Disney did something psychologically to millennials while growing up. Yes, it was a great babysitter while our mothers were busy gossiping with our aunts, or while the other adults at the family reunion couldn’t be found because they were somewhere getting drunk and playing spades. Mickey Mouse and the rest of the Disney staff were safe in a sense that the animation was great and fun, it furthered our imaginations, it was clean – well, clean for an innocent child who really had no idea what was actually going on. Nonetheless, Walt Disney dictated our views on relationships and gave us false hope that one day, some magical knight was going to come and save us from whatever first-world issues that we face. And not only would he save us, but he would be absolutely gorgeous too. Yep, it’s all Disney’s fucking fault.
In the real world, this does not exist. Yes, we all want to be princesses at heart. However, in those movies that we just happened to be raised upon, the prince always rescues the girl who comes from a family of royalty. As a millennial, this was the basis of movies that came around during our childhood. I’m not sure about everyone else, but my family does not have a dowry to offer some man to come and take my hand in marriage. Maybe this is the reason why the rest of us may not receive romance of quality: money is not given by our parents. Hell, we can’t even offer a house or a cottage in the hills anymore. So, where are we going to live after getting married? A ridiculously high-rent apartment in the city where our neighbors are insanely loud at 3am? Oh, yeah. That’s sexy.
Nonetheless, the following Disney films were major in my upbringing, and, to this day, I happily enjoy watching them if they’re ever on the screen. But in some weird little way, these films are partially responsible for my illogical ideas of romance. No one is going to kiss me out my slumber (except for Bill Cosby and that’s just fucking gross), and every man who exists isn’t a prince. At some point, we all have to accept the commonplace, mediocre, humdrum quality of the guy on the subway who may not have a fancy car (horse), whose hair doesn’t do that cool Disney swirl thing, and who doesn’t wear some 13th to 19th century get up to impress the lady folk. Instead, our men wear khaki shorts and those disgusting hipster tanks now. So far from Prince Alibaba.
First of all, Ariel was 14. When we all realized how old she was and that she could gain this handsome French prince (with blue eyes) while wearing basically only a bikini top, what else were the rest of us supposed to do? This guy had chefs cooking for her, designing her gowns, doing her hair, and she didn’t even have to speak! She didn’t have to do shit! What are the rest of us doing over here? Working our asses off while dating men who can’t hold a job. And we’re twice this girl’s age.
This was the ultimate love story while I was growing up. I remember constantly asking my parents when the film was going to come out. Finally, I got it on VHS and loved the soundtrack of Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson singing love songs. For one, we have no idea what love songs are anymore, and it’s an issue that Disney had to be the one to introduce the idea to us. Moving forward, Belle loved this hideous beast-man, and lo and behold, lucky her, he ends up being a wealthy prince. Okay, I’ve dated a number of hideous beast men in my day, and none of them turned into princes. Hell, none of them even got me flowers. At least her beast maintained a rose for the entirety of his life.
He tried to woo a woman with everything he had even when he had nothing. He used his magical genie to try and impress a woman. He created an alias, gave a magic carpet ride, and made even a princess believe that there was a better life outside of her royal compound. Aladdin made us think that some man would be willing to do any and everything for a woman, and, along the way, would gain some fashion sense. Horse shit.
Somewhat the exception of our millennial-based Disney films, but edging a bit closer to reality. One, the lead male character runs away from fear. Two, he stays away because he doesn’t want to own up to his responsibility. Three, his woman has to come and bring his ass back. Four, he comes back and the woman gets no glory…except for having his child. This should have been the foreshadowing that the rest of us while growing up should’ve seen. Instead, we were captivated by the love songs of Elton John and thought that that made everything O.K.
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Newage Disney doesn’t carry the same tone that we were dealt in the 80s and 90s. Instead, kids now are filled with ambition and imagination, girls are empowered with their relationships (Frozen) or made to be so vocal and dominant (Brave, Tangled). They no longer rely on romance as the ultimate happily ever after – thank goodness because the rest of us are really screwed. Instead, they build on family bonding, pursuing goals and dreams (The Princess and the Frog), and if they just so happen to find a man along the way, extra bonus. Seriously, Generation Z is on a much better road of psychological-emotional health than Gen. Y.
Overall, Disney has really done some damage and shaped our opinions on what love is supposed to be. Whether he’s tall enough, his hair is combed just right, if he wears a suit correctly, shit, if he wears a suit at all! Sleeping Beauty and Snow White made it seem so easy. Well, they just had to fall asleep and everything fell into place. Seriously, fuck Disney.