Thursday, August 13, 2009

Disney ruined it for everyone!

My bedtime story would usually end…and then the prince reached out his hand, helped the princess onto the horse and they would ride off into the sunset. I can’t remember my bedtime story ever ending with…and then my prince reached for the remote, turned on the ESPN channel and he stayed sitting on the couch for hours. In this day and age, isn’t this ending more realistic?
I recently met someone at a cafe for a networking meeting. We both had a friend in common and he felt we could help each other in business. We connected over coffee and after a half an hour of chatting about work, our conversation turned personal and we compared notes on relationships, men and women, marriage and families. One of his comments has still stayed with me.

He said, “Disney ruined how women date and look for their mates. Women are still waiting for their prince on the white horse who can’t seem to find them.”

(photo from the upcoming movie Prince of Persia)

Shouldn't we be taught that relationships can be rewarding and difficult all at the same time? When I was a little girl, it never occurred to me that my Disney prince could have faults. If I wanted to be with someone exactly like me, then I should have dated myself!

Disney teaches a fairytale image to little girls. Women tend to be focused on the magical wedding day and not as much on the marriage. It’s usually takes maturity and getting your heart broken, to learn that faults in a person can be a good thing. I believe there’s a problem when you don’t love that person, warts and all.

In college, I was given the best dating advice: ask yourself if you would leave your new puppy with your guy for the weekend. If you say no, ask yourself why you’re leaving the little girl in you, with him. Leave comment and let me know if you agree. Did Disney ruin it for everyone?

86 comments:

Joanie M said...

It took 50 years and a failed marriage but I found my knight!

AK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AK said...

Hey laura..Its a cooolll post.I loved and agree with, each and every word of it. People do expect too much from relationships and that is especially girls I suppose..I think ur friend at the cafe told it right..Nice post keep it up. Keep reading & blogging.Dropby when u get time.

Au Lapin Blanc said...

I don't think Disney is to blame in particular - the Disney Princes can be flawed. I think its the media in general. Nothing is perfect but we continue to search for a man who is

The Secret Beauty Blogger said...

Love this post...so true! Think when I first moved in with a 'boy', it was a bit of a shock - didn't expect Sky Sports to be on quite as much (constantly)!

On a separate now; I've finally posted a blog on dry shampoos after you raised the question a month or so ago! xxxx

blondie-lox said...

yes. but, i still wonder if it does exist. so, yes. i guess it did ruin me. :(

Char said...

it wasn't disney that wrote the fairy tales and disney wasn't the parents that give children such high expectations.

the true is that relationships are hard and anyone waiting on someone to rescue them is silly. why not rescue ourselves and enjoy life instead of wasting it waiting on a fairy tale? :)

Laura said...

Joanie M: I love this comment Joanie and you deserve it!

AK: Thanx sweetie and I'm so glad you liked this post. It was fun putting it together.

Laura said...

Au lapin blanc: Great comment and feedback. True, true on all accounts!

Laura said...

blondie-lox: all we need to do is change our expectations and be open. Thanx for your comment!

Jeff R. said...

I couldn't agree more :) Great post Laura!

~K said...

Yes..yes Disney did and it is one more reason to hate the evil empire that is Disney..God I hate those jerks!! While it is true Disney didn't write the stories they have altered them and whored them out like the true love Pimps that they are. "opening and closing' their special vault every time a new video format comes out. Sucking the life and money out of parents who could be experiencing true love if they were not so burdened trying to raise money for and/or endure another trip to the "Magic Kingdom"

Commchick said...

It wasn't just Disney, it was also fairy tales. Nowadays, some romance writers are guilty. Once we mature and learn to look at life without the rose colored glasses on, things are alot different. Love your blog.

Debbie said...

I love that advice about leaving your puppy. I think I'll give that one to my daughter who is leaving for college.
Did Disney ruin it for me? No, but I have been oddly self-reliant since childhood. And independent. Very oddly independent.

Pink Peony said...

Funny I did a paper on what your favorite Disney Female says about you. It was along the same lines. What little girls grow up watching and think about themselves and relationships is told in who they pick.

Namine said...

