If The Disney Ladies Had Been My Friends From Our Readers

One of the most common elements of a Disney movie, featuring a princess or female lead, is the absence of a mother. This is could be why so many of us have been led astray, growing up attempting to model our love lives after these naïve teens and twenty-somethings. Stepmothers, who were envious of them and, in some cases, wanted them dead, or kind and loving but often clueless fathers raised most of these young women.

I would think that if their mothers or some positive maternal guide had been around, they would have advised them against some of the relationship choices that they made. But since they weren’t, as someone who is often told that I give really insightful and honest (though sometimes pessimistic) advice, here are my thoughts:

Let’s start with Jasmine. Now, we all know that Aladdin’s a stud. Even while questionably donning parachute pants and a purple vest over a bare chest, there’s no denying that charming smile and olive complexion. He’s a kid from the gutter who falls in love with a beautiful princess and solicits the services of genie to win her over.

Okay, while we all love Aladdin for saving Agrabah from Jafar, one of Disney’s creepiest villains, are we just going to ignore the fact the he completely fabricated an identity, with a fake name and fake profession, to con a rich woman into marrying him? That’s not romantic; it’s sociopathic and the basis for a dozen Lifetime movies with tragic endings. I say, once a liar always a liar.

That’s why it was no surprise that, when we catch up with these two in the sequel after they’re supposed happy ending, Aladdin’s lies are getting Jasmine into trouble yet again. There’s no way, of course, to know how their relationship ultimately ended up but, for her sake, let’s hope she had a prenup.

And Lady, I get it. We all get it. You’re the uptown girl, living in your white bread world and, in Tramp, you’ve found your downtown man. We’ve all fantasized about having our own Danny Zuko, but honey, the story of the girl trying to reform the bad boy rarely ever ends well. Have we learned nothing from Rihanna and Chris Brown? From Carrie and Big? I’m assuming that she becomes his third ex-wife in 2-3 years, and I feel like that’s a pretty fair assumption.

Now, the love story of Megara and Hercules, a la Disney, is a difficult case. Megara was actually to blame for most of the couple’s initial problems. In fact, she made a deal with the devil, literally, that could have lead to Herc’s demise.

Still, I feel like someone should have warned her that an astonishingly low IQ and obvious steroid abuse should be large, bright red flags. I’m not saying that a combination of the two traits are always dangerous, but I will say that, according to Euripides, Hercules ends up going off the deep end, killing Megara and their children.

Hopping over from Greece to France, we find the beautiful, bookish, brunette, Belle, who ends up falling in love with the Beast. This guy was a violent barbarian as an animal and a narcissistic asshole as a human. Sure, he has his moment of redemption in the end, but I feel like it means a little less that it had to come under the threat of living out the rest of his life covered in fur, in a dilapidated castle.

Giving her the library was a nice touch. I mean, he didn’t really have to put a lot of effort into it but it was sweet and it meant a lot to her. And everyone who watched this movie as a child thought that letting her leave the castle to help her dying father was proof that his heart was softening. But before we give him points for this, let’s first acknowledge that she had been his PRISONER!

All this time, when our hearts are warming to the Beast, we forget that she’s actually with him against her will and she’s only there because she switched places with his original prisoner–her father. Not to mention, her father wouldn’t even be out in the cold, dying of pneumonia, if he hadn’t been out searching for her.

Call me crazy, but if I was forced to choose I think I’d rather take my chances with the gun-toting chauvinist. It’d be a less complicated how-I-met-your-father story for our children.

Ariel, unlike Belle who was clearly suffering from Stockholm syndrome, could still have been helped and had she been my friend, I would felt like it was my moral obligation to try to talk some sense into her. How does a young woman as beautiful and confident as Ariel decide that it’s worth it to get involved with some seriously shady characters, give away her incredible gift, and risk her freedom, just to get closer to some guy that she hardly even knows?

I would have grabbed her by those dainty narrow shoulders and said, “Look Red, I know you think you love this guy but you’re only sixteen years old! Go to college, take a trip to South America, get to know yourself, and you’ll realize how silly you were for nearly throwing your life away for the first hot rod human who thought you had a pretty voice.”

