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Wellness > Sex + Relationships

Happily Ever After? How The Disney Princesses Are Ruining Your Love Life

“Mirror mirror on the wall, will my lab partner ask me out, after all?”

It’s a tale as old as time: girl meets boy, girl obsesses over boy, and girl does something stupid to chase boy away. Obviously, our college years aren’t synonymous with a happily ever after that includes a sunset and a Celine Dion soundtrack, but that doesn’t mean we can’t dream—we may just have to settle for a “castle” (read: frat house) instead. But sitting on the couch rewinding our favorite Disney classics hoping for lust, love, and for our sadly unattractive classmate to magically turn into the hottest campus cutie (hey, it worked for Belle), isn’t exactly helping. In fact, come to think of it, our beloved Disney Princesses aren’t necessarily the greatest role models, to say the least — I don’t see a fairy godmother appearing at my doorstep ready to dress me to the nines. So just where are our royal role models steering us wrong? We’ve hovered over are classic VHS tapes and have uncovered the lessons you shouldn’t be taking from our idolized princesses.

Ariel: The less you wear, the more likely he’s going to like you

I’ll give her some credit because she does land Prince Eric, who’s definitely one of the hotter cartoon princes, but other than that, the undersea princess couldn’t be more desperate for her man’s attention. Not only does she compromise her voice for a pair of legs — um, hello so much more maintenance!—but she silently (literally) waits around in a barely-there shell bikini for Eric to come her way. And it totally works: the less you wear and the quieter you are, the more likely you’ll be able to land the man of your dreams.

Instead: Put some clothes on

Sure you should flaunt what you’ve got, but there is a fine line between being put together and being a full-on hot mess that no one wants to touch. Leave a little something to his imagination and don’t put it all out there right away. Ditch the bralette and high-waisted skirt, or the barely-there bodycon for something flirty, but not over too over the top — the frat house is no place for those ensembles, anyway. You’re a girl, so he obviously knows (we hope) that you have boobs. There’s no need to shove them in his face. Guys love a woman’s body, but let him have the opportunity to fall in love with your personality, too. Also, if an evil octopus ever offers to make a deal with you in exchange for you vocals, just say no. Trust us.

Mulan: Be one of the guys (and like everything he likes)

Mulan has moxie, tons of it. She chops off her hair, runs away from home, and impersonates a man in the Chinese army. (I cry when I get my hair trimmed.) Anyway, while she may be a serious force to be reckoned with, the Asian princess tries a little too hard when it comes to snagging her prince. Her intentions are in the right place—she is saving her father from the fight—but her actions can be misconstrued as desperate in the search for love.  Hello, she goes beyond the whole idea of trying to be one of the bros and literally becomes one! You don’t have to be ladylike 24/7, but Mulan drops all grace and class, and even her manners.  Spitting is just never okay.

Instead: Don’t change who you are for a guy

When it comes to love, many of us mold ourselves into someone else to impress the opposite sex:

“Basketball and beer are like my two favorite hobbies.”

“I love fishing, they don’t call it the great outdoors for nothing.”

“Star Wars marathon? Hell yes!”

Please, do you really think he’s buying any of that? Straying from the truth isn’t going to make a relationship work. Eventually, you’ll have to give up the act and, by then, it may be too late to salvage what you’ve got.  Plus, keeping up with the lies can be as exhausting as running a marathon — even Mulan falters when she has to go swimming in the pond with the guys.  It’s hard to hide yourself these days, especially with Facebook ready to air out your dirty laundry. Not to mention, it’s pretty hard to be happy when you’re not doing the things you love. If you’ve got Bieber Fever, admit to it. Can’t get enough of Twilight? Might as well spill about it. In the end, if he judges you based on your interests, then he’s totally not worth the time. Be you, end of story, and the beginning of happily ever after. Just remember: it’s not about forcing him to love everything you love too — relationships are about this funny little thing called balance.