I know many girls who still believe that they guy exists and then when they got married, I watched their worlds fall apart, because they started to realize the world isn't like the movies. I think it's really sad.

Namine said...

good post!! gets me thinking

JamaGenie said...

'If you wouldn't leave your puppy with the guy for a weekend...why would you entrust the little girl inside you to him?' Mmmmm... GOOD question. One I wish I'd known to ask myself before multiple trips to the altar that ended in disaster.

However, I can't say **Disney** ruined it for us, because IF the Prince Charming really is *your* PC, then you *will* live more or less happily ever after even with a few speed bumps along the way.

I think what's ruined us is the preoccupation with a "perfect" wedding that becomes the end all be all. That somehow if the wedding is perfect, the marriage will be too. I've known grown women so focused on the details of their "dream" wedding that the groom becomes little more than an accessory at the *event*. That it has never occurred to these women that they'll have to live with this man long after the caterers have packed up the fairy tale decorations.

Yara said...

I'm a week late but love this post!
Very true...

Girl With The Golden Touch said...

I just saw this and it reminded me of this post:

Cinderella walked on broken glass. Sleeping Beauty let a whole lifetime pass. Belle fell in love with a hideous beast. Jasmine married a common thief. Ariel walked on land for love and life. Snow White barely escaped a knife. It was all about blood,sweat, and tears because love means facing your biggest fears.

I don't know why :)

Tammy said...

Hi there!! Stopping by from SITS!! When I saw this as one of your blogs to check out... I couldn't resist. I guess I am one of the rare ones... I have never believed in a prince charming and surely not on a white horse!! LOL
I did like the piece of advice about leaving your puppy with a guy for the weekend. I will remember that one to pass on for sure.

cat said...

I don't think it was Disney - it's been happening way before them. But I love the dating advice.

Lucy said...

I do agree that the 'perfect romance' image is unhelpful. We all seem to have this ideal relationship in our minds, but we are only human and everyone comes with flaws!! I think a lot of the broken relationships in the world start with a set of unrealistic expectations. And what constitutes a 'happy ever after'? No one makes that bit very clear!

Rachel Cotterill said...

I never really watched Disney but I heard the original fairytales. I knew I wasn't a princess, though. My first idea of what dating & adult relationships might look like was from watching Friends as a teenager, but frankly, my life has been nothing like that, either.

Fruitful Vine2 said...

The picture of that frog - Ewww! LOL! But Disney to some extent does give a false impression of relationships in those fairytale movies.

For sure a prince can come and find you and you live happily every after but the happily ever after has its adjustment period, its forgiving periods, its angry periods, its hurt periods as well.

By God's grace I am living the happily ever after but it takes work to keep it there.

Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

No, I don't think Disney ruined it. Kids just have to realize the difference between fairy tales and reality--they aren't the same. I like movies, fairy tales and books that have happy endings myself.

Love the dating advice: "Ask yourself if you would leave your new puppy with your guy for the weekend. If you say no, ask yourself why you’re leaving the little girl in you, with him." This would definitely be a good place to start the evaluation.

Happy SITS day to you!

Quasi Serendipita said...

Are you telling me that Disney princes and princesses don't exist :(

Elizabeth a.k.a. Type A Mommy said...

You know, it kind of freaks me out, how obsessed my niece is with the Disney princesses. It's worried me, a little, about how my sister will teach her that fairy tales are just that - fairy tales! I think that Disney didn't ruin me personally, but I can see some of that searching-for-a-fairy-tale-ending in some of my friends who are chronically single with short-lived relationships.

Christine said...

Disney's the stuff of fairy tales. Nothing wrong with that. We all realize sometime or another that carpets don't fly, mice aren't dressmakers, and a kiss won't fix the girl!
If I'm not happy, I blame myself.

Robin said...

It wasn't just Disney. You can blame MGM, Paramount and even the good old Grims Brothers. But my mother taught me early on that these are just fiction and reality is much richer.......I passed this on to my girls as well.

Queenie Jeannie said...

I agree, and I don't. I definitely see your point about the unrealistic "fairy tale" endings. But then again, my own Princess loves them and is waiting for her dream prince....like Daddy, lol!

