why are so many princess stories based on dysfunctional families?
think about it… snow white had an evil step-mother, cinderella lost her mother, then father and had an evil step-mother, ariel had a father but no mother in the picture, jasmine had a father with no mother in the picture, sleeping beauty was raised by her three aunts, belle only had a father, pocahontas was without a mother… and the list goes on.
i’m not saying there’s anything wrong with one-parent families, by all means, but why do so many of our “princess stories” depict that mothers are either dead, or evil? and those that have evil step-mothers, no longer have a father figure in their life. i don’t usually get too distraught over princess movies… i grew up watching them, loved them, and never over-analyzed them as a child. i love story-telling and am captured by songs, so these movies are very precious in my own memories. but still, i have always wondered why there aren’t more princess stories where there are both a mother AND a father, who are loving and caring and supporting of their daughter…
yesterday, i joined my family for an afternoon showing of the new princess movie, Brave. and boy, did i love it! i may be twenty-six years old, but my inner child loved indulging in an empowering princess story. and i must commend the writers of this disney/pixar film for their (hopefully intentional) depiction of this “royal family.” this tale included both a mother AND a father, and the mother was not evil! the father knew how to laugh and tell great stories. the mother was refined and in control, yet still supportive of her husband. this alone made the movie great in my mind!
of course, this wouldn’t be a good princess story if there was not some sort of dilemma… and it did indeed include a dilemma among the family… a dilemma of pride, mis-communication, and poor choices. but it was very clear throughout this story that choices held very serious consequences and we must own-up to those consequences and figure out how to “mend the bond torn by pride” … very wise words for a princess tale. this young girl had to realize that selfish choices can hurt those around you.
now… not only was this family dynamic so refreshing, but for once, this princess tale was not about falling in love with the handsome prince and living happily ever after! don’t get me wrong, i can’t wait to fall in love and live happily ever after… but how refreshing that this tale (while it did indeed include “suitors” for the betrothal) the end-result was not about falling in love! in this princess story, it was about learning to understand your family and to appreciate their passions and desires. have i mentioned how refreshing this is?!!
Brave… the story of a princess who is surrounded by a loving, caring family and must face the consequences of selfish choices, learning to mend the relationships she has broken. what a refreshing tale!