Thursday, April 23, 2015

Zoe vs. Three Disney Princesses

A couple of weeks ago my mother and I went with Zoe to the Three Disney Princesses Show at Madison Square Garden. The three princesses were Snow White, Cinderella, and Belle from Beauty and the Beast.
With my degree in Advanced Curmudgeon, I was a little wary, prepared for a nightmare of capade proportions. As I expected, we had to swim through a sea of mini Cinderellas, Snow Whites, and Belles, as well as a few Rapunzels and Sofias the First. (Zoe was dressed as Queen Elsa because she had to be sure she outranked everybody.)

Perpetrators of the Great Tulle Massacre of 2013.

Navigating the crowd of princesses, you had to be careful not to run up against any of the stalls selling light-up toys or princess dolls. If you hit them head-on, you'd surely hemorrhage money and sink your bank account.
I expected Zoe to want Everything, but she fell under the spell of a glittering plastic horse a la Cinderella's carriage, and so sixteen dollars later she was satisfied. 
Next was the concession stand, where the only size popcorn available had the dimensions of a shirt box. Odd because you'd think they'd need the boxes for all the shirts they were taking off parents' backs (drum roll, cymbal crash).
Finally we found our seats, and Zoe played happily with her horse, which she'd christened Star, till the show started.
I have to admit, Disney knows how to put on a show. The costumes were perfect. There was the right level of scares for little kids. And the sound effects were well done.
Zoe had been familiar with the stories of Snow White and Cinderella, but not Beauty and the Beast. So afterwards I had to explain that although Gaston was good looking, it did not mean he was a good guy, even though that had been true regarding the nameless princes from Cinderella and Snow White
So Zoe loved it, and I was glad she'd loved it, but something was bothering me. I had known all the stories, of course, so maybe it was something about their juxtaposition, or the quick progression from one to the other, but overall the show left me in an odd mood.
Like the one that hits me once a month.
You know what I'm talking about? Every month it begins with a vague unease, but it quickly escalates into a high level of annoyance that can only be by assuaged by banging out a Sociology 101 term paper. Right? Glad I'm not alone in this, ladies!

What if I want a bicycle, Gloria Steinem?

It turns out the Disney Three Princesses show provides quite the micro history lesson in feminism. From Snow White in 1937 to Cinderella in 1950 to Beauty and the Beast in 1991, we've come a long way, Bambi.

Snow White
Debuting in 1937, Snow White the movie features the ultimate passive victim. Snow doesn't have much ambition besides waiting for a prince, who may or may not arrive within some ill-defined timeframe. Meanwhile, she lives to scrub floors and whistles a happy tune while doing so.
Career goal: She's already a princess. Other than that her goal is to stay alive and marry a prince. It is assumed he'll be good-looking and virtuous because those two things always go together.

At least, she hates to clean. This makes her "relatable." She can make her own clothes (crafty!). And she has some self-direction. Unfortunately it surfaces only when she asserts her right to attend a party. Girls just want to have fun, y'all. For this fifties gal, marriage is a ticket out of a miserable home life.
Career goal: Princess. Failing that, dressmaker with a sideline in pest control through vocalizing.

An active participant in her own life and in her fate. Loves to read---mostly romances (don't judge!). Motivated by self-sacrifice and compassion. Unmotivated by a pretty face. Smart and self-actualized, which doesn't mean she can't, on occasion, enjoy a spin around the dance floor with the bad boy who's cleaned up his act. 
Career goal: Librarian, political activist, or investigative reporter.

I'm sure I can change him.
More women should try that.

In the end though, they are all just princesses, not queens, like Elsa. And like Queen Elsa, Zoe rules a kingdom (or thinks she does), has magic powers (or thinks she does), and her emotional outbursts cause untold damage. She is truly the female royal for the new millennium.
Career goal: Evil Mastermind or Savior of the Universe, depending on one's point of view.

Zoe: 89; Universe: 0

For more of Zoe's hijinks, follow me on Facebook and on Twitter at @zoevsuniverse
I need a win here, people. 

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  1. My in-laws have a mug that says "I am the Queen," and my father-in-law always lets me have it when I'm there. I'd like to think I'm the favorite daughter-in-law (there are three), but I think I'm just the one with the biggest ego.

  2. Elizabeth CatalanoApril 24, 2015 at 6:42 AM

    Haha. Either way, embrace the power!