27TH DEC 2016
THE HIDDEN TRUTH ABOUT DISNEY
BY J.S. VON DACRE
You know the story from when you were growing up. The underdog girl gets magically whisked off to the ball. She dances the night away, where she meets Prince Charming who falls in love with her and gets magically whisked off to the ball. She dances the night away, where she meets Prince Charming who falls in love with her. She rushes off before midnight to ensure she does not end up sitting in a pumpkin. In her hurry, she is left with just one shoe. He finds the other shoe and searches far and wide, proclaiming he shall not rest until every maiden in the kingdom tries on the shoe. Finally, he finds her (as she also happens to be the only person in the entire kingdom with this shoe size). He marries her and they live happily ever after.
Now fast forward a few years. You are grown up and living in modern society. If you find yourself sitting on a pumpkin and missing a shoe after midnight, you are probably drunk. And Prince Charming isn’t coming. (And if he did, he will see you with one shoe, sitting on a pumpkin and avoid