How Disney Effects Female Body Image

How Disney Effects Female Body Image

Everybody wants to be like their favorite princess, but what does it mean when that desire is unobtainable?
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I can't remember a time when Disney wasn't part of my life. Like me, generations of kids worldwide have grown up in its presence. Whether it's the classics, the TV shows and cartoons, or rushing to the movies to see the latest lovable tale, Disney is a household name that carries weight with countless.

That weight lies in its beloved characters; Disney gives its audience people to aspire to. I've always looked up to Cinderella, who's kind and humble, and Belle, who's smart and unafraid to be different. I've grown up wanting to be adventurous like Rapunzel and independent like Tiana; Pocahontas and Jasmine urged me to stand up for myself, while Mulan showed me I can do anything (with a little effort and a new haircut). Disney uses this wide of array of personalities to preach acceptance and give girls role models.

While each princess is unique and represents different traits, there's one thing these heroines and damsels share - body image.

I didn't truly understand it then. Playing dress up or singing the songs of my role models was innocent. There was nothing wrong with wanting to be Snow White or Aurora - who didn't? But when the dresses came off and the pretending ceased, the desire didn't. I grew up wanting to have perfect hair and could never understand how Ariel could brush hers and not look like she stuck her finger in a socket. I coveted a lovely heart shaped face with a natural blush, yet my face's only red when I'm out of breath. Even earliest in my youth I would've given anything for perfect eyebrows that frame big beautiful eyes and mile-long lashes - except I was too young to do my eyebrows and no one's lashes can span that far. But most of all? I wanted the perfect body. Even when I was too immature to understand body pressure, I knew I didn't look like them.

My waist will never be that thin. I still struggle finding the right bra size, let alone a perfect chest. No amount of makeup or hair product will help me achieve their perfection. So how is it the girls I've always looked up to can portray such unobtainable physiques? These women are supposed to be symbols of self-acceptance - they're meant to teach girls to love their quirkiest aspects. However, rather than teaching us to love what we have, they've ignored the need for body positivity altogether.

Where's the Disney movie about the real struggles that females go through to become confident? Disney princesses certainly don't know what it's like to hide behind baggy t-shirts out of shame over their stomachs. They'd never cry looking into a mirror because nothing they put on looks cute and they feel completely undesirable. These are characters that girls of all ages want to be, yet they can't connect to one of the biggest battles of self-acceptance that we face day to day.

What is Disney doing by handing us "down-to-Earth" princesses to act as our positive influences when in reality they're untouchable? It is wonderful that they want us to speak out about our inner qualities, but what about their contradictions on the outside? Are we ever going to have a Disney princess who looks like a real girl and experiences the true coming of age struggles females across the world fight? Until they show the world that all bodies are to be loved, what is Disney doing for us? It's not okay to preach that what's on the outside doesn't matter; we should instead be teaching that all appearances are beautiful in unique ways, just as personalities shine in different lights.

Cover Image Credit: Movie Pilot

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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The 7 Best Pieces Of Advice I Have Been Given About Life

Some of the best advice I have been given over the years...

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There isn't a central theme among these pieces of advice or sayings. They are all just random things I have been told over the course of my life–especially in the last week. I find these 7 to be particularly helpful in various situations, and try to keep them in mind when I am in over my head.

1. "Don't be afraid to advocate for yourself because there is nobody who is going to help you more than you."

You are the #1 person who can help your own case. No one knows you as you do, therefore no one will be able to help you more than you can help yourself. A lot of things are mental, so once you can convince yourself that you deserve something (whatever it may be) you can convince anyone. Another saying goes along with this, on the flip side: "No one can diminish you but yourself." You are in control of your own self-perception, and you are very much capable of being your own worst enemy.

2. "Stand behind your reputation because you can never get it back."

My mom sent this to me the other day. Be who you are, and do it proudly. Especially with meeting people for the first time, you can never have a second chance at a first impression. That being said, if people view you in a bad light, figure out why that is and fix it. You may not be able to change someones initial thoughts of you, but you can change the way they view you after that.

3. "The best things in life happen unexpectedly."

"Life is what happens when you're busy making plans," also goes along with this. Trying to plan out every little detail of your life is only going to lead to disappointment. Sometimes you find the best things/what you're looking for when you're not actually looking. Just go through the motions and things will work out the way they are supposed to.

4. "Be proud of your accomplishments, no matter how small."

It's important to celebrate the little things. Did you go to class today? Good for you. Did you decide to drink water instead of a soda? That's awesome. How are you going to work up to doing bigger and better things if you don't have anywhere to start?

5. "Whatever you're stressing about now probably won't matter in five years."

As someone who is often eaten away by their own worry and anxiety, this is a mantra that I try to constantly remind myself. While it may seem like a big deal now, you need to keep in mind the bigger picture. Will it matter in 5 hours? 5 days? 5 months? And so on. If the answer is no to ANY of these questions, it's probably not worth beating yourself up over.

6. "Stop being the 'go to' person for someone you can't go to."

Someone tweeted that their pastor said this to them and the tweet went viral. A friend of mine sent it to me, and it really made me think. Something I have struggled with over the years is making excuses for people who don't show up for me when I am constantly there for them. This is a helpful reminder that if they aren't contributing to you and your life, you shouldn't have to bend over backward to help them out and be in their lives.

7. "Two wrongs don't make a right."

While this is often a saying that parents use on their young children, it is applicable to pretty much any stage of life. My parents, especially my dad, have constantly said this, whether it was in reference to fighting with my siblings or dealing with people at school. Even as a 20-year-old, I find myself saying this when I hear about arguments and problems people are having. Everyone wants to get even, to best those who hurt them. While it's important to stick up for yourself, it is also important to be the bigger person and not stoop to their level (and whatever else your parents told you in these situations).

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