Once Upon a time…no, that’s not right, that’s never right or enough. One day a long time ago a young girl sat down to watch a film. This film was about a princess who was locked in a tower and needed rescuing. You see, in most princess films the princess gets herself into these situations, by merely making one mistake or by someone overtaking her, controlling her, or kidnapping her. There is always an expected hero, someone to climb the tower and slay the dragon. There are some films about the princess inspiring the hero to slay, to climb, to save her, but is that it? Is that what life’s supposed to be? Must we wait until we inspire someone to come after us? Or how about the princess sits for a while and cries and swears and writes her stories on the wall of the dungeon, and then thinks. If she’s in a dungeon thinking, why not find her way out? Not possible? Then wait for a hero, who would realistically be semi in-shape but also unfocused, and call out to him:
“Hey! Friend! This tower! Its over here! Also, bring a rope so we can get out of this place! I know how to climb! I can strap you to my back! Thanks mate!”
And instead of it being one-sided, instead of the princess clutching the back of the hero’s back down to the tower and jumping off, graciously kissing him and marrying the next day, all ideas of grandeur are slain, and she shakes his shaking body off, grabs his sword, asks for back up, and they slay the dragon together? And then probably go for a glass of wine and get to know each other before kissing etc.,etc..
We need a modern princess story that teach something a bit more courageous for women. Princesses have been known to be giving, caring humans who expect grace and respect from the men around them. But princesses are flawed too, so why not have more Disney films, more cartoons, displaying all kinds of choices and kinds of women, break down the castle walls and welcome you into my office, my restaurant, my hospital. Are these stories any less interesting? We could raise the stakes in any of them.
There can still be fantasy, hell, bring a dragon into the hospital. Slay it, and its body turns out to be a cure for cancer? HELLO HOLLYWOOD U’VE GOT GREAT IDEAS RIGHT HERE. The head doctor would have to be a woman though, or it would have to be an office with family doctors that was made up of all women. You don’t think that’s realistic? My family doctor’s office only has women doctors. By chance, because they exist and have great stories.
I was thinking about this a lot because of literature, because of a few plays that I’m reading, because the other night after work I got home and fell asleep watching Enchanted, and I realised the princess always has an evil woman after her, an evil man after her, and a few men either oppressing her or saving her. With Frozen as the expection most of the supporting women roles in princess films are eroding the female relationship with other females, because they don’t aim to build up but to tear down the princess. They accuse them, question them, instead of trusting them or encouraging them. Why aren’t there more Queens? GIVE ME SOME QUEENS.
And, my last point, which was said so wonderfully by Canada’s current Prime Minister JTrud, we should be encouraging our young boys to explore stories about women too. And young girls exploring the adventurous stories as well. Teach them respect equally, less segregation, and encourage it as a parent, sibling, auntie, friend, teacher…the only way to have our children have the courage to be strong, kind and giving people is to show them stories of other strong, kind giving people like them in a medium that works for them. You can teach by example, by being a strong and giving person and hope that they inherit that, but a colourful film that can be watched multiple times with a princess who reads books and has glasses and kicks ass? How is that not powerful for both girls and boys? For anyone?