Had these women had mothers or aunts or girlfriends to deliver some compassionate tough love, they could have spent more time being happy and independent and less time doing that classic Disney, dramatic, face-in-the-arms cry.

Featured image via.

You can read more from Gennette Cordova on her blog.

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  1. Whoa, Belle was always my favorite because I related to her the most as a child. Now into adulthood, I notice I also share her taste in men. Yikes.

  2. Every time I read one of these Disney related posts on HG I feel like I regret it soon after. They’re just stories for children, I really don’t think it’s necessary to get that deep into meanings and subtext, especially when I think it’s kind of inaccurate.

    Hercules having a low IQ and on steroids? What? And of course if you compare it to the real story based on mythology it’s going to be much less Disney friendly.

    And Belle? You’d really rather that she married Gaston?

    Aladdin I think is quite interesting because usually it’s a poor girl wanting to marry a prince, this time the role was reversed. Aladdin dressing as a prince is no different to Cinderella dressing up for the ball. But at least Jasmine knew the truth in the end and loved him anyway.

    Also, could you imagine what a lawyer would say to Cinderella back then if she said she wanted to be emancipated? They would’ve laughed their heads off

    These movies are set in a different time and place and follow a different set of social rules. They have their flaws but as a child i.e. the intended audience, it doesn’t really bother you if Ariel is being naive, just that it’s romantic and there’s a happy ending.
    Which is the way I think I’d prefer to remember them because as an adult you realise that that’s not the way things always go.

    If anyone were to have a problem with Disney related things, just turn on the Disney channel and see the kind of shows they’re showing kids lately – I’m looking at you Shake it Up.

  3. I love Belle :( and the Beast :( the beast was turned into the animal at the age of 11. He had no parents, and blaming an 11 year old for not letting an old scary woman into his home is kind of not fair. Then he grew up as a monster. No wonder he was pissed off. The movie basically teaches kids “let old scary witchy strangers into your house late at night when your parents aren’t around, if not you’ll be turned into a monster.” the fact the beast did learn to love is shocking based on his clear abandonment issues

  4. Belle should have run screaming and never returned. As much as I would love it if someone gave me a library, I’d be like, 1.) dude is NOT human. 2) you already had this, how do you re-gift a library? Disney shows us him and Gaston as our only alternatives, and we wonder why some women pick who they pick.

  5. I would have tried to help Mulan come outta that closet.

  6. Belle’s father (Crazy Old Maurice) wasn’t out looking for her — he was on his way (or way back) from showing his invention (a steam-powered wood chopper) at a fair. He got lost in the woods, was chased by wolves, lost his horse and ended up seeking refuge in the Beast’s castle. The Beast discovered him trespassing in his castle and locked him up. When the horse he was riding (Phillipe) came back to the cottage without Maurice, Belle went out looking for him.

    • In the part that I was referring to, Maurice is looking for her. When the Beast shows Belle her father in the magic mirror, he was sick, in the woods, going back to the castle to get Belle. Remember? This is after he pleads with Gaston and the other men to help him and they throw him out in the snow. Then Belle is allowed to leave, she finds him and takes him home.
      Trust me, it’s one of my all-time favorite movies :)

  7. No advice for the beloved Cinderella? I mean, if I had a friend in her shoes, I’d tell her to wait it out and get emancipated from her family. I mean, it’s nice and all to marry a good looking boy, a prince no less and just run away from all your troubles quite literally. But really, getting hitched to a rich goodlooking man who you met for an hour tops, who clearly only likes you for your looks isn’t reassuring. Who’s to say he won’t meet another pretty girl in another ball and decide that he loves her now? She’d have to return to her horrid old family, because they’re her legal guardians and she’s probably still underage!

    Get emancipated, get your Daddy’s money and just travel a bit. Don’t just settle down at 15/16 with the first boy you see just because the family’s a pain.

  8. The thing about Lady and the Tramp though was that everyone else said that the Tramp was a Tramp. However the Tramp did not really act like a Tramp. He was good to Lady. He romanced her, sure, but before he even met lady we saw him go about his day, making sure he could get food, fawning over baby puppies in the storefront. Tramp just wanted to be a dad and to save babies from rats. Tramp is good people.

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