Balance. It's all about balance, I think.

PS Would you consider dropping the word verification thingy??? Please?

The Mommyologist said...

I think that Romantic Comedies ruin it for me these days. That and all the women who claim to have perfect marriages when we all know that every relationship has its ups and downs and takes WORK!

Christina said...

I don't know if Disney ruined things for us, but they did make it harder. I feel I'm very fortunate that I grew up with the example of my grandparents' marriages -- they were full of sacrificial love that, while unlike movies, was absolutely beautiful.

singedwingangel said...

Absolutely spot on... I mean if all God uses is broken people thenhow can we expect to find one who hasn't gotten bruised and bumped by life.. How boring would it be if we all thought the same, looked the same, behaved the same..

Creative Junkie said...

I never thought of it that way before but yes, I can see how that argument works.

The best piece of advice I ever give when it comes to relationships is: it's not whether you can live with him. It's whether you can live without him.

When did I become my Mom said...

I love the puppy advice... that is really powerful.

**replaying past relationships in my head...**

I wish I had known this back in college...

Jen said...

This post is fabulous. And I can't really speak about this b/c I have found my Prince and what we have is magical.

Complicated Mama said...

SO TRUE!!! Have you ever seen the movie "Hes just not that into you" ? They bring up similar points.

GREAT movie too!!

Happy Sits day!

Jessica Nunemaker said...

I've heard that said before...but I don't think Disney is to blame.

What kid wants to read a story about the way life *really* is? ;)

I *love* the comment about the dog. That is wonderful and I am going to pass that along to my children when they get older! Thanks for sharing!

Marie said...

I was raised on Disney and fairy tales and I am happily married so they didn't ruin me at all.

Now there does seem to be something going on in the world where every little girl now calls herself a "diva" or a "princess" and her Mom encourages that, very FREAKY! I suppose these girls grow up to be Bridezillas and their marriages last 2 years tops.

Jenn said...

I think it may create unrealistic expectations (although if my guy proposed with a glass slipper I would soooo say yes!). However, I think it is also saying "Don't settle. You deserve to be treated like a princess," and isn't that important too?

InspiredDreamer said...

I don't think Disney "ruined" it. I mean, at least Disney says that getting married is the natural thing to do when you meet the man of your dreams.

As opposed to all of the other movies out there that say "You like him? Sleep with him now!"

Happy SITS day!

Kimmy C said...

I personally love Disney princesses, and so does my daughter. They did not ruin love for me. I realized growing up that this was a fairy tale. As a child do you really want to see a story where the ending is bad? I also came from a family where there was no divorce... my grandparents have been married 55 years, my parents 33. My dad WAS my moms prince and treated her like a princess... I guess I modeled myself after them.

Now Bratz I'm not fond of and don't like the message they portray...

Very thought-provoking post! Happy SITS day.

Heather said...

Hmmm. Definitely something to ponder. Perhaps Disney did at least skew our views.

I love that test for whether a man is a "keeper". I also use the technique of inserting said man's name into I Corinthians 13. ...."{john} is patient. {john} is kind...."

Michelle said...

Yes, it certainly can give girls unreal expectations. We dont watch a lot of Disney princess stuff...and they have the REAL relationships that are everlasting and strong and still full of romance, to look at. way better than a movie any day.

Post-Modern Jen said...

My husband likes to tell me I read too many romance novels and watched too many "chick flicks" and that's why he doesn't measure up to all my expectations. First of all, he's really not that bad, and secondly, I haven't read a "romance novel" since I was about 13! I totally agree with you about the puppy thing, though. I once read something about how he treats pets is how he'll treat you, also telling is how he treats his mother! (does that not sound right?

Kim said...

Well, I don't think Disney actually started it, but they certainly did capitalize on it!
@cheapchichome.blogspot.com

Lacie @ Creative Attempts said...

I am not sure if disney ruined my idea of a prince but I am sure that once being married to a true beast makes my husband now look like prince charming every single day.

Sara said...

And I'm pretty sure this is why Mulan was my favorite Disney movie.

She saves the boy, he betrays her, he comes over for dinner.

I mean, that's pretty damn realistic, right?

