually, I love Belle. She reminds me of….me! No mother, a little over protective of her father, likes books, her waist is almost as wide as her head! Holy crap could this be it? Could this be the first Disney Princess Syndrome breakthrough recovery? Meh…..kinda.  In the beginning, the Beast (in human form) refuses entry to his castle to an ugly old woman who it turns out is beautiful sorcerer (typical) and punishes him for being such a cold, vain douhce-bag. And thus the Beast is born.So what’s the problem?  Belle gets traumatized by Beast a few time and yet she sticks it out, eventually turning the abusive Beast into the handsome Prince whom she marries. Well, again marriage saves the day! When do these girls go off to lead their own lives? My kind of Belle would have told the Beast to go fuck a rose and walked out. So maybe belle is “semi-recovered” but she’s still with the man who locked up her father in the dungeon. Tisk tisk.

Jasmine: Ugh! Once again, bad body representation. Jasmine has a teeny waist, even smaller feet and hands (and quite sexualised for a Disney film with that skimpy outfit). Once again Jasmine has no mother to speak of (GIVE THESE WOMEN SOME MOTHERS ALREADY!). Anyhow, the main problem here is that, in a reverse from the earlier Princess films, Jasmine uses sex to win the day. In the end battle with Jafar Jasmine is kept as a pseudo sex slave, but to contribute to saving the day uses her body to distract Jafar. So what? Girls can’t fight? Thats the man’s job. But she sure can use her sex to distract the bad guy…and thats about all she can do. Jasmine still maintains that absurd bobble-head body, and supposedly Arab, or perhaps Persian. I never know for sure, Disney’s very wishy washy on ethnicity.

Ok, sarcasm aside. You’r probably asking yourself, “But, Eden! These are just movies for entertainment! Lighten up!”.

And who am I to say that Disney should change. These princesses had been a cash cow for ages! Perhaps the Disney shareholders would throw a fit if the formula changed. Who knows.

In the meantime, I’m still surprised Aladdin didn’t ask for a million whore as one of his wishes. Or better yet, you know what better than a million whores?????

A billion.

Ok, so what do you think about the Disney Princess Syndrome? Do you have a favorite character (hell, it can be a talking crab for all I care).


35 thoughts on “The “Disney” Disorder

  1. One could argue…that these virgin princesses really just wanted to get laid, not married.

    Anyway. My least favorite princess was Cinderella. The girl sings to rats. She clearly is cuckoo, and I don’t understand why the prince fell in love with her…they barely even speak! All they do is make goo-goo eyes and sing, and then he lusts over her stinky glass slipper. There is just something so wrong with this picture.

    You forgot to mention Sleeping Beauty, who dreams about some prince and then…well, that’s all she did. She dreamed. The prince did all the work. The idiot could not even control herself from putting her damn finger on the spindle. Didn’t anyone tell her not to play with sharp things?

    My favorite Disney character so far was Mulan, but she doesn’t fit in the princess category. I also loved Anastasia.

    • I always love your comments! Can you guess where I got the idea for this post! (hint it involves a birthday) Anyhow, mulan kicked some ass and I love her for it. But again she has to marry her commander or whoever he was. Its gross. Although technically not a princess, I like E.V.E from Wall-E. Of course, the one time disney leaves the female without a husband, its a robot.

  2. I hate these crazy motherless Disney girl meets gut stories. So over it. I like Shrek and Toy Story, even though I am not sure those are Disney.

  3. I guess that’s why they invented Shrek to combat some of the ‘issues’ that you pointed out. But I don’t like Fiona though. heh

  4. i was immediately reminded of what sophia said… mulan. my friends told me that the original poem about mulan has zero resemblance to the disney movie. her ethnicity is not confusing so the whole movie is obviously drenched with cliched stereotypes about the chinese.

    one of my favourite characters is iago, jafar’s sidekick.


    I can not express over the internet how happy I am that you posted about Disney. I’m so freaking tired of reading adult women’s blogs that swoon over the Disney Princesses. I’ve attempted to comment on the negative aspects of D.P.s (I mean, Women Studies rip apart Disney constantly and with just reason) but I always get comment replies that support Disney fully. So many Disney movies are still completely racist/sexist/heteronormative/etc. I don’t get it.

    Anyway thanks again!

