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February 27, 2014

Have All Disney Princesses Gone Mad? ~ Jen Weddle

Princess

I remember being seven; it doesn’t seem all that long ago, when all of my hopes and dreams lay scattered in a pile of neon-colored cotton candy and chewed crayons.

Then I grew up and realized that an Astronaut Fashion Designer was not a viable career. Also, I wasn’t particularly good at Science and the one time I used a sewing machine, just happened to be the one time I visited the hospital.

I’m crossing things off from my list with the horrible realization that Disney Princess is also not a suitable career, unless I want to live at Disneyland making less then the people making your iPhone. Which, I do not. Grown-up reality sets in and I go back to my mountain of cotton candy.

What am I going to do with the rest of my life?

Then, this evil little whispering monster gives me a tiny journal and I start to write. I’m rhyming things…and I’m about to have a fate worse then any Disney Princess: a writer’s ambition. That’s all that I want to be. It’s all I can think of. I’m reading books faster then people can recommend them to me. I’m going through an ambitious wormhole of dark matter and words that never seems to cease; yet, I can’t get enough.

Knowledge has become it’s own addiction.

The pink haze of glitter, sparkles and tiaras slowly fades into the darkened, empathetic world of literature.

I picture myself as other people. I create unrealistic characters and fantastical stories all the time. I question everything around me, and search for meaning where there may be none. My friends still dream of being princesses, but I stopped long ago because I was dreaming of worlds that no one had imagined and living in books that were twice my size.

I watched Disney movies with the understanding that every princess had a flaw. Where were their families? Were they all destined to be alone? Evil stepsisters and talking crabs don’t count as company in my reality.

Had books put an understanding inside of me that should have never been allowed to evolve? Here I was feeling empathetic for the thing that I was supposed to admire and appreciate: the ideology of the perfect princess.

I watched Ariel become the kleptomaniac. She was hoarding things endlessly from the human world and singing songs about it. I watched her swim frantically about trying to figure out a way to be human, instead of loving herself for what she was: a mermaid. I felt sad.

I watched Jasmine talk to her only friend: Rajah. Was she suffering from schizophrenia? Or was it loneliness that had finally taken its toll on her mind. Her father locked her up in the palace to keep her safe and she felt the need to talk to animals that could not communicate back to her. She was like the trapped bird that she finally let escape. I was sadder.

I watched Cinderella being treated unfairly by her stepsisters and her stepmother. She was a maid to the people that had moved into her house, and yet they treated her like she didn’t belong. Her only escape was to marry a prince and to leave her own home. I felt the saddest.

At the end of the day ask yourself: Have all the Disney Princesses gone mad?

If you answer yes to the question then you’ll finally realize that it’s all in our perspective and our understanding of the world and what perfectionism is. The princess can be a great role-model when you realize that even she has flaws and must grow and learn from them because perfect isn’t a realistic, or even obtainable goal.

I used to believe in perfectionism.

My life was riddled with habits and moments filled with OCD tendencies. I would become deeply depressed if I wasn’t good at something, and I couldn’t shake the feeling of failure.

I ended up taking a college course, which emphasized on the truth in fairy tales and the psychology behind it. I remember discussing Disney princesses one day and something inside of me clicked. These were the ideals of perfection, yet they all had flaws. People still accepted them and I realized that people would accept me with imperfections.

Disney princesses don’t teach little girls about the beauty in the world. They teach them that it’s okay to have flaws. It’s okay to not be perfect because even the thing that we’re supposed to idealize has its own imperfections. So don’t strive to be a princess, strive to be your most beautifully, flawed self and find love in it.

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Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo: elephant archives

 

 

 

 

 

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Jen Weddle

Jen Weddle graduated with a B.A in English Studies from Northern Illinois University. She enjoys the study of languages a has studied French, Spanish and German. She works as an Arts and Entertainment writer for a local online magazine. She also enjoys yoga, baking, reading, writing, running and attending concerts. She just finished writing a Young Adult Fantasy Romance novel entitled, “The Girl with the Violet Eyes.” If you would like to connect with her you can follow her on Twitter or Facebook.