Snow White: Strangers are your friends; go ahead, you can trust them

She may the fairest in the land, but I’m to go out on a limb and say that Snow White may also be the dumbest. She’s that girl—the one who wanders around the forest innocently and ignorantly. Flat out: Snow White is too sweet for her own good. Thus, it’s no surprise that she takes a (poisoned) apple from a complete and total stranger and then proceeds to eat said fruit, and basically almost dies. Did her parents and guardians seriously teach her nothing?

Instead: Don’t accept things from strangers

STRANGER DANGER: it rhymes for a reason. Snow (it’s the 21st Century, we’re not calling her by her first and last name, #excessive) is too eager to accept a seemingly harmless gift from an obvious questionable suspect. Just because Prince Charming comes and saves his damsel in distress doesn’t mean the same will happen to you. Whether you’re out at bar, a club, or even the frat house you’ve partied at far too many times, be careful of your surroundings and lucid about what you’re drinking — you never know who’s slipping a little something into your jungle juice. And getting roofied is so uncool not to mention, uh, dangerous. Check your drink/yourself before you wreck yourself.

Belle: Abusive relationships are fine and normal

In a completely unrealistic storyline (but still, one of my all-time faves), Belle, (despite having a good head on her shoulders), manages to get herself stuck in a castle full of talking silverware and a gruesome beast. He growls at her, throws temper tantrums, and, oh right, locks her in his massive house — sounds like a normal relationship. Not. Although Belle fights back in the beginning, she eventually succumbs to the Beast’s controlling ways. She even goes back him after he seemingly has a brain aneurism and frees her. Really, Belle? She’s seriously addicted to this emotionally abusive relationship.

Instead: Don’t let a guy control you

To quote the wise and all-knowing Miley Cyrus, “I can’t be tamed.” No guy should have you wrapped around his finger like you’re some kind of toy. Belle had a life outside of that castle, but the Beast wouldn’t let her leave and she took that as a final answer. Sorry, but no. You have to stand your ground and fight for what you want. Emotional abuse is just as rough as anything physical. If he tries to get in the way of what want, it’s time to walk the other way.

Cinderella: He should always come to you

Cinderella (is it time to call her Cindy, yet?) mops the floors, cleans the chimneys, and washes the dishes. She’s essentially a full-time maid who can’t escape her work, literally. So when she finally does get her night to shine she goes all out, mingling with royalty, she makes a serious connection with Prince Charming. But of course, as you know, when the clock strikes midnight, she bails, and runs back to her sad, pathetic life of chores. What’s a girl to do next? Oh, right — wait for the prince to come find her, of course! It’s very unladylike to seek out a gentleman. Gag…

Instead: Make moves, ask him out

See someone you like? Go for it! In this day and age, if you take Cinderella’s advice and wait for your prince to knock down your door with the perfect size 8 Louboutin heel, well, let’s just say you’ve got a lot of time to kill — better pick up knitting. Instead, gather some courage, fix your mascara, and get up and ask him out to dinner. Don’t wait for the magical shoe to be slipped onto your foot, go make your own magic. And on another note: if the friendly neighborhood mice start speaking to you, it may be time to stop inhaling the cleaning products.

So collegiettes, the next time you seek out your prince, toss the tiara out the window (figuratively, of course) and be you — as cliché as it sounds, I swear it’ll work.  Because think about it: the credits roll before you really find out what happens behind closed castle doors. Did they seriously live happily ever after in a nudist colony with poisoned fruit and abusive husbands? Your chances at happiness are significantly higher once you forget the Disney Princesses.

Jamie is a recent graduate of the George Washington University where she majored in Political Communication and Journalism.  While in school, she interned at several magazines and online publications, wrote for Her Campus, and contributed to her university's newspaper, The Hatchet. Her work has been syndicated in The Huffington Post, USA Today College, and Reader's Digest. Jamie loves boy bands, anything with a little wit and sarcasm, and of course, diet coke. She is currently pursuing a career in magazine journalism in NYC. You can follow her on Twitter, @jamieblynn