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?

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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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it


Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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I Wonder If You'd Be Proud of Me

Or if you even think of me at all.


I wonder if you'd be proud of me.

My first thought when I wake up in the morning is whether or not you still think of me. I think about if I am wearing the right outfit if I were to see you that day. I think about if I am saying the right thing for you to want to want me again.

Throughout my day, I think about whether or not you're happy. I wonder if the feeling in my heart of missing who I thought you were is making its way to you. Sometimes I think about what I did to make you hate me as much as you do.

Sometimes when things get really hard, I think about picking up the phone to call you. Time keeps passing from the last time I saw you and during that time I've painted a picture of you that would probably only disappoint me in the end. Your phone number still sits in my phone and I go to your contact, wanting to call, but knowing that at the other end is not the person I used to know.

I wonder if you watch me. I wonder if the posts I make, pictures I post, and articles I write are viewed by you and whether or not you care to even search my name. I wonder if you ask people about me or if you care to know the person I am today.

Without you, I have changed. It has been two years and though time will only continue moving on without you, I wonder what would have happened if I didn't make the choices I made to make you react in the way you have.

When the sun shines bright on the flowers blooming around campus, I think of your jokes and sarcastic wit. When the rain pours from the sky and keeps me imprisoned within the walls of a building, I think of ways I felt imprisoned by you. When clouds form shapes in the sky that I can make stories out of, I think of the way life could've been.

Sometimes I write to you. They are the letters I can never send because I have to remind myself that though we knew each other once, you do not know me anymore. The picture in my mind of who you are now is someone who'd love me with open arms, but I know that there's no truth in that. It's only my wishful thinking out to break my heart once more.

I wonder if you hear me when I try talking to you. I wonder if the words I tell God are making their way to you as you go on living the life we always talked about when times get tough. I wonder if you're talking to God about me.

As I watch the sunset, I think about the last moment I was with you. As that chapter ended, I was only wishfully thinking that walking away would save me from further pain. In the end, I don't know about how life would've been different had it not happened.

When my picture of you gets too bright and I share it with others, I am reminded of reality. The screaming, crying, pushing, shoving, and hitting touches my skin once more in the form of flashbacks that push me further down into the depths of a depression. I am reminded of the hundreds of suicidal thoughts and letters that I've written once before.

No matter what, my heart still yearns for a hug. A hug where I can bury myself into your body and feel safe. A hug where I forget every worry in my mind and focus solely on the love.

I wonder if you'd still love me if I changed myself to be the person you've always wanted me to be. I wonder if you'd forgive me for walking away, even if it was for me to change to be a better person. I wonder if you'll ever even read this.

Days like today, I want to go back in time. I sit on the benches around campus and look up at the sky, down at the cars passing by, and listen to life move on all around me as I remain stuck. I hear people talking, see them laughing, and wonder if there's any way I could one day feel as alive as they do.

The truth is that I was never enough for you. No matter how much I changed, kept notes of what you liked so I could be like that, or just kept my head down and moved silently, nothing was ever enough.

No matter what, though, I still yearn to be loved in the way that I picture you should've loved me. Closure does not exist. You were the ones who were supposed to hold me down. But now I am nothing to you...I was always nothing to you.

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