I watched Disney's new film Maleficent one and a half times this weekend. The half being that the projector broke down half way through watching it the first time and I had to bring my family back the next day to find out how it ended. Spoiler alert: It had a happy ending, but as in Disney's last few films, it had nothing to do with a prince sweeping in to save the day.
I applaud Disney for finally creating strong female characters who don't need no stinking man to sweep them off their feet and rescue them. I especially applaud this since I have a daughter and I want her to go to college and have a successful career before getting distracted by any prince (hopefully sometime after I've kicked the bucket).
Though I am a bit concerned about the lack of any good role models for boys in the Disney films. All of the men in Maleficent (with the exception of the crow that Maleficent turns into a man so I don't think he counts) were pretty much portrayed as violent, greedy, selfish liars who treat women poorly. Even Prince Charming is portrayed as a wimp and a lousy kisser (so lousy in fact that his kiss can't awaken Sleeping Beauty and he is berated by some fairies for his lack of technique...I think there is definitely some therapy in his future).
It always seemed a bit creepy anyway that a Prince would stumble on a presumably dead girl (in both Snow White and Sleeping Beauty) and proceed to kiss them. I think this is against the law in most states (except maybe Arkansas and Kentucky).
But I digress.
The closest thing I ever came to being a Prince was playing the Pauper in a sixth grade production of Prince and the Pauper. Ironically the part of the Prince was played by a girl in my class named Gail Six.
I always resented the fact that Disney Princes were consistently classically handsome, athletic and rich. They would slay dragons and kiss dead Princesses who would wake up and ride off with them to castles to live happily ever after. I was never handsome, athletic nor rich. I did, however, get good grades. But none of the Princesses in Disney ever asked the Princes what their GPA was. In fact, the only Prince I recall that read books was the Beast from Beauty and the Beast. He was ugly albeit and snappy dresser, but turned into a classically handsome, athletic and rich Prince once he and Belle kissed.
I don't think I ever wanted to be a prince anyway. Even Prince didn't want to be Prince anymore as was evidenced when he changed his name to a symbol. It's very stressful to be expected to ride in on a white horse and rescue damsels in distress. In reality, damsels in distress don't want you to "rescue" them anyway. They just want you to listen to them and not try to fix everything. This is a hard lesson to learn. Because I, like many men, grew up hardwired to try and fix problems, usually with duct tape.
I suppose the moral of this blog post is that when you wish upon a star, doesn't matter who you are, you still have to deal with the reality of life. People can't rescue you. You have to create your own happiness.
Oh, and don't kiss dead people thinking they'll wake up. That's just wrong on so many levels.