5 Life Lessons I Learned from Disney Princesses

For better or for worse, the lessons from these curvaceous protagonistas stuck with me.

This morning, as I was DIY bedazzling my plastic rimmed glasses in a vintage t-shirt I bought in Japan replete with digitized images of brightly colored donuts, it occurred to me I may not be doing things ironically for the sake of irony anymore. I may actually just be a hipster. Yes, I was born between 1981 and 1997. I have a liberal arts degree that I don’t use, and I express my environmental concern by avoiding gluten and red meat. Fine, je suis hipster. Well I’ll be damned if my hipster tendencies will get in the way of what I really love, which is Disney princesses. Other hipsters ironically love them, but I really, really love Disney princesses and everyone else can suck it. I learned a lot from these curvaceous protagonistas when I was a kid, and the lessons continue to hold weight even in adulthood. Here are 5 unironic lessons I learned from observing the Disney Princesses, and from taking them way too seriously.

1. Everyone’s a little bit racist. 

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the blondest of them all? Disney’s two top revenue earners are Elsa and Cinderella, aka the whitest princesses you know. At the bottom of the chart? Jasmine and Tiana. Mulan and Pocahontas didn’t even make the list. I say this not to incite guilt, but rather to point out that race relations are real, and they start at a young age. If you haven’t seen The Princess and the Frog, you absolutely should. The music is amazing, and New Orleans makes a hell of a town for a fairy tale. 

2. One Great Song Is All You Need

Did you guys see Frozen? Don’t worry if you missed it. It wasn’t that great. Most of it is about Kristen Bell’s character,  Anna, who, shockingly, gets the guy in the end. Snooze. When I saw the movie at first, I was pretty upset, but then I learned to Let It Go. An iconic Idina Menzel kills it with a single song in the middle of the movie as Elsa. She she doesn’t get nearly as much screen time as Kristen Bell, but is ten times more memorable. Weird kids, keep this in mind. It doesn’t matter if you’re “popular” as long as you dazzle them once. Get your one song, glory. (RENT reference intentional.) 

3. You don’t have to be looking for love to find it. 

Megera. She was the heroine in Hercules, which didn’t do well at the box office despite its being awesome. She doesn’t want a man, no way. In fact, that’s what her ballad, "I Won’t Say I’m In Love," is all about. Does she end up with the guy, anyway? Yes. But she didn’t set out dreaming of love, so all my single ladies who are up in the club humming “some day my prince will come,” chillax. He’s out there. And even if he’s not, there’s still plenty of adventure to be had. 

4. Changing outfits is for suckers.

What do Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein and Cinderella have in common? They all wore the same outfit every day. Einstein did it so that he could dedicate his entire brain to more pressing matters. Steve Jobs did it to create a brand for himself. Cinderella did it because that’s just how she was drawn. In a world over-saturated with “more is more” it can be easy to feel like yesterday’s clothes are yesterday’s news. And yet, what would any of the princesses be without their signature looks? Wear what makes you feel comfortable, and if you find something that works, don’t be afraid to stick with it. 

5. Girl Power goes all the way to the bank. 

Guess what tops the list of number one best-selling entertainment products in North America according to The Licensing Letter? That’s right. Disney Princesses. Ladies. Females. Even though women make up less than 30%  of speaking roles in films worldwide. Women don’t have a lot of heros to look up to, so when we get them, we hold on tightly. Hollywood, take note: life isn’t a boy’s club, and your movies don’t need to be, either. 

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