EINTKILFEverything I Need to Know, I Learned From the Women of DisneyJessica Tholmer

Did any of you see Snow White and the Huntsman this weekend? I have little to no interest in watching the movie, but it created such a wonderful reminder in my mind: I look like Snow White. (That’s not what it was. I’m not nearly white enough.) It actually reminded me that Disney Princesses rule. Well, Disney ladies rule. In college, I always got irritated when we overly dogged on Disney for being sexist (well, and racists and capitalists and socialists and communists. People hate Disney.) Maybe my glass is a little too half full, but I have learned nothing but fabulous things from the women of Disney.

EINTKILF Disney Princesses Ladies

1. Do not chase after boys that never wanna grow up.
What’s worse than trying to change a boy into a man and not succeeding? Don’t rush ‘em, ladies and gentlemen. The good ones will come around on their own–eventually–and they certainly do not need a nagging partner to help them along. Reverse psychology, you know? Why would he want to grow up if you are pressuring him to grow up? Plus, they will probably end up falling in love with your granddaughter Gwyneth Paltrow years after you moved on anyway. And at that point, he’ll just be a lying, crying, spying, prying ultra-pig anyway.

2. Fight for what you want.
This applies to pretty much all of the Disney ladies, but dear Ariel comes to mind the most. When I was a kid (CONFESSION TIME), I actually didn’t like The Little Mermaid all that much because I found it kind of grimy that Ariel wanted to ditch her father and sisters and besties for a cute boy. But as a super mature adult who accidentally became a lame-o, sappy romantic about two years ago (I used to be a badass, now I am a mushball), I find it incredibly romantic. Ariel stands up to her king of the world father and makes her own choices, even when everyone tells her she is acting a fool. A little hypocritical when she tries to fight her own daughter’s interest in returning to the sea in the sequel, though. Oh, no one else has seen that?

3. Challenge your partner.
I am quite obnoxiously the kind of girl who likes to tell people what’s wrong with them, and what they should improve on. Especially if we are dating and/or I want to be dating you. That is annoying, huh? Good thing I have a great rack. But seriously, I think calling people out on their business is a great thing. Remember how Nala was hella mad at Simba and basically single paw-edly got him to come back and fight Scar and become King, as he should have done from the beginning? And she got the title of Queen out of it! And that is why you should always speak your mind. Challenging your partner (and your friends, for that matter) is nothing but a great idea.

4. Give second chances.
If Belle had taken the Beast (does he have a real name or what?) at his first impression, she would never have discovered what a wonderful, long-haired sweetheart he really was inside. If Jasmine had chalked up Aladdin to a dirty, rotten liar, he never could have showed her a whole new world. If Lady had taken that prison dog’s word, she never would have had a litter of pups with that adorable ol’ Tramp. If Pocahontas hadn’t—never mind. I’m not poking the Pocahontas thing with a ten foot pole.

5. Women are not prizes to be won.
People, never argue about what a woman wants or needs in front of her. Simply put, we know what’s best for us. No more trophy wives, ladies! It sets us back years and years.

6. It’s okay you’re in love.
If you ask me my favorite Disney song of all time, I will, hands down, claim it as “I Won’t Say I’m in Love” from Hercules. Meg, that saucy little minx, brings the house down (well, my house down) by admitting her feelings of love for Hercules. With wonderful backup singers! Better than the Pips! Go Muses, go!

But seriously, it is totally fine to admit when you are in love. Even if it is unrequited, or if it does not work out, or if he is a god and you are a mere mortal. Like me and Leonardo DiCaprio.

7. Anything you can do, I can do better.
I cannot handle talking about weak female leads in Disney movies when the movie Mulan exists. That chick is way cooler than any boy in any Disney movie ever, unless we are counting animal characters because I am quite partial to Pongo in 101 Dalmatians. She proves herself worthy of fighting a war alongside men, even though she is a cooty-infested girl. No sir, you will not make a man out of me! I will make a woman out of you, Donny!

8. Sometimes, princes do not come in prince form.
Because who needs money and jewels and kingdoms when you can have a frog, or a Beast, or a peasant, or a single dad?
 Don’t give up on those seemingly un-prince types. Everybody has a little prince in them.

9. Kiss the girl.
If you are ever floating in a blue lagoon with someone you have a major crush on and you don’t go for it, I hate you.

If you are ever on a long drive at nighttime and you drop her off at home and you want to kiss her and you are pretty sure she wants you to kiss her and you don’t go for it, I hate you.

If you are watching a movie and your hands are impossibly close to each other’s and you know she wants you to kiss her and you watch the whole movie and you don’t remember anything that has happened because you have been thinking of kissing her and you do not go for it, I hate you.

Think of Eric and Ariel. Or Noah and Allie—spoiler alert: he totally kisses her.

10. Other things:
Redheads rule, always be true to yourself, poor men are better lovers, make sure you have a sidekick, let your hair down, always tell the truth, don’t conform, gadgets and gizmos don’t buy happiness and there must be more than this provincial life (aka travel!).