Teresha@Marlie and Me said...

such good advice! I'm going to remember this to share with my daughter

Coretta said...

I still believe in the prince! ;-)

Tater Tot Mom said...

I so agree that we have such high expectations of what a mate should be. Not just Disney either, look at Barbie and Ken. I found my prince but he's not perfect by far and neither am I. It's more fun that way anyway! Happy SITS day!

2busy said...

I don't think disney ruined anything. Otherwise we wouldn't have anything to fantasize about.

So Not Mom-a-licious said...

I think that could be true. Everyone wants a "perfect" partner, and it's just not how life is. Then you throw in how society views money now and young girls act like that is the key to happiness in being with a man. Sometimes though, we have to learn it the hard way.

Cassandra said...

Yes. Dating seems a little ruined. Guys complain that women have these high standards, but to be fair, who wants to settle for second best? Shouldn't you be dating with the idea that this is the person you might marry someday? I guess men just have different criteria, and aren't out their to find their true love.
So yeah. Ruined.
Disney doesn't really prepare you for heartbreak. But I also don't feel like it made me partial to overly romantic guys either.
I love the advice. I'd never thought of a puppy scenario.

Jessica said...

This is so true! I have friends that don't seem to understand, if he leaves his underwear on the bathroom floor while your dating...when you get married not only will he leave them there, but he will expect you to pick them up!

Working Mommy said...

I don't think Disney ruined things...I am happily married to my Prince Charming (aka - the man). I think some just have to realize that you aren't going to find the perfect man - but rather a man who is perfect for you!

~Working Mommy

AmericanTribal said...

I'm not sure if I agree or not... you made wonderful points though! I think it's healthy to have high levels of expectations for relationships, but not VERY high.
I will say, though, that I think Disney ruins some very good classic stories by child proofing them. Like Snow White (where the sisters actually cut off their toes and ankles to get the glass slipper to fit), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (where Quazimodo actually rapes Esmerelda) and The Little Mermaid (where she actually dies at the end of the story). LOL. I'm a cynic :P

Elizabeth Patch said...

you are so right about focusing on the fairy tale wedding day, and neglecting the reality of day-to-day living. It's not just Disney, its all our romantic stories; they are great fun as long as you remember that the REAL fairy tale is the one you are living! HAPPY SITS DAY!

Romy said...

I like the way you think! I agree that this idealized notion of the perfect mate and relationship is unrealistic and should be looked at more as fantasy not reality. I am married to my prince 10 years strong, and he is wonderful warts and all!!

Brandi said...

I'll admit, Disney certainly screwed up things a bit. I've fortunately had enough bad experiences to realize how fantastic my current boyfriend is. We don't always have perfect days together, but we always make sure to talk about how we're feeling and we don't hide things from each other. It wasn't love at first sight -- and I love that.

Hoity Toity Baby said...

No, I don't think that disney ruined it for everyone. It may make some girls aspire to find a man who treats his woman like a princess! And let's face it....we all should kiss a few frogs before we find our prince! Lord know I did!

Carrie @ Laugh Love Eat Ice Cream said...

My husband thinks the exact same way. He would repeat it again and again while I was in the middle of wedding planning. I'm not the princessy type of girl, but he would see things about weddings and start talking about how girls are raised to be princesses, etc. I don't think that's true though. I loved Disney and the Disney princess growing up, but I never saw it as reality.

I came here by SITS, congrats on your day!

Mandi Miller said...

I don't think Disney ruined it for everyone. I think parents did. At some point parents did not communicate to their children what a healthy marriage looks like. But it is a great post! Happy SITS!

Stephanie Stearns Dulli said...

Awww~ I am still a sucker for the fairy tale. But I always think of the adage my momma taught me: "show me a hot man, and I'll show you a woman sick of putting up with his sh*t!" Mom is wise.

Sarah @ Spilled Sweet Tea said...

Happy SITS day!

The puppy question is a good one. That would have saved me so much time and energy with guys when I was younger.

Helen said...

You know, I never thought about the puppy theory before, but it makes complete sense to me.

