Is it just me, or are Disney Princesses having a moment? They are all over the place. First they got photo-shopped to look real, then the Honey-Badger dude sang that song “Bonjour!” from Beauty and the Beast. There were the hipster versions decked-out in gear from Urban Outfitters, then someone created historically accurate costumes. Some twisted sister even went so far as to create very depressing victims-of-vicious-crimes Disney Princesses.
And now SNL has chimed in, and what a chime it ‘twas. The Real Housewives of Disney was not far off the mark when it comes to their depiction, because, really, what the hell happened to those girls after their happily-ever-after weddings?
I think my own recent foray into all things fabled is probably tinting my perspective. I’ve been watching a lot of the two new shows Grimm and Once Upon a Time. Both are based on fairy tales, but Once Upon a Time is an ABC production and thus with a Disney twist to it.
I know I’m probably about 15 years older than their target audience, but I actually find this show quite charming and well done. It really turns the theme of “happily ever after” on its head as all the characters from the Disney classics and other of our favorite stories have been ripped out of their magical homeland and into our shitty reality. Snow White is single and depressed, Prince Charming is going through divorce, Cinderella is sixteen (give or take) and pregnant, and Belle fell in love with the wrong beast and somehow ended up in a mental institution. Talk about Reality Bites.
This show might be a wee bit of a downer, but even as a girl, I was always so bummed at the end of Beauty in the Beast. Bell started off as an extremely intelligent, book-smart girl who ran around in a field of wildflowers crying out, “I want adventure in the great-wide somewhere!” Even the mini-me version of myself was like “HELL YEAH!” I sympathized with her itching urge to break free of her small town life (which is why I sympathized so much with the Bonjour video). Every time I busted the VHS tape out of that childproof plastic case I was inevitably disappointed that Belle decides her great “adventure” will be to shack up in a castle with some dude who was formerly so conceited and self-centered that a enchantress felt the need to punish him by forcing him to wear a Beast-suit until someone smart enough came along and rescued him from himself.
How long could a happily-ever-after like that last? I often find myself wondering how women are supposed to balance societal expectations concerning their careers, child-rearing, and beauty regimens. So it’s believable that without further ambitions, our beloved heroines would end up as disgruntled housewives. As a counter to this awesome video, I’ve come up with a few career/life paths for the Disney Princesses to follow that I hope would make my career counselor proud.
Belle – Belle and Beast (seriously, what was that dude’s name? He was cuter as Beast anyway, despite the horns) vow not to marry until gay marriage is legal in all 181 [check!] countries in the U.N. With the full support of her life partner Belle teaches abroad for a year in Taiwan, then follows that with a stint in the Peace Corps. She returns to France to write a best-selling novel based on her travel experiences, which she later makes into a movie. She writes the screenplay and directs the film herself with Beast serving as financial backer/executive producer and lead grip.
Jasmine – After marrying Aladdin, founds Three Wishes ®, an international nonprofit that provides large grants to artisans in third-world countries so that they can set up manufacturing companies in their hometowns. In later life becomes an U.S. Ambassador for Peace, specifically in the Middle East.
Mulan – Has herself cryogenically frozen until she can immigrate to present day America, where she enjoys an illustrious career as a high-ranking American military officer. At the age of sixty becomes the first female/non-white/non-American born American president. Responsible for drafting a 100 year peace treaty between China and the United States and fostering a political alliance between the two super-giant nations.
Tiana – strategically promotes her new restaurant/jazz club with larger-than-life billboards featuring her hunky husband Prince Naveen biting into one of her signature beignets. The business blows up overnight, allowing her to opening up a national chain of“Tiana’s.” Becomes the highest earning Black American female, goes on to be referred to as Oprah’s heir when she founds her own cooking/home-styling magazine and stars on her own daily cooking show.
Rapunzel and Cinderella – after suffering through messy divorces, the blonde princesses join forces and start a line of unique hair salons that allow their patrons to shop for shoes and other boutique clothes and accessories while they are getting their hair and nails done. Become Fortune 500 company owners within a year and two of the highest earning female CEO’s, just behind Tiana.
Snow White – after marrying her prince, Snow goes to law school. Graduating top of her class at Enchanted Kingdom Law, Snow builds a stellar career as a District Attorney and tireless child advocate. When she finally retires, she adopts seven children from seven different foreign countries, giving each their own dwarf manny.