As a wide eyed, mushroom cutted, onesie wearing youngster I spent countless hours plopped down in front of my Zenith floor model monster of a television drinking in everything Disney I could get my hands on. If I wasn’t watching Disney movies I was creating plots more dramatic than Days of Our Lives in my bathtub with my McDonald’s Happy Meal Disney figurines (more often than not it was a Titanic/Hercules/Mulan mash up so that while all of my figurines were sinking in the tub my Baywatch barbie dolls could come in on their working sea-doos and save the day).
As a Religion & Pop Culture student in university, I was a wide-eyed, sock bunned, onesie wearing twenty-something who spent countless hours plopped in front of my Macbook drinking in everything Disney I could get my hands on. As I studied the films that I watched and admired as a child I became so thankful that I didn’t try to apply everything that I learned from these movies to real life. Had I taken Disney films at face value at seven years old and wanted to be a Princess, these are the life lessons I would have learned and the goals I would have strived towards:
10 Life Lessons from Disney Movies:
1. Unless you’re busy infiltrating an army to help your country defeat the Huns to save your elderly father from conscription, you better be wearing a dress. No excuses! Staying at home to read a book and to talk to your candle sticks? Better have a dress on. Going for an evening stroll through the woods? Better wear an evening gown. Trekking through the icy mountains during a blizzard? Girl, you obviously still have to wear a dress. A cape tied around your neck will clearly keep you safe from the elements. Go take those sweat pants off now.
2. Rodents are our friends. They know how to sew and mop. When your mom tells you it’s time to clean the house just go outside and find all of the rodents you can and invite them into your home. Things will be sparkling in no time. They don’t have diseases or anything, so it’s all good. Your mom won’t mind.
3. Speaking of moms – go hug your parents right now. Seriously. THIS INSTANT. 9/10 girls aged eight or older lose their parents and are raised by an evil step-mother. There’s no such thing as a good step-mother, by the way. Especially if you’re rich. They just want your money. Don’t drink that tea they make for you.
4. Let’s talk apples. Never eat apples. I would probably recommend avoiding fruit altogether, just to be on the safe side. I mean, have you seen what apples do to a girl? One word: COMA! I’ve never heard anything bad about chocolate chip cookies though, so that should probably be your main staple.
5. On the other hand, you can only be a desirable girl if you are so skinny that you disappear when you turn sideways. PUT DOWN THAT COOKIE RIGHT NOW. Thanks.
6. I’d also recommend being terrified and suspicious of all old ladies. You just can’t trust them. So either avoid them at all costs or go out of your way to be helpful.
7. Wild, scary looking animals are just misunderstood. It’s hard for them to express to us how awesome and fun they are because it always comes out like RARRRR ROAR ARGGHHH. If only we had a Rosetta Stone program for Wild Beast Speak. So when a bear or a dragon or something equally terrifying roars at you and shows its teeth it just needs a friend. They may have told you in school to play dead, but I think you should get even closer to the animal and hug it. In the end you guys will be best friends and go on so many adventures via musical montages. It will be the best thing ever.
8. There’s no such thing as inanimate objects. At night your toys and furniture come to life. Some of them will probably want to kill you, so be careful how many boring tea parties you make your dolls sit in on during a week. They have a breaking point just like everyone else.
9. By the age of fifteen you are expected to drop everything you are doing and go forth into nature without the proper provisions to survive. This is called an adventure, or a journey. I recommend wearing a more loose fitting gown. You have to g.o alone and you have to walk for days without water or food and go as far into the jungle or mountain as possible. But it’s okay, you will never be thirsty or hungry and your hair will always look salon styled. The idea of this might not be super appealing but trust me, it’s something you have to do. It’s your coming of age event. Some people have a bar mitzvah with their favourite boy band doing the entertainment, you will battle the elements to see if you will survive. Don’t worry though, you will survive. Things will get pretty scary for a little while: you may fall through the ice or over a waterfall, get chased by things, have to befriend a dragon…I mean, I don’t have to tell you how many dangers you can come across as a fifteen year old girl in the cold woods alone in just a dress and cape. But don’t you worry your pretty little head. When you are in that near death situation that’s when IT will happen. You will be helpless and about to give in to death and then HE will save you. A boy! And then you will be in love. The damsel gets the guy. It’s just a thing. Accept it.
10. Speaking of boys, that’s pretty much the whole point of your existence.
When you find a boy and immediately fall in love some man with a really deep voice will tell you that you all lived happily ever after. You have to do me a favour though: don’t believe him. You will think, at first, that you’ve found your happy ending but you’re just going to end up in a rut. You will spend all of your time cleaning your castle in your more casual gown with the help of rat and bird friends. You’ll send e-cards to your creepy step-mother because you’re a little afraid of visiting her in person. You will cook supper for your husband and feed the leftover scraps to the giant black bear in your backyard who you befriended after he tried to kill you in the woods at age fifteen. Then you will have a baby and immediately everyone will start calling you crazy because you will check all of your food for poison, make sure the stove is off about ten times a day and refuse to ever get in a car again. 9/10 Disney girls don’t have mothers, after all! It’s not crazy to be extra careful! This paranoia will soon affect your relationship with your sister because you’re positive she will marry your husband and mis-treat your daughter. You’ll stop sending her Christmas slippers or invites to your dinner parties. She’ll grow to resent you and post childish things about you in her facebook statuses. All the while that damn Prince Charming you were so sure was the bees knees when you met him will spend all of his time at the beer hall getting hammered with the local drunkards and regaling the young girls in the heroic tale of how he saved you from near death. He doesn’t actually love you, you know? He just feels obligated to be with you because you’ll probably die on your own. But that’s okay, the beer makes it all a little more bearable for him.
Happily ever after, indeed!