While researching for an IBD article on Snow White, I stumbled across a syndrome called Princess Syndrome. The concept fascinated me. Apparently, Psychology Today defines Princess Syndrome as a girl who “lives life as a fairy-tale: focusing only on the pretty things, putting herself as the center of the universe, and obsessing about her looks.”
While going deeper, I found several blog postings discussing something called Disney Princess Syndrome. It got me to thinking; I could tackle every Disney Princess individually and point out that in all but the most recent Disney movies and Mulan, they only find happiness by finding a man and “settling down”… or I can lump this all together.
This trend rolls back from the very beginning. In Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Snow White, must run from her evil stepmother for fear of death. On the way, she falls in love with a dashing prince after a quick song and dance, stumbles into a cottage, meets seven dwarves, and cooks and cleans for those dwarves, all the while dreaming about marrying the handsome prince, obsessing to the point where she eats an apple given to her by a stranger and nearly dies.
This trend doesn’t go away, and most Disney princesses get hit hard with the “I Gotta Get Married!” bug. Cinderella dreams about marriage so much that her step-mother punishes her by refusing to allow her to go to Prince Charming’s “Imma Get Some” ball. Ariel, as I discussed last article, is so obsessed with Prince Eric that she gives up her voice and potentially her soul for him, even though she met him via saving his life and never found out anything except for what he looks like.
The only 20th Century Disney Princess that isn’t completely obsessed with marriage is Mulan. The girl is strong, kicks major ass in place of her ailing father, saves China, and then gets gets the man. The opening number of Mulan is all about how China expects Mulan to find a suitable husband first, but Mulan does it her own way. This film is in the minority up until Tangled and Brave were released.
The point is that looking at both Disney Princess Syndrome and Princess Syndrome, I’m finding a connection between the two. This isn’t completely shocking. Children watch Disney movies growing up and wish to emulate the characters they relate to most. I admit I wanted to be badass like Aladdin when I was younger, and I will be looking at if there could be a Disney Prince Syndrome next IBD.
The idea that Disney, considered a staple of children’s development, could affect children more than in passing is worrisome. Seems Disney was worried as well, as their recent Princess movies have feature strong, independent princesses. Still, the end of these movies, with the exception of Brave, end with the princess getting married. Marriage should not be a big deal to a child. More focus to family values, like in Brave, would be welcome in today’s society. Get on it, Disney.
Finally, I’m going to be doing more IBD posts on Disney villains. Leave a comment in the comment section mentioning who you think is the Disney villain with the most interesting disability, mental or physical. Love you.
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