My Heroes Have Always Been Princesses–Even Disney Ones
Feminism. Do you ever wonder how in the world America was built without those early pioneer women being told (incessantly) they were strong, brave, and didn’t need a man around? Golly, it’s a wonder we were able to help build a country.
In the last few days, I’ve heard a couple of Hollywood starlets berating Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty for being bad role models. Keira Knightley said her favorite Disney movie The Little Mermaid is not allowed entertainment for her 3-year-old. “I mean, the songs are great, but do not give your voice up for a man,” she told Ellen DeGeneres.
I think about the way our culture is working so hard to feminize men and make women masculine and it really ticks me off. Generally speaking, we’re smaller, daintier, physically weaker, more emotional–we’re VERY different from men. And that is our strength. Don’t denigrate it.
Meet a couple of my favorite heroines:
Sybil Ludington, raised in a genteel home with the usual simple expectations of her fairer sex, rode 40 miles in one night to warn the American militia the British were coming.
Another Revolutionary War heroine, Margaret Corbin followed her husband into battle, then took over his cannon when he was killed. Horribly wounded, she fired at the British until she passed out, but hers was the last cannon going.
Or let’s consider Sacagawea who crossed a continent, climbing mountains, shooting rapids, and trekking across remote country for thousands of miles, all while carrying a baby on her back.
And then there’s Susan McSween who, after the broad-daylight murder of her husband, fearlessly stood up to the lawless element in Lincoln, New Mexico and eventually became the state’s largest, most powerful rancher.
And I bet every one of these women had heard some version of Cinderella. In fact, unlike our culture today, women of the past were not expected to be anything but a princess! They weren’t shielded from their “limitations.” Yet, when it came down to brass tacks, when their feet hit the fire, when it all went sideways, our female ancestors stood up, shouldered the burden, and made a difference. Nobody had to tell them they were as smart, as strong, as courageous as a man. They certainly weren’t told they were better than a man, or that all men are bad. They weren’t insecure or threatened by men. They accepted the way things were and rose above it without whining, rioting, or turning their daughters into little self-centered, angry man-hating robots.
I think it was Ginger Rogers who said she could do everything Fred could do, only she did it backward and in high heels. But she liked her high heels and pretty, flowing gowns.
I like being a princess–which, frankly, is just code for being A Lady in Defiance of Expectations.
What about you? Are you proud to be a princess or am I waaaaay off base? Do you have a favorite Disney princess?
Posted on October 18, 2018, in Ladies in Defiance and tagged a lady in defiance, conservative, culture wars, feminism, heather blanton, keira knightly, maga, princesses, walt disney, western history, western romance, Westerns, women and guns, women entrepreneurs, women's history, women's studies. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.
YES THIS IS A GREAT POST. I love those ladies in the past. I think this is why I like reading about them. Especially in westerns. Yes God made us women to be strong in different ways so we would compliment our men. This is how my mom raised my sister and I and this is how we raised our daughters. And all four of us are strong women when needed and strong for our men however they need it. No I do not believe you are off base. I believe you are right on. I am very proud to be a princess and not ashamed to admit it.
Well, here is a tiara for you, Lori! Thanks for chiming in!
Belle is my favorite Disney fairytale! I enjoyed your article and agree. I don’t want to be better than a man. I want to be what I am.
Good choice. She was tough and sweet! Thank you!
You’re spot on Heather. I grew up with six brothers and only lil ole me as the feminine influence among my siblings. My Mom was a tomboy growing up, and she always commented that she had no idea how she spawned such a girlie girl. I love being a woman, and never felt less than my brothers, or that I didn’t have a voice. I learned too, that just because I’m a woman did not mean I was limited. I could do and be whatever I chose and would have been loved and accepted by all of my brothers. I just do not get angry feminists at all. God made us different for so many reasons, which was on purpose. No woman should ever feel less than a man. Just different in a good way. My favorite Disney character is all of them. I love them all.
Excellent answer, Rita. Thanks for chiming in. Funny how they want to celebrate differences…until you decide to think differently from them. Give me my pointy-toe boots and square-dancing dressesa!
Love this! So much just in Cinderella. Loving, cheerful, hardworking, watching out for those less fortunate than herself. It’s not like there were a lot of options for a genteel lady who had her family’s fortune stolen from her. And her eventual reward is love and a much greater fortune. But the point of the story is that she is a beautiful person, no matter what life threw at her, answering hate with love.
Penny, that’s great. I never thought of those things, but you are absolutely right! Cinderella is a fine role model!