So for most of us, growing up with Disney has been a large part of our childhood and let’s not deny it, Disney continues to be a part of our lives now. We have those hung-over days where we watch Tangled or Snow White, but even more commonly we have those drunken pre-drinks where we play drinking games to the likes of The Lion King and Aladdin. The problem with Disney is that it sometimes fills us all with jumbled notions of reality, convincing us that Prince Charming really is just round the corner. Look at these lessons that Disney got right, and a few they got wrong.
1.)The Little Mermaid
So Ariel in The Little Mermaid may illustrate to most how body language can help when trying to seduce that guy you like, demonstrated when she gets Prince Eric to fall in love with her despite having no voice. However, most importantly this film teaches girls that to be with the one that you love you may have to sacrifice your friends, family and in Ariel’s case, your fins. When you find the right guy make sure you’re not giving up too much to be with him, and if you are, make sure he’s worth it.
2.)Beauty and the Beast
This timeless Disney classic teaches viewers the most important lessons in life; don’t judge a book by its cover, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that true beauty is within. Belle falls in love with the Beast and the power of true love turns him back into the handsome Prince he was before. Lesson learnt here is that you should be with someone who makes you want to be a better person. One small lesson Disney did fail to highlight in this film is that bestiality is wrong. Enough said.
Most Disney films show girls that there is a Prince Charming waiting for her and that she should find this dashingly handsome man ready to sweep her off her feet. FALSE. Let’s be honest Prince Charming only exists in dreams (unless you’re one of the lucky few, but you’re the exception and most are the rule). Jasmine is a Disney Princess who looks beyond superficial looks, wealth and status. I’m not suggesting you find a homeless person and pursue him for true love, but it is important to find a man who respects you for exactly who you are, and you should do the same.
4.)The Lion King
The Lion King teaches us many life lessons: live up to your responsibilities and “take your place in the Circle of Life”, live life with “Hakuna Matata”, and treat your friends with respect- Scar learnt this lesson when his hyenas turned on him at the end. Most importantly though The Lion King taught us that love can withstand distance and time so if you think it’s worth it, stay with it. Simba and Nala were separated for years but as soon as they saw each other again they could certainly “feel the love tonight”.
5.) Peter Pan
This film always leaves me feeling a little sad. Peter Pan lives a life of loneliness when his lost boys decide to leave Neverland- “for all children grow up... Except one”. Lesson learnt here is that one day we will all have responsibilities that didn’t exist for us when we were younger. Once you leave University you probably have to find a job, earn money, and one day raise a family. This doesn’t however mean that all the fun is sucked out of your life. Remember that just because you are becoming an adult it doesn’t mean you have to become a grown-up.
This one is an important lesson so read closely. Do not by any means let anyone tell you that you cannot do something because of your gender, size, age or anything else. Mulan defied everyone’s expectations when she proved that she could be one of China’s greatest heroes. This film demonstrates that girls are no longer in need of a Knight in Shining Armour; in this story it is the Princess that saves the Prince. Boys, this doesn’t mean that we don’t appreciate the sentiment; we enjoy you sweeping us off our feet once in a while.
All said and done, at the end of the day Disney is for entertainment. So go ahead a relive your childhood through these timeless classics and if you learn some lessons along the way then that is just an added bonus. Walt Disney did say that “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” So if that is the only thing you’ve learnt from the article then so be it, that is enough.