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Critical Thinking On Disney Princesses By A Six-Year-Old

Last week Maddie and Cora participated in
a theatre camp with a Princesses and Pirates theme, and they
learned most of the “theme songs” for the Disney
princesses. Yesterday they were lustily belting out Snow
White’s “Some Day My Prince Will Come” when they
stopped to ponder the storyline.

“Mommy, how did the stepmother in Snow White die
again?” Maddie asked.

“I’m not sure – I haven’t seen it for a
long time,” I answered. I should say here that Snow White,
with her passive approach to life and her
I’ll-sit-around-and-wait-for-a-man-to-help-me attitude, has
never been my favorite princess, and the girls have never actually
seen the movie.

Speaking of –

“Mommy, when are we going to get to see Snow White, anyway?
Is it really that scary?” Maddie asked, assuming I was
keeping her from the movie to avoid nightmares. I realized the time
had come for “the talk” and I took a deep breath.

“The thing is, girls, that Snow
White’s not a very good role model for young ladies, I
don’t think. She believes she needs a prince to rescue her,
and spends her entire life waiting for someone else to deal with
her problems instead of trying to face them herself.”

“That’s not true,” Maddie argued. “Snow
White ran into the forest to escape her evil stepmother – she
DID try to change her life! And when she found the dwarfs’
house she moved right in and began taking care of them.”

“That’s another thing,” I said self-righteously.
“Snow White just automatically started cooking and cleaning
for all these men. It wasn’t her job – she didn’t
need to do it just to feel valued!”

“That’s not why she did it!” Maddie nearly
shouted. “She was looking for someone to take care of and she
found a family that she could be a part of – maybe
that’s where her giftedness was. Maybe she just had a heart
for helping others, and wanted to be a part of a family, part of
something bigger than herself.”

This was not going the way I’d planned.

“Well, Snow White was naïve enough to take a bite of the
apple, and then needed a prince to come and kiss her – a
prince she’d NEVER MET – to wake her up. She just lay
around waiting for some guy to come take her away,” I said
triumphantly. Cora’s head, meanwhile, was going back and
forth between me and Maddie like a tennis match.

“What was she supposed to do?” Maddie asked in
frustration. “She was in a coma! She couldn’t get up
and walk away or fix it herself!”

“True,” I said reluctantly, “but then she married
him without knowing him at all! Just because he’d gotten her
out of a coma, she felt like she had to marry him.”

“Yes,” Maddie said thoughtfully, “that part is
false. She’d never really marry him without getting to know
him and making sure she really liked him.”

I was astonished at how differently she’d viewed the story
– which, I grant you, she’d only read in a Disney book
and not seen on the big screen – than I’d thought she
would. Perhaps our girls are growing up in a society that gives
them an entirely different frame of reference for such things.

Maybe there’s hope for surviving the Princess Years after


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