I found this image on Pinterest along with the caption “Disney Happily Ever Afters”, and I’m curious: Does anyone else find it a little…disturbing?
I just feel like there’s so much more to life than marriage and babies. No offense to married folks. Or babies. Those are both things I definitely want in my future.
However, my opinion is that wifedom and baby-makin shouldn’t be the end-all be-all of every heroine’s happily ever after. Or anyone’s normal life for that matter.
In Beauty and the Beast, Belle sings, “I want much more than this provincial life,” and I’ve always found that very relatable. Who doesn’t want “adventure in the great wide somewhere”? And why do those adventures have to end at an altar? Or with a child? Sometimes the most exciting adventures happen when the whole family participates (The Incredibles, anyone?). And sometimes women choose not to have children. Or aren’t capable of it.
It’s taken me a long time, personally, to reconcile the fact that your life doesn’t have to follow a specific time line. My parents were 21 and 22 when I was born, and as a kid I expected my life to follow the same pattern. I used to say that I wanted to have children by the time I was 25. (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! *stops for breath* AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA hahahahahaahahaha!)
Now that I am 25, and living happily with my boyfriend, I’m actually in no rush to get to the altar. The ceremony and the rings and stuff…that’s awesome. I look forward to it. But really, I’m super happy with my life the way it is. I get to hang out with my best friend EVERY DAY. We cook meals together and lay on the couch watching Arrested Development. We go on adventures. I’m more interested in actually living my life than in upholding superfluous time limits that society has set for me. I get to create my own wibbley wobbly time line. And I get to cherish the time I have with my boyfriend, and the fun we have, without all those kid-having responsibilities. We can worry about that later.
Not all of the Disney movies end with actual marriages. Is it so inconceivable to the think Shang and Mulan might go off and have years of adventures and successful military careers before deciding to settle down? Can a happily ever after be achieved without marriage and children?
I’d also like to point out that Pocahontas and John Smith don’t end up together, so no kids for them. But whatevs. I’m just being nitpicky.
I know the artist was just trying to convey what they thought to be the logical next step in each story. And the drawings are quite sweet and heartwarming. I’m just curious why someone would want to end every Disney Story in this way.
Honestly, I’m using this picture as a jumping-off point to start an honest discussion. What do you think? Are there better ways to convey ‘Happily Ever After’? And is this message the kind of message we want to be teaching young girls? Continue reading