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  1. Wonderful post! Love it!!!

  2. His name is Prince Adam. :) Oh and Pongo was the boy dog. Loved the article. I definitely agree!

  3. I loved this! :) Hm, my favorite Disney Princess is Mulan just ’cause she’s awesome and has kick-butt fighting skills. And for the record, my favorite Disney song ever is “I’ll Make a Man Out of You”. I just can’t help it, I love it!

  4. I’d actually like to complicate this post a little, and while I agree with some of it, I also think some of it’s a dangerous message to send women.

    Objection to point #2– is Ariel really that strong of a woman? She is fighting for what she wants, but what she wants is the love and approval of a cute boy instead of her father’s. Is that really fighting for what SHE wants, or what she thinks she is SUPPOSED to want? I’d be way more into her as an adult (I loved her as a child–I used to wear a red slip tied around my head pretending I had her amazing hair) if she was pursuing something greater–like writing the next Conch-winning collection of poetry or Anemone-winning song.

    objection to #3–so the only good reason to challenge someone is for your own selfish benefit? Hmm, maybe challenging for the sake of collective growth is a better way of looking at it. Maybe this is just a jokey appeal made by the writer, but I think appealing to our higher senses as human beings would benefit everyone, as individuals and a community.

    objection to #4–the Beast was violent and abusive, and you can roll your eyes and say “it’s just a cartoon,” but think about the message it sends to women: “Don’t leave the man who screams, yells, throws things around, is absolutely awful to your family, and even awful to you at most times, because it’s your job as a woman to tame him and you’re a failure if you don’t/can’t.” Seems pretty dangerous to me. Disney is Disney for a reason–it dilutes reality into a pleasant fantasy. But we don’t get to live in that Technicolor fantasy, so we have to figure out how that picture translates into the our world, and this translates in a very sad way. Maybe Jasmine didn’t need Aladdin to see the whole new world–she could be empowered enough to take it all on herself. And Lady’s only validation is she spawned? I think that’s enough said on that one.

    I agree with #5, but think some of this article contradicts it. See #2 especially.

    It is absolutely okay to be in love! We should show more love, actually! And yeah, that song was so freakin’ amazing.

    # 7– I so wish I could just be like “HECK YEAH, MULAN!!!” but I can’t, because in the end, she still has to be validated by being with a man. It wasn’t enough for her to be an amazing, gender-role defying heroine. Disney had to make everyone happy by showing she still needed a man to be complete. Siiiiiggghhhh . . .

    #8– Right on! (minus the Beast, still don’t like those possible connotations) “Money and jewels and kingdoms” mean absolutely nothing in the end–it’s cliche for a reason and I applaud the author on this one. Love comes in many forms, and as long as you’re not being physically/emotionally abused while searching for it in someone, they’re worth it, even if it turns out in a way you never expected.

    #9– Hmm, how ’bout “take chances, but it’s always a good idea to use protection.” ;)

    #10 should have been the entire list, so I guess I’ll fill my time with something else now other than a feminist rant that probably will only illicit groans–but hey, if someone reads this and it makes them think, goal accomplished. I just wanted to point out that it’s not that easy–Disney is a conglomerate run by mostly men, whose goal (as stated by Michael Eisner–google it, you can find the clip) is to MAKE MONEY by selling us illusions–reflections of ourselves as we WANT to see ourselves. (Thanks, DFW) But the “we” in this case happens to be mostly men. Disney is MEN creating the reflections of ideal WOMEN. Women should be the ones to create women.

    Check out: Mickey Mouse Monopoly. I’m not saying everything in it is right, and a lot of my thinking is influenced by this documentary because it raises worthwhile questions. I’m not telling anyone what to think, I’m just asking that they do just that: think. Question. Learn. Live.

    Peace y’all.

    • While I do see your point with the Beast thing, there are just some things I must bring up:

      #2: I do see Ariel still as a strong female character. You must remember that she had a dream of visiting the land before she met Eric. Sure, he might have been the tipping point that sparked her adventures, but she was passionate about her dream before then. Also, keep in mind that King Triton destroyed every connection she had to land which was what really pushed Ariel over the edge. I think it is brave of her to defy her parent’s wishes. It is a scary thing when your father tells you what you dream about – what makes you happy is completely dangerous and not worth a damn. She displays great courage in fighting for her passion and her dream in an admirable and rewarding way. Why should her dreams be limited to writing masterpieces? Every dream is precious and when we fight for it, no matter how “unworthy” it might seem to others, as long as it matters to us, it’s important.

      #3: Firstly, I don’t see how Nala’s convincing Simba was a “selfish benefit”. She is asking him to return as a matter of taking up his responsibility and his duty to his pride. And following this line of thought, by asking him to come back, it is indeed for the benefit of the whole community. By doing so, she manages to clear things up for Simba and make him forgive himself for Mufasa’s death. Also, she helps defeat Scar and save the pride from starvation. How is this in anyway not a strong female? She overrides any possible personal fears regarding their relationship or losing Simba to do what is the responsible thing.

