What do Cinderella, Snow White, Moana and Elsa have in common? Absolutely nothing.
My niece told me that Disney princesses aren’t allowed to look at each other. I thought this couldn’t possibly be true, but to my dismay it might not be the ‘fake news’ I hoped for a fairy tale ending.
If my Google quest for a happy ending is to be believed, it would seem that there is a Disney rule to ensure that Disney princesses do not look at each other. This was part of the marketing strategy for the new ‘Disney Princess’ line to increase merchandise revenue. It was the first time that characters from different movies were grouped together, and products were marketed separate from a movie release. The Disney executive in charge believed that: “to ensure the sanctity of their individual mythologies, they never make eye contact when grouped: each stared off in a slightly different direction as if unaware of the others’ presence.”
It seems that each woman is the princess of their own kingdom, never to support and encourage princess-peers. This realisation made me sad, but also relieved that this rule was for fictional heroines and role models, not real ones. That was until those same rules seem to apply to our own princesses. The media loves nothing more than a bit of regal drama. Kate and Meghan are our real-life Snow White and Moana: Was that a sly look from under the wide-brimmed hat? Is Meghan’s new house just an attempt to get further away from Kate? …And who’s outfit is cuter? Sad, but undeniably true.
But why does this matter? Because women should know better.
Women have it hard enough without their fellow princesses looking in the other direction. Women should be encouraged to celebrate each other’s achievements, to lend a hand when life is tough and to listen without fear, jealousy or judgement.
It’s not OK to have only one princess in a kingdom, or one successful woman in a boardroom, effecting change or challenging the norm. Princess, engineer, doctor, farmer or parent; women should be there to support and encourage one another. Our girls grow into women, and our girls must celebrate each other.
What’s stopping you from praising that woman at work who scored a promotion, or that mum in the supermarket who diffused a toddler meltdown, or the neighbour who has just opened a café in your community? If you don’t tell them, why not? If you don’t tell them, who will?
Maybe I should just Let it Go, but I bibbidi-bobbidi-do care, and hope other women do too.