Today at the Target I bought The Little Mermaid on DVD for my almost-3-year-old Mary, and it is the first princess movie in our house. I've tried to occupy her with Dora and Care Bears and Ponies as long as possible, but I suppose it's inevitable that the princess thing would happen.
Princesses are fine and dandy, I guess . . . I just have felt like boys get a better deal when it comes to licensed characters. Boys get superheroes who fight crime and save lives. Girls get princesses who wear pretty dresses and long for true love's kiss. Superheroes model strength and courage. Princesses model . . . entitlement and kindness to small animals?
Disney has been doing a better job with the modern princesses like Belle, who stumbles into the beastly prince in an effort to save her father. And I will confess I have never seen Aladdin, so I have no idea what Jasmine's adventure is about (Bea, are you shocked? Don't tell Caroline!). But the old school princesses like Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Cinderella, and Ariel face nothing worse than having their entitlement or their prince usurped.
I really like that Mulan, she displays great courage and fights huns, and just happens to get her man. But she's not really a princess. I can't stand Pocahontas--the Disney movie, that is. I saw about 5 minutes and couldn't take anymore of the heavy-handed agenda. Plot took second fiddle to teaching that trees and rocks are spiritual and the white man is dumb and evil. Yes, there's truth in the story, but it had all the narrative magic of an after-school special. Maybe I'd have been won over after ten minutes or so, but they'd already lost me. No matter, I am sure to catch it with my kids some movie night in the future.
Anyway, tonight we watched Ariel pine for her prince, and as the sea witch was offering Ariel a deal, I heard Ariel say, "But if I become human, I'll never be with my father and sisters again!" To which the sea witch replies, "Yessss, but you'll have your man!"
And for some reason, right then I had a flashback to my wedding, being smacked across the bottom with a ceremonial sword and told "Welcome to the NAVY!" So I made my deal, too, I guess. But fortunately, I didn't have to give up my voice, as readers of this blog (and the neighbors who hear me scream at my kids through our open windows) can attest to.