What princess culture does is put our little girls in a box and give then a “narrow view of womanhood” (Dionne). They are all expected to dream of princes, wear frilly pink night gowns, and have multiple plastic tiaras, which do not symbolize power for these girls like a crown does—it’s delicate and pretty. Girls are told that they should be pretty and polite. When girls don’t fit in this box the they are suddenly “quirky” or “outspoken”. These labels aren’t exactly positive, so girls often stay in the box as long as possible to avoid being different.
Our girls are expected to conform to a beauty and behavior standard at a very young age. This is something that stays with these girls into adulthood. They will continue to conform to beauty standards and they will conform to what our male-dominated society wants. If/when women break these standards they are labeled as something else: free-thinker, weird, and even “lesbian”. This brings up another issue; Disney princesses are all heterosexual. So from the start, if girls want to be like a princess, then they better be straight. In this way, Disney movies are hetero-normative, and influence girls to believe that if they want to find their “one true love,” then they need to find a handsome man, not possibly a fellow princess. Evette Dionne writes that Disney princesses gave her warped expectations of love and romance in "Were You Ruined by Princess Culture?”.
Cinderella is arguably the best known and most influencial princess. Her character is the subject of many folk-tales, fairy tales, movies, and songs. The best known film about her is the 1950’s Disney version of her story. This is a movie that most children, especially girls, watched over and over again. The film is a great example of the ideas that our girls are soaking up about womanhood. Cinderella is portayed as an innocent, virtuous, naturally beautiful young woman who simply dreams of finding her prince so she can be taken away from her horrible home life. This story line is found in most of the orginal folk-tales. In Cenerentola by Basile, Cendrillon by Perrault, and Aschenputtel by the Grimm Brothers, Cinderella is treated as a servant after her father dies; she is brutilized and neglected by her remaining family, but eventually marries a prince, and escapes her situation. This shows girls that in order to escape their problems, they must find a man to save them. Girls keep this idea with them into adulthood. Women spend their life searching for their perfect man, all the while keeping their dreams or careers on the back burner. This is another example of the warped expectations of love that princesses give to girls. This belief that men will come into their life and make everything complete is dilusional and only leads to disappointment. What we need are princesses who don’t spend the whole story or film in search of a savior in the form of a prince.
In the end of all these folk-tales, fairy tales, and films, Cinderella gets married...