I have a beef with Disney.
In almost every Disney movie, at least one of the parents of the protagonist are dead, missing, or been forcefully removed from the picture.
What’s up with that?
I know I am not the only person who’s ever noticed this, a quick search in Google proves that, but if I’ve ever mentioned it to a friend they stare at me wide eyed with a look of bewilderment, like I’ve just told them the meaning of life or how to find the Holy Grail.
It seems odd to me, that to become a Disney Princess, one must have suffered a great loss, as if a dead parent is the only obstacle to overcome to apply. If that’s the case, where’s my castle and snarky sidekick?
I just watched Frozen for the first time last month (OMG love) and it once again fits the Disney plot equation.
It doesn’t just resonate with the Princess variety alone, all sorts of Disney characters are missing parents.
I mean, I guess I get it, right? Losing someone you love, hardens you, closes you off, makes you a great candidate for “finding yourself” and growing up strong despite the obstacles. I guess in a way that’s how Disney creates all these strong characters.
But come on! For once, I’d like to see the normal, not emotionally wrecked and broken person persevere and win! Right? I grew up with 2 parents and I am strong and brave and confident! Where’s my Disney role model?
It sure isn’t Ariel (no mom) or Jasmine (again, no mom), or Cinderella, or Belle, or Elsa. No moms. Why oh why does it have to be the mom!?? Heck, even Nemo and Peter Pan didn’t have a mom. And Bambi saw his get shot! In Brave the mom is turned into a bear! Jeez Louise, Disney.
But it’s not just the moms that are missing…
Tianna didn’t have a dad. Neither did Simba. Or Chip! Or Snow White, come to think of it she didn’t have a mom either. Aladdin and Kristoff were orphans.
Even those who had mothers and fathers, the were removed from the equation.
Aurora was taken from her family as a baby and raised by fairies in the woods. Hercules was tossed out of Mount Olympus to be raised by some townsfolk. Rapunzel was kidnapped by that crazy chick, and Dumbo’s mom was locked away!
Maybe it’s to show children of broken homes, or those with missing parents, that a “whole family” isn’t necessary to “become someone great”, and if that’s the case, wonderful! It’s true! You can be anything you want with enough drive, passion and heart (and sometimes knowing the right people…) but it makes me sad that it has to come to killing off the parents to drive that point home.
Maybe it’s needed for a great plot twist, a tear jerker, tugging at the heart strings, making you want that character to win that much more. But I don’t think it needs to be driven home so hard.