My Boyfriend says I am too old for Disney, but I argue, you are never too old for Disney… the films that is.
I mean, talk to me and let me know your thoughts here. I love the films and I think there is nothing wrong with still, at 26 years old I can’t sit down for an afternoon and watch them, it’s a childhood escapism that I still find a lot of comfort in and I know that I am not alone. However, even as a child I never felt I particularly related to the Disney Princesses or felt I wanted to, I also never got swallowed up in the whole Prince Charming myth… I was always far too into horses to bother with boys until my mid-late teens so the charms of Aladdin and Eric were lost on me, the Disney horses however are a totally different story (swoon!).
But, and this is where I could do with some opinions, I do think there is a line between it being perfectly acceptable to love everything about Disney and not. I know of a couple of young women, one in particular, who at nearing her mid-twenties is still obsessed by Disney –the films, characters, theme parks…Everything! and I do think that this borders on immature. Am I right? It’s a difficult line to balance along. But maybe it comes down to how much exposure you get as a child to Disney? For me, it was purely the films and the family collection consisted of Robin Hood, Jungle Book, Aristocats, Aladdin, Snow White, Fantasia and Dumbo (and maybe a couple of others?). The greats of Beauty & the Beast, Cinderella, the Little Mermaid, Bambi, Pocahontas, the Lion King and such like I have had to buy myself later but I remember feeling a little deprived of these at the time so the opportunity to watch them at friends’ houses was always taken. But Disney was always consumed within the films, nothing more. For others of course their experiences differed, aside from the films I had friends that were bought the dresses, went to the theme parks, and had the dolls and so on. Their own personal consumption and investment into the franchise was much broader. Dressing up is all part of child’s play so little girls transporting their young minds into princess make believe land is all part of the innocence of the time but that is where it should stay. However quite disturbingly, somewhere probably in America, parents are sending their sweethearts to Princess School. Yes, such a place does exist and we should all be very frightened of it!
“Let it go, let it go, I can’t hold it back anymore, let it go, let it go, turn away and slam the door, I don’t care what they’re going to say (let the storm rage on, the cold never bothered anyway…)”
Oh to have the lungs of Idina Menzel!
I have never been fortunate to go to Disneyland even though I went through a massive Mickey Mouse phase when I was younger, I was never taken (deprived much, eh?) and it is a place whether in Florida and/or Paris, I would one day like to go. More so probably because I think it would be sad if I died and had never gone, I think it’s one of those places you just have to go to at some point in your lifetime and lose yourself in the fun of it all.
On a more serious note, I did look into Disney from an academic perspective while at Uni in my first year and the research proved quite eye opening with the hidden agendas and messages twisted into the song lyrics and stories (don’t believe me, check out YouTube) but equally, regardless of academia, am I not just more alert to this being an adult? We read into everything more deeply once we have left the realm of childhood, how many words that were once so innocent now have sexual connotations attached to them?! Point made.
Of course you can also delve into and question how white all the characters are, how sexualised the Princesses are, how even sometimes racist the characters can appear but for children they were/are invisible, if you take things at face value that’s how it is, you don’t notice them and why should you? Disney to most is this magical and innocent world and as long as it never bleeds into real life it can only but ever stay locked within animated escapism. So let’s just leave it in there eh, in Never Never land.
Until next time xFollow