      #4: I do not see how Jasmine’s journey through Aladdin can be interpreted as an infeminist action. It is a balanced relationship built on trust and mutual respect where Jasmine can rely enough on Aladdin to show her a different perspective. Bear in mind their situations and how oppressed Jasmine has been both by her status as a princess and as a woman in that society. Yet she still possesses enough spirit to try and escape the endless oppression through arranged suitors by running away and trusting Aladdin. Furthermore, in reply to the Lady and Tramp topic, when was pregnancy ever a crime? You do realise that biology dictates women do their part in reproduction? I do not see how your statement is supposed to be interpreted as a promotion of women’s rights. Are you suggesting we all stop having children and thus discontinue the human species? Also, Lady is a dog. She can’t help having multiple pups at once. It’s in her DNA and milleniums of evolution and natural selection. And besides the fact that Lady “spawned”, consider that she embarked on a strengthened relationship with her owners and with her partner (Tramp). Or are you suggesting that having a romantic relationship now be also an infeminist thing to do also?

      #7: Reading thing further convinces me you are against relationships also. Disregarding the sequel which seems to follow the general rule that most sequels produced by Disney are a sack of crap, the film in no way explicitly states she ends up with Shang. There are only implications. And please keep in mind Mulan’s position in this ruthless Chinese society where a woman’s worth is judged only by her husband and her marriage and her children. Obviously, this is against feminist beliefs, but the historical setting of the story dictates that in order to make the story plausible, that is what must be believed. Can you imagine the courage it must take to disobey your parents (which, according to Confucius, are your dictators until you get married, and are legally allowed to tell you what you can and cannot do), disguise yourself as a man on the point of death, and fight in a war where you risk your life for your country? Forget that, can you even imagine engaging in combat and being in fear of being killed? With the historical setting in consideration, I think it is undebatable that Mulan showed real bravery and heroism – regardless of gender. And that is exactly right! Because the whole point of women’s rights is that we should be given equal rights as men. Why should she have to do more than the men do (although she does, in this case) to prove herself? And why should she have to shy away from a romantic relationship which may be emotionally beneficial to her just in case some so-called feminists say she should abstain to make a point? Do not make the excuse that Disney is supposed to be happy (something you have pointedly told us all already) because no matter who makes the movie, certain key historical considerations must be made.

      In conclusion, please think your comments through before you post them. Speaking unthinkingly gives the feminist cause a bad name.

  5. Absolutely adorable post <3

  6. No Mia Thermopolis and Michael Moscowitz? I am disappoint. She is a Disney princess you guys!

    So agreeing with Nala, though. Simba was my first crush, bahahaha

  7. Love this article! I’ve been known to rock out to “I Won’t Say I’m in Love” but I think my favorite Disney song is “Make a Man Out of You” from Mulan. Side note: it always takes me a minute to remember that EINTKILF isn’t some German word, but actually an acronym.

  8. AW this makes me happy! ALSO I feel obligated to go see SNow WHite and the Huntsman because Snow White has always and will always be my favorite and Chris Hemsworth is an effing hottie!!!! Seriously, I thank god, evolution…hell thank you natural selection for the beauty that is Thor LOL. ANYWAY The only down side to the movie is Kristen Stewart or whatever…shes not that pretty and she is only able to protray one character, and lord know snow white is much sweeter than bella. HOWEVER, that being said, that isnt even my major issue with the movie. Isnt Snow White supposed to be prettier than the Evil Queen? With Charlize Theron being the Evil Queen, how on earth are you going to find someone fairer than her?! It just doesnt work LOL

  9. Can I add this, ladies, if you want your prince, act like a princess, not a whore.

  10. OK thank you Jessica Brown for being someone else who knows the Beast name!!! And Nala did not get Simba to go back! Yeah she told him what he needed to do but Rafiki and his father’s ghost got him to do it. I do agree that men need to just kiss girls more. If there is a girl that you cant stop thinking about and you’re with her and you just don’t know how to tell her how you feel please just kiss her!!!!

  11. Love. And while I do think there are still some messages in the older Disney films that can be harmful (Not to mention the unrealistic hair expectations I STILL live with *sigh*), nobody gives the REAL heroes of, say, Sleeping Beauty their credit: The Good Fairies. Yeah Aurora needs saving…but not from a Prince! By three old kickass biddies. If not for them, Aurora would have died at 16. Prince Philip would have never gotten out of that dungeon, wouldn’t have had the weapons to slay a dragon/witch, and Aurora would have gotten married in something boring. Princes don’t rescue you, wise old ladies do ;D

  12. I adore this =] thank you kindly. Anything to do with Disney is a go

  13. Glad to hear someone else thinks “I Won’t Say I’m In Love’ is awesome. I hardly hear anyone else but my sister and I talk about it!

  14. Love this post, this is how I have always felt. Disney women do it right :)

  15. Love it! I love EINTKILF!

  16. Loved the article! Growing up, I was always annoyed at people who ragged on Disney. Side note: Beasts real name is Prince Adam.