Monday, June 30, 2014

The Kind of Princess Disney Needs Next.

I'm nine days into my vacation in California and having an absolute blast and part of the fun has been being able to spend plenty of time in Disneyland!

Now, I went through a phase of being less than enchanted with the Magic Kingdom and I think this is just because I got old and didn't have kids and I went through a phase of kind of being over the whole thing - the crowds, the heat, the drive to Orlando, bleh.

But now, I'm experiencing an all new love for Disney as I see it again through my three year old daughter's eyes. That and I have discovered that I like my experience at DisneyLAND here in California more than my former experiences at DisneyWORLD in Florida. Mainly, I like the cool, dry weather here much more and I like that it's closer to where my in-laws live so instead of a three hour plus drive to Orlando from where I live, we can do a 20 minute drive up the Freeway and boom, there we are. I also find Disneyland smaller and more manageable and it has been significantly less crowded. Besides that, I absolutely love the California Adventure park. It's super cool, very pretty and I find it relaxing.

Part of the Disney experience with a little girl is going to involve princesses. Lots of princesses. I used to be kind of anti the whole princess thing, but I've come around especially after the past few days getting to meet some of them. Let me just tell you, the girls who play those Disney princesses are so incredibly sweet and lovely with the children. They're a lot of fun and all the Disney employees make the experience so meaningful with their thoughtfulness.

Part of what has redeemed the whole princess thing for me is that Disney has really made an effort in the past several years to create more diverse princesses who are really good role models. My daughter likes Merida because she climbs and jumps and shoots a bow and likes to play outside. She's three so she doesn't get the whole getting married thing yet. My favorite princess is Tiana because I just think it's the coolest thing in the world that a princess likes to cook and has a goal to own her own restaurant. Plus, she has what I think is the prettiest dress. Just kidding. I have to admit that I'm looking forward to having my photo taken with Tiana at some point on this trip and yes, I will post it if I get one.

So we have a black princess, princesses who don't want a prince, princesses who like to play outside, princesses who like to read, princesses who save all of China by dressing like boys, princesses who are brave and funny, awkward, plucky, kind, sweet and princesses who are more complicated characters than dear, helpless Cinderella and I love that. I love that more different looking princesses are being celebrated, but I still think Disney has a little further to go in that department.

What Disney really needs is a fat princess.

Now that would be truly revolutionary.

And a fat princess would be a hero to so many girls and women who feel they don't live up to the willowy standard of beauty to which every single other princess regardless of race, culture or personality conforms.

In the past, all of the curvier or more overweight characters in Disney films have been either evil, old or stupid. I'd like to see a more voluptuous princess who is smart, independent, beautiful and complex. I'd like to see her weight not being a main issue in the storyline either, as in that it's something for her to overcome. Her weight should be secondary to her real story, whatever that might happen to be.

Disney is doing much better with their fairies of Pixie Hollow. If you haven't seen any of the Tinkerbell spin-off movies, I highly recommend them. I'm a big fan. The animation is gorgeous for one thing and the fairies are extremely diverse and YES! There is a fat fairy in Pixie Hollow. Her name is Fairy Mary.

I'd like to start a Fairy Mary fan club. Fairy Mary embodies everything that I'd like to see in a princess. She is confident, beautiful, smart and in a leadership position in the fairy world. She isn't old, evil or stupid at all. In fact, she shows extremely good sense and her weight is never, ever mentioned or an issue in the story. She's just a big, beautiful fairy loved as she is. On top of that, she is the best ice skater of all the fairies, so she's even athletic! Here is a blog post that someone else wrote all about Fairy Mary that I think is an excellent and eloquent read. 

Disney is definitely headed in the right direction. I love that we now have single princesses, warrior princesses, entrepreneurial princesses and bold, intelligent princesses who do their own thing. I love that we have a Native American princess, a black princess, and a Chinese princess. We need a princess who truly goes against tradition by daring to redefine our preconceived notions of what it means to be beautiful.

Come on Disney. You can do this.

7 comments:

ZaBeth said...

I totally agree! There was one movie where the characters weren't terribly skinny:'Lilo and Stitch.' I realize that A) Neither Lilo or her sister were princesses, and B) their figures were that way because of the illustration style suggested by Chris Sanders, but still, it was refreshing to see a bunch of curvier characters.

Nana said...

Further suggestions: Pretend City (Irvine); Discovery Museum (Santa Ana).

Liz said...

I appreciate where you're coming from, especially since I know you are not an overweight person yourself, so it is just a kind thought, and not you wanting Disney to justify your own weight. However, I don't think Disney or anyone should ever promote or try to normalize obesity. This is coming from someone who is 20 pounds overweight. Maybe Disney princesses are on the thin side of a healthy weight, and Disney could add a little meat to their bones, but why would you actually want little girls thinking it's ok to be fat? It's not that fat women are unattractive, it's that fat women are unhealthy. You might as well have a princess who smokes, or who has a drinking problem. Overweight women (including me!!)should never try to accept their body the way it is, but should be trying their hardest to get back to a healthy range. Disney princesses are on the mid to low side of healthy, but at least they are healthy.

Breton Wench said...

Fiona in Shrek? Shes a kinda big bi
oned gal. Also my favorite one.

Class factotum said...

Sure, a fat princess would be great, but if she's anything like the plus-sized models (who are normal size, if you ask me), she will still be gorgeous. Weight I can do something about if I am willing to suffer and be hungry. My looks? I cannot change them. I am plain, I always have been plain, I always will be plain. Princesses and models are all beautiful, even if they are fat. No matter what, I am going to feel inferior in comparison. Such is the world.

Signed, cranky person who has not had her coffee yet

Mrs P said...

Bring on the fat princesses!

Being fat is the only thing that people are "allowed" to make fun of these days or to discriminate against. Once upon a time, people were said that black people or handicapped people or Jewish people were unhealthy or "less than" other kinds of people. Now days, we just say that about fat people. And, let's not just make this princess "fat," let's make her white and fat (as I know of no characters in any movie, show, or program who are both fat and white- just fat and black).

If Disney is moving toward princesses that reflect the culture, then we need to have princesses that reflect society as it really is right now- fat. Girls need to see that being fat isn't a death sentence or a permanent handicap to being happy or even a barrier against marital happiness. Fat is just like being black or right handed or blind. It's something to deal with. But, it's also real. We won't make it go away by pretending that it doesn't exist.

Um, and citing Fiona as an example of a fat princess highlights the problem I have with the way fat people are portrayed. Fiona (not from Disney even) is an ogre, a green beast/monster. How is that helpful to fat girls who already see themselves as beasts?

Destiny Gerick said...

As Disney says.. Every girl can be a princess. Having said that, why is every princess on Disney have the stereotypical features of a beautiful woman? Shouldn't we be teaching girls that beauty doesn't just have one design! Why not have a princess with glasses and a larger nose, or freckles and a round head. Show girls that just because they aren't "genetically blessed" doesn't mean they aren't beautiful..

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