Are Disney Princesses Problematic?

Beloved actress Keira Knightly and Frozen super star Kristen Bell have voiced their concerns about some of the classic Disney princess films. Bell went on Twitter and talked about how she believes that Disney princesses are giving girls the wrong idea about many things in life; for example, Snow White. She talked about how it’s very odd that Snow White was okay with a man she didn’t know kissing her without her consent. She spoke about how at home she tries to let her kids know that consent should always be asked for when it comes to things of that nature, and that though this is a film, this type of behavior is not accepted in the real world. Many fans felt a little outraged that she would even consider saying such things, especially when she is a Disney princess herself.

Keira Knightly also voiced her own opinions on the set of Ellen, saying that she has gone as far as banning certain Disney films from her children because she does not agree with what they teach. She talked about Cinderella for the most part, saying that she should save herself instead of waiting around for a rich prince to come and make her dreams come true. She also mentioned that she has banned the Little Mermaid as well, even though she loves the film, but films such as Moana and Frozen have earned the right to not be banned, and her family enjoys watching them.

Though I can understand that Kristen Bell wants to teach her children that movies are just movies, and they should dig beneath the surface so they can understand right from wrong; I completely disagree with Knightly's decision to ban certain films from her home. Trying to teach your kids in subtle ways that certain things may not be “okay” in the real world is one thing, but to completely ban something as innocent as a Disney film is just odd to say the least. Kristen Bell mentioned that she mentions things like “wow, isn’t it weird that Snow White just let a random man kiss her without consent” in order to provoke critical thinking about situations like that which can arise. Completely understandable, however, I don’t think that it goes much deeper than just being a classic film. As time passes, generations bring in new and fresh ideas for films which ultimately showcase things that society today finds more acceptable.

I have always thought Cinderella was someone to look up to, in contrast to what Knightly sees. I don’t believe she waited around for some rich guy to save her. As seen in the film, she struggles to fight off the abuse her step-family constantly gives her and only escapes thanks to the animals she’s nurtured with love and her fairy godmother. She only finds the prince after she went through so many struggles to go to the ball, which was her way of just getting out to finally have a good time. I also believe banning things from your children will only result in rebellious actions, and lack of trust being formed. Taking inspiration from Bell's idea of provoking critical thinking is definitely a better route to go.

What do you guys think about this? Are Kristen Bell and Keira Knightly right about princesses being a little too superficial with not much substance to them, or are they just Disney films that don’t have to have such a deep meaning? Let us know!

Xoxo,

Nicole.