I was one of the lucky ones. The first guy has so far turned out to be the right guy. I'd leave my puppy, my kitty, and the rest of my menagerie with him any day :D

Great post!

Pricilla said...

You know, my knight has faults but so do I. Big ones. And yet he sticks with ME.

It took a lot of growing up and a lot of living together to figure out that he is still my prince but I am no princess.

Pricilla said...

Oh, Happy SITS day...I am a forgetful non princess.

Holly Noelle @ Domestic Dork said...

Besides, why aren't those princesses saving themselves?

Life with Kaishon said...

I don't think Disney ruined anything. I like the idea of imagination and fantasy! Heavens knows, when girls start regularly dating someone, they quickly find out, Princes are HARD to come by. My prince grunts a lot, watches ESPN all the blessed night, and works 7 days a week to take care of us. I love him even though he doesn't ride a horse : ) and have a sword.

Angelia (Texas) said...

Things that make you go hmmmmmm....

Disney is a fairytale for a reason. But I do believe their are good guys out there. Then, women want a bad boy. Oh the drama!

Definitely the puppy test is a good one!

Kelly said...

It's a lot like Santa Claus, made up to give that sparkle in children's eyes, but one day they grow up and see the truth. On neither accounts are we any worse for the wear.

Alex Fitzpatrick aka Ma What's 4 Dinner said...

I hear ya. A lot of my girlfriends and I felt that way about the Twilight book series. I had a friend who said that Edward was ruining her marriage because she was so pissed at her husband at not being as good as a fictional, seventeen year old, vampire! Happy SITS

Triplets Plus Two Momma said...

I love your material.

No fluff!

I hope you don't mind if I add you to my front page.

I met my husband when I was an infant---so I am a little biased on the whole fairy tale thing.

I still believe in love and aparks, and til death do us part!

And I love Disney----just for the quick fix of make believe.

Another great post.

Cathy said...

Hmm,food for thought. I agree with it in theory, but every little girl dreams of being a princess and I think that was around even before Disney.

Alexis said...

I don't necessarily think they ruined it, I just think that every girl expects to find their knight and shining armor right away. Unfortunately, it doesn't happen that way. We're all going to have to kiss a lot of frogs before we do and remember one girls frog could be another gal's prince. Keeping hope and love alive!

Yours Truly,
Lady Lex
ineedprettythings.com

PJ said...

Hey Laura! I really enjoyed your post. I am 55 years old, had 2 failed marriages. In my marriage, my husband has more "quirks" than the other 2, but our marriage has lasted for 23 years and going strong. Could it be that I woke up from my "fairy tale dream", or that I just matured and learned to be happy with as you said warts and all?

Thanks,

PJ

buhdoop said...

Amen SITsta. I do like a good fairytale though, a little perspective came with age.

Kristina said...

I'd have to quote the previous comment

Amen SITSta! Happy SITS day!

Midday Escapades said...

Happy SITS Day! Yes yes! Disney ruined it - they set such high expectations. I'm just lucky they didn't ruin it for me 'cause I found my sweetie and we've been together for 16 years.

Fallon said...

I don't know if Disney ruined the expectations of little girls or not, but as a child of divorce it could be said I've always had low expectations. Honestly I'd like to believe that little girls, as they grow up, should realize the difference between reality and cartoons, and won't let that fine line affect them negatively. However, I absolutely love you're method of determining if the man is worth while or not --when I was going through a nasty split with my live-in boyfriend and had to stay with family for a few days, I HAD to make sure to return every day just to fill the food and water bowls for "our" cats. He NEVER put an inch of effort towards caring for our kittens; it helped convince me he wouldn't be the most attentive of fathers.

Kristin said...

I still love the idea of a fairy table. The hubs is tres gallant!

Kim said...

If Disney ruined it, I hate to see what Twilight is doing to young girls everywhere! And I guess older girls too, myself included!

Baby Sweetness said...

I love Kim's twilight comment!

But I have to say overall - your love should feel like your knight at least some of the time and your partner most (if not all) of the time and your frog only every once in awhile! Then you're doing well.

Meg said...

On the other hand, maybe it's better that little girls dream of the prince...it's much better than staying with an abusive boyfriend later because you think there's nothing better.