  6. “My kind of Belle would have told the Beast to go fuck a rose and walked out.” HA this was pretty much the most amazing thing I’ve read all week.

    Yeah, I’ve long been pretty disturbed by Disney and its two-dimensional portrayal of what it means to be a successful woman, especially since its influence is so pervasive amongst American youth. But we grow up and we’re still fed the same message, right? Sex & the City, Desperate Housewives – it’s all about getting the guy as your free pass to happiness. But Wendy from Peter Pan was pretty hardcore, no? She was my fav…and she managed to rock a nightgown like nobody’s business. I guess she did have to be rescued at the end, though. At least she left Peter, that immature effer.

    On an unrelated note, I should have detected the animal freak in me from a young age, based on all of my Disney character crushes: Robin Hood, Basil of Baker Street, and adult Bambi, oh my! Even had a little thing for Baloo.

    • I loved loved loved Baloo! And I had a crush on the “tramp” from “Lady and the Tramp”. All the “princes”were rich which pisses me off too. “tramp” was a stray dog. Wow, I’m pretty twisted, arent I?

      • oh my g, tramp was HOT. anyone unwilling to admit that is just lying to herself.

  7. Interesting post, Eden.

    You gave this some thought and a twist I never would have come up w/ on my own…but I can see your points. Interesting….

    Off to ponder…

    Loving the iphone, btw! Saw your tweets. Trying to get my tweetdeck working properly to reply to tweets. Always something, i swear!

  8. What about Rapunzel? All that hair must be symbolic of something. And Hansel & Gretel…that witch and her EVIL food/candy!

    Interesting though that if you read the originals of most of these stories they are much gorier and scarier than the Americanized versions.

    Yay for Dr. Seuss and Charles M. Schulz.

    Never had the “Disney” Disorder…just the other -exias. Lucky me 🙂

  9. My favorite is Belle from Beauty and the Beast. She’s always been my fave and seems to be the most down-to-earth ‘princess’ of the bunch. Pretty much how I am, so I guess she was the one I could relate to the most. I wasn’t a tomboy growing up, but I surely wasn’t into pink or princesses either.

  10. i never realized that none of the princesses had mothers!! what’s the psychology behind that anyway?! this was really well-written by the way, and i think these things are often taken too lightly. it’s not just “entertainment” because little kids will watch these films and idealize the characters; they become a part of their lives and even their own identities. we have to stay awake and aware regarding what we’re pushing on all the little ones that don’t know any better yet!

  11. Uh wow. I guess I never really thought about any of this. But seriously? Why don’t any of them have mothers? That is weird. Probably because, seeing as how they don’t have any good female figure to look up to, they basically all end up as prostitutes. Or completely sexualized beings who feel like they need a man to make them happy. Bullshit if you ask me.

  12. When I was a kid, I though that the Prince Charming in all of the fairy tales/Disney movies was the same guy, and I would get PISSED that he had a different girlfriend in every kingdom…

    Love this post, nice analysis! 😉

    • true, his hair color changed but every prince looked the same! With the exception of “Beast” of course, who look more like a character out of twilight.

  13. This was very enlightening Eden! There really is a “formula” to these Disney princesses, that I’d never realized. And I’m not very in favor of them anymore. If I have a girl, she might be deprived of seeing these movies……..Haha!

    And seriously? Why do they ALL not have mothers? Sketchy….

  14. Awwww… I love Disney though! Haha but i do agree with you about Ariel though. She’s only 16 and Erik is like 22 haha. But then again pochahontis was only 12 in the real story. But I do love the movie The Little Mermaid. The songs are catchy too! 😀
    Oh but dude you left out Aurora (sleeping beauty) but i guess she kinda falls under the Snow White category.
    I would say my favorite Disney girl is Belle also. She’s more independent than them all.
    Oh and the mother thing is totally weird! More Disney characters without mums:
    The kid from The Sword in the Stone, Nemo, the little mouse girl from The Great Mouse Detective, bambi (well she got shot) Quasimodo, (well his mom got killed by frollo)
    Jeez how cruel.

  15. Eden- this is one of my favorite posts of yours, ever. It reminds me a lot of this psych of women class I took back in college. Yes, sometimes you’re kind of overthinking things and being “too cynical” about the media, but that’s better than not analyzing it at all, for sure.

    Favorite line? “tell the Beast to go fuck a rose.” hahahahahaha
    Happy Sunday Girlie 🙂

  16. I am sadly the byproduct of all those Disney movies. I definitely grew up thinking when you find your man things will magically just work out and you’ll live happily ever after…HA! It’s also probably why I can’t stop singing to the little squirrels and birds outside my house, side effect of the disorder they fail to warn you about.
    PS – Was anyone else disturbed Snow White was living with a bunch of male midgets??? What writer came up with that crap??

  17. Actually, I’ve always liked princess-less Disney movies the best. My favorite one is Robin Hood which is with animals. My favorite Disney heroine is Mulan, but she’s not a princess … I’ve also loved Belle, though, for her love of books.

  18. Interesting observations: even as a kid, I never liked any of the princesses. I never noticed the complete absence of mothers though, nor the fact that even Belle succumbs to marriage as a solution to lack of fulfilment in life. Mind you, when I was eight I was in love with the Beast so I can’t talk.

    My favourite character was always Iago, although I did like Scar’s cutting sarcasm and wit too.


  19. “When ya get ‘em, spread ‘em .”

    Just read your post out loud (aloud? i never know) to my sister and hubs. I’ve also wondered where the hell the mothers are. And I’ve always wondered why the have to fall in love. When I nannyed, my five year old hardcore loved Disney and I just wanted to shake her. But, its true – I love the Little Mermaid. Belle rocks, too. I guess the problem is we never teach our girls to be ok with them. I know this is a complete aside (and a novel) but this is my main issue with babyshowers. Why must we do this gender thing? Why can’t we just let children be and let them figure out what we like. But, I digress….

    Damn, now I want to watch The Little Mermaid.

  20. LOVE this post! I’m a film geek and think Disney has a significant influence in childhood. One that’s amended and updated, often, but vestiges remain. Take Beauty and the Beast– girls want the bad boy so they can turn him into a prince. When the Phantom of the Opera movie came out, it was kind of gross how girls wanted Christine to stay with the psychotic stalker who strangles people for fun and has a life-sized Christine doll in his cave.

    I always hated Ariel…maybe it was the competitiveness over the red hair. Cinderella was a wuss. You can’t entirely blame Aurora from Sleeping Beauty though…I’d be naive too if I was raised by three old ladies in the woods with only forest critters for friends.

    But this made me think of some other Disney females…

    Nala from Lion King was technically a princess (or at least a queen by the end of the film). She didn’t screw around…she left to fix things, and tried to drag Simba’s pansy ass back to the Pridelands. Actually, in the original cut (and in the musical) she also left Pride Rock because Scar was skeeving on her. Early 90’s Disney just thought it would be to controversial. Nala always took down Simba in a scrap, and was tearing hyenas to bits in the climax.

    Pocahontas was pretty cool. It can be tough to stand up to your dad. It’s even tougher if he’s slathered in war paint and holding a huge-ass club. Plus, she’s the only Disney princess who gets a real kiss. That John Smith makeout session was steeeeamy by Disney standards.

    Esmeralda was way ballsier in the movie than in the book. And she got a hussy dance! No mommy, but no daddy either. Oh, and she has to get some props for being the only Disney princess to spur the villain into a rape fantasy song. Then again, Hunchback of Notre Dame was just amazing…aside from the dancing gargoyles.

    Then there’s Meg from Hercules. I liked that she was snarky. But she lost points for lusting after Hercules. He was like Greece’s answer to Smallville. Especially considering the real Hercules was all bewitched by Hera and too busy slaughtering his family and seeking atonement to bother chasing tail.

    Lastly, Mulan! She just kicks ass. I can’t give her a hard time for falling in love with the army captain. She saw him shirtless. And they had all that time to wrestle in army training.

    • Lol Mimi! Between you and Eden, I think you could write an entire essay on the Disney princesses! 🙂 I was not too much of a fan as a child. Anybody growing up with Silverhawks or Jumaru on this side of the Atlantic?

  21. Oh damn, I think I have disney disorder! I’ve got mommy issues, an anorexic past, and absurd romantic ideals galore haha. I just wanted to say I loved the post. My favorites were always Meg and Esmerelda, despite the fact that they both go for their fellers in the end. They at least had some personality to them, as opposed to the creeper stepford vibe that sleeping beauty and cinderella give off. I’m off to watch every single disney movie I own now…

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