Disney's Problematic Portrayal of Love

There's always a theme among Disney movies. I'd like to say that the theme is kindness, helping others, or having faith in yourself. However, Disney has a problem in portraying love. Actually, let me rephrase that: healthy relationships.

When you're a kid, you don't bat an eye when you see Belle fall in love with the Beast (despite him keeping her as a prisoner). And you don't question Prince Charming's obsessive love for Cinderella because she's the most beautiful person he's ever seen.

Although we didn't pick up on these ridiculous, problematic plot points when we were kids, there is harm that comes from these stories. The meaning of love starts to become construed and made into a make-believe concept. Love starts to become a happily ever after. Love is what makes everything okay again. Love is the answer to everything.  Actually, it's not even love at this point… it's a man who will fix everything for the damsel in distress.

This constant reinforcement of the inaccuracies of love leads to toxic ideas of what love and relationships are truly like. Even worse, it enforces the gender stereotype of women needing a man to make everything better.

In terms of the inaccuracies of love and relationships, Disney implants an idea that a relationship and finding "true" love will fix everything. Everything else along the way was awful for the main character until they found their one true love. Disney fails to emphasize that relationships are not a solution to your problems, and this ultimately leads to many problematic relationships.  

When it comes to gender stereotyping, Disney is obsessed with creating a male interest character for the main character. Sadly enough, it has implanted the notion that a woman needs a man in her life. Whether this is so she can feel complete, happy, or to mend some personal doubts, a man must be inserted in order to fix it all.

Even though Disney has a history of problems with their movies, they are trying to make amends. Movies such as Frozen, Brave, and Moana (my personal favorite) now stray away from the basic storyline of guy-saves-girl or girl-needs-love. Let's hope they continue to do so.

Cover image source: Pexels