In February, I wrote an article on what I dubbed “Disney Princess Syndrome”. At the time, I stated that most of the Disney princesses seem to feel the need to be married, no matter what the cost.
The thing is that, the more I thought about it, the more the Disney princesses bother me. So I have to tackle this again, albeit in a slightly different way.
In 2009, Disney released The Princess and the Frog. The movie featured Tiana, the first African-American princess in Disney history. When it happened, I was of the opinion that Disney should not be celebrated for finally having an African-American Disney princess, especially since it took until 2009.
Why am I mentioning this? For reference. You see, there are twelve princesses (welcome to the gang, Merida). Of those princesses, seven are white. Only Mulan, Tiana, Jasmine, and Pocahontas are PoC, and Disney’s history of whitewashing is long and numerous.
Yet, there has been no attempt to have a clearly disabled princess.
I am not saying that Disney needs to be daring and have an autistic princess, although I think that, if done correctly, that would be fantastic. But why can’t a princess also be handicapped? Is it hard to believe that a prince could fall in love with a pretty girl who is disabled? Or is it one of those things where a handicapped princess is not marketable?
I really don’t know, to be honest. I can see Disney doing things for the sake of marketing. It’s business, and I understand it. However, I think that public opinion is important too.
If Disney featured a handicapped princess, it would do a world of good for both the handicapped and non-handicapped. Children with handicaps will see that they can strive for a “storybook ending,” while non-handicapped children can see that handicapped children aren’t broken, just different. It could do a lot in today’s world of anger and bullying.
You wouldn’t think that if you read some comment boards on the subject. The concept that Ariel is disabled particularly irks me. She’s a mermaid. She is a different species. Yes, she looks human, but she’s a different species. It’s the same as if you said Shrek was disabled for being an ogre. Or if you called the Doctor disabled for being a Time Lord. You are, in essence, saying the disabled are not human.
The ideas expressed in the above comment board are probably in the minority, but it shows that something like a handicapped princess could do a lot for the next generation of children. Disney, please work on a story. I’ll help you write it if you need help.
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