By: Leslie Droe
Feminists would say not to rely on a man to feel happy; romance novels and Twilight would say otherwise.
But that’s a little extreme. On both sides.
After spending an entire winter break studying women’s politics, I attempt to reprogram my brain into believing what I had prior to studying feminism. Being in love is good, not bad. It isn’t weakness, it’s instinct; desire. Maslow even supports that a sense of belonging is a characteristic we must acquire prior to achieving self-actualization.
The many sources, studies, documentaries, and articles I poured over in the last five weeks constantly narrowed the lesson down to one thing on love: don’t depend on men, depend only on yourself. That’s not a bad life lesson, really; but is my feminine independence going to take me out on a date every now and then?
The women’s politics professors I had to read about mentioned fairy tale love stories being a poor representation of females and their inaccurate portrayal as being a damsel in distress, just waiting for her prince. The documentary, Miss Representation, generously used Disney princesses as an example. To that, I’d like to point out Princess Merida; the princess without a prince.
Princess Merida’s true love is a bow and arrow. Not a man. What she sought to accomplish was, if anything, freedom away from love.
Princess Tiana wasn’t looking for love, either. She believed in the ethics of hard work and saving money. She wasn’t looking a prince, she just happened to kiss one.
Princess Rapunzel just wanted to see the floating lights. She wasn’t sitting at her window, waiting for a man to come save her from danger.
Mulan was only in the interest of protecting her father from the stresses of war by going in his place.
Pocahantas was the very definition of freedom in her world. She wanted to achieve peace between her tribe and new-comers.
Princess Jasmine didn’t want a man, either. At least, she didn’t want one picked for her. What girl would? She wanted the freedom to choose her own husband.
Princess Belle was trying to save her father. After all, who can ever learn to love a beast?
These Disney princesses portrayed in these famous fairy tales have something in common: they are strong, independent women…who got to fall in love. At least, in their animated worlds, falling in love is socially acceptable.
Now, taking a step backward in Disney princess history, we have princesses such as Ariel, Cinderella, Aurora, and Snow White. While their personalities may not be as strong or independent, these princesses represent a beautiful, nostalgic genre: fantasy.
Falling in love should be perceived or analyzed as an expression of women’s inferiority to men or men’s superiority to women; especially when fairy tale characters are being used as an example or by means of demonstrating mainstream media brainwash.
The extent these professors take this idea of being independent, if anything, contradicts what women’s rights activists also fight for: sexual liberation. The freedom to love whoever and whenever.
My bottom line: leave the Disney princesses alone.
And, it’s okay for women to be in love.