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Many many MANY people mock the Disney Princesses as being unrealistic, promotion misogyny, giving girls the notion that beauty is more important than anything else to a man…

but wait a minute. Replace Disney Princess with Hollywood and you have the same exact problem. In Cracked.com’s article on 6 insane Stereotypes in movies, #5 is: Movie Women Can Only Talk About Men. And you could spend an entire day talking about the stereotypes in non-animated movies

What people seem to be forgetting while focusing on the Disney Princess Problem is that in almost every Fairy Tale there is not only a Princess, but a Prince (or someone who will be a prince), and in each of those tales the hero has to do something to EARN the hand/life/love of the Princess. You may think traveling from house to house to find the foot that fits the shoe rather inconsequential, but depending on the kingdom, that’s a whole lot of searching. Prince Phillip had to fight a dragon. Prince Eric fought a Kraken with boobs. Aladdin had to outsmart a wizard. The Beast had to think of someone other than himself which literally meant embracing his own death. There isn’t one Prince who didn’t go on a quest of some sort to earn the love the Princess gave them.

This is actually the sort of thing we should be embracing – that men must earn the right to marry the woman they love. This was the idea behind fairy tales, so long ago (and many space operas like Princess of Mars), but instead of trying to get back to the old ideas, we ridicule them and change their meanings entirely. We’ve turned Fairy Tales from stories of heroics and mutual sacrifice: Her TRUE (as in enduring) love and his quest as something to be picked apart like monkey bread. These classic standards are loved by children and remembered by adults all over the world precisely because they do have the values that we seek to emulate in relationships.

I had a list of ‘must haves’ for my prince, of course, and you can find them on my blog: http://withclosedcaptions.wordpress.com. My first husband told me I was beautiful. He was the first man to do so, and I followed him like a puppy, but I forgot to make him earn that love with deeds, not words. I didn’t forget that the second time around – and though my prince is blind (like Rapunzel’s love was) and deaf, he is no less the prince. It is because of his actions that he is my prince. He has earned my TRUE love, as Phillip earned Aurora’s. Though love is admittedly a neverending quest, we should be careful what we supplant in our children’s head as ideal. Is Honey Boo-Boo really a better role model than Princess Jasmine?