Spoiler alert. On two recent occasions, namely Frozen and Maleficent, the makers of Disney have diverted our notion of true love from ‘protective prince charming’ to ‘protective loving sister’. Are those attempts to break with an age-old tradition?
Let’s face it: ever since Disney’s feature-length movies arose, most of them ended with a wedding. Sure, there have been exceptions. Dumbo liberated himself from the public opinion and the Fox and the Hound painfully discovered how predisposed societal roles can divide friends, but generally, Disney’s protagonists have lived happily ever after.
You’re not an outcast anymore if you state that Disney has tricked generations into the ideal of getting married by highlighting only the exiting road towards the encounter with the other half. Perhaps the writers of these films have sensed this critique. Maybe they agreed with it. Of course, Pixar winked at this given with the Shrek sequels, where the trails and tribulations of marriage came up, but even that didn’t truly address the decreasing interest for being together in general.
In a society where individuality is more pronounced than ever and romances fail over and over again, it was about time that the film industry came up with better plots than the eternal story of romance. Emphasizing the powerful bond between women may well have been the wisest thing to do. If you look at the amount of sisterselfies that flows by on Facebook and Instagram, you would surely buy the idea that sisterhood is the new societal ideal.
The only way to face this, guys, is if we form a warm global collective of loving brothers. But let’s not fool ourselves: people are far more likely to look at our pictures when they have a girl on them, so the battle is already lost. Besides, we western men are far too independent to define our image by pictures of our fellows. We are slayers, and slayers work alone.
Which raises another point: have you ever seen a Disney tale where a man is promised redemption after ‘true love’s first kiss?’ Men are free by definition. They have to turn the force of evil to liberate the woman and earn her love. They could rescue any other woman if they wanted to, but they happen to have chosen the female protagonist. Therefore, ending a Disney film with a curse-lifting brother’s kiss would be less credible, and probably feel less liberating than these recent girly storlyline twists. By letting women save women, Disney answers to a growing independance. In this story, men are perhaps less usefull, but as free as ever.
I still don’t know a single Disney film where the princess rescues the prince. Wouldn’t that be laughable?