Should Disney Films Be Rewritten Too Reflect Modern Values?

Disney movies, although incredibly popular, have a slight controversy to them. With the rise of a new generation of feminism, arguments are being made that Disney films don’t portray their princesses and heroines in the best way. This led to the question: Should Disney films be banned?

 

This debate opened when two celebrities commented on the issue. It started with Keira Knightly, who stated in an interview that she doesn’t let her daughter watch Cinderella, because “she waits around to be rescued.” The second A-lister to pass comment was Frozen star Kristen Bell who admitted that she thought it was “weird” that Sleeping Beauty was kissed by the Prince without her permission.

 

Both of these comments received huge backlash from audience members, outraged fans who claimed it wasn’t even a question. One tweeted: “This makes me soooo mad, leave the classics alone.” Another wrote: “They are Fairy tales for goodness sake, get a grip!” Whilst many Disney fans stood strong with their fairy tale movies, some tried to defend Knightly and Bell, saying that they were “coming from the right place in terms of wanting the best for her kids.”

At the end of 2018, two writers were invited onto Good Morning Britain to discuss this controversial question: Should Disney films be banned? The two writers in question were Adele Parks and Scarlet Curtis.  Both women agreed that it wasn’t about banning these movies – they’re popular and well loved, but some critics are arguing that these fairy tales should be rewritten to reflect modern values. Scarlet Curtis commented saying:

 

A lot of these stories do give young girls an unrealistic expectation of what they should want from their life…we need to represent the diversity of what a woman can be.

Disney is already moving towards modern representation with its newer movies. Brave, Moana, Princess and the Frog, presenting us with movies and stories that show young girls that women don’t have to wait for a man to rescue them.

 

However, from this segment, Good Morning Britain held an online poll asking: “Is it time to ditch princes rescuing damsels in distress for princesses rescuing themselves?” Only 10% voted yes, whilst 90% said no. A similar discussion was held on This Morning. Presenter Holly Willoughby stated:

For me, that (fairy tales) was my childhood and I have grown up pretty empowered. I’ve grown up pretty independent. I think in a way, is it not insulting to suggest a woman – as she grows older – can’t differentiate between fact and fiction?

I agree with Holly in a sense, but this question isn’t being asked because we think grown women are being influenced by Disney films – we recognise that they are make-believe. However, for young children who are still learning, seeing these ‘unrealistic expectations’ and having phrases such as ‘fairy-tale ending’ permeated into their lives, can be influencing.

 

I believe that, as many people argued, it isn’t about banning Disney movies, or even rewriting them, but rather about recreating them to be reflective of modern times. This is already being started, as I previously mentioned, with films like Moana or Frozen. We need to continue to make films that show us this diversity – for example, Lin-Manuel Miranda is in discussion for a Moana sequel featuring Disney’s first ever Latina princess. When we have films representing everything a woman can be, it is then up to the parent what they chose to allow their children to watch. If they want to watch Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty (whom only has 18 lines in the while movie) they should be allowed to.

 

At the end of the day, to me, it isn’t about taking away ‘Prince Charming,’ it’s about showing that our heroines can still be strong without him – this is the message we should be giving young girls.

 

Let me know what your opinion on this topic is!

 

Stay Perfect, Messy People.