Now when reading that word what first came to mind?
-Princesses, Prince, Love, fairytale, happily ever after?
Yes I agree, these things do come to mind, after reading this blog I hope a few other words burst into your head when the word Disney is announced.
After reading the piece "Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us", by Linda Christensen, I have now truly understood the underlying meanings to many of Disney's whimsical movies and shows. At first it upset me, all the predisposition I once felt towards Disney products was completely shattered. Those Princesses that I so badly wanted to be when I was younger soon became everything I hate. These movies represent and teach children the wrong doings of society, but under an appealing light. As Christensen explains it is not until one uses the tools that she taught in her piece, can one truly pull out those underlying lessons that the children are subconsciously taught. Then I started to really get thinking, has my whole life been controlled subconsciously by the norms a rules that disney movies imprinted in my younger self? This idea of being a perfect princess and meeting her prince who will one day take her and all of her problems away is somewhat realistic. I grew up always trying to look like how perfect the princesses were. Beautiful skin, long smooth hair, big beautiful eyelashes, nice hour glass shape, beautifully painted nails, perfect makeup, and beautiful clothes. And in many ways these practices or ideals are very present in my everyday life.
Skin: I have bought many skin care products to keep my skin smooth, wrinkle free, small pores, and pimple free. Ive been buying these products ever since my mom allowed me to use them. I never linked it to the ida of hearing to be that princess behind the television screen, but that makes complete sense.
Hair: I never cut my hair too short because I have the existing picture in my head of long beautiful smooth hair attracting the handsome prince. I mean we even have a whole movie based around long straight blonde hair; Rapunzel.
Eyelashes: Everyday when I fight with my eyelashes in the mirror, my main goal is to create them to be as long and as beautiful as they can be. There is even a beauty procedure that you get whats called eyelash extensions, similar to the idea of hair extensions (again trying to recreate the long hair), that make it seem like you have beautiful long thick eyelashes that every prince falls in love with. I actually had these at the begging of this semester, and recently stopped getting them. I thought I was getting them just because it makes my eyes pop more, but it was really that initial lesson I was taught at 5 that this is what will get you the prince in shining armor.
Hour Glass Shape: I have never done this, but now all over the web is something called waist trainers. These are corsets made for women to pull in their waist and accentuate the hips. I have never tried it, but this idea of that body can come from the view of princesses. They all have a certain hour glass shape that is not realistic. It is not anyone's natural body to look like an hour glass, especially mine. This always would bother me, I even considered buy a waist trainer, but for the reason that I was taught this is the way women should look.
Beautifully painted nails: Every two weeks I was on a regimented schedule of blowing 40 plus dollars out the window for nice painted and cleaned nails. This is a precedent that is set in all Disney movies. The princesses always have long, clean, painted nails.
Perfect Makeup: I remember looking in the mirror at 7 years old wondering why my cheeks weren't as rode as snow whites, or why my eyelashes didn't seem as dark and perfect, or why my lips weren't a luscious red or pink tone like the beautiful characters behind the television screen. I would then quickly rumble through my mothers makeup to recreate that perfect makeup. Even now in my daily schedule I have to leave myself enough time to paint my canvas (my face).
The Perfect Dress: Not only in everyday life do I try and create the perfect outfit of the day, but more specifically around prom time was this most prevalent. Every year in high school when I was asked by a prince to go tot he ball (prom), I would freak out scrambling around for the perfect dress. I would picture this night just how the movies played it out. I walk into the ball with my beautiful gown all made up, and my prince gazing at me with a look of complete happiness. The moment in a Disney movie that a girl couldn't wait to see, and I wanted that moment in real life; not even realizing that Disney princesses were my influences in finding that perfect dress.
Everything we thought we had forgotten is still very alive in our everyday life. Nothing ever goes forgotten, but just unnoticed. Christensen may have crushed the very value I have in all my memories of the wonderful Disney land and movies I would cuddle up with my mom to watch, but she introduced something way more important and relevant; that the fact that I was taught to become a beautiful white, long haired, perfect bodied, perfect makeup faced princess finding her prince charming and living happily ever after.
This all can connect to Delpit's piece on the codes of power, because we were all taught the codes through Disney movies, it was just in a hidden way. But as children we learned these codes that we followed and still follow, aiding us in having power in this society. That way we can be pretty enough, light enough, skinny enough, classy enough, etc., to excel in life itself; because in a society like ours looks take you farther than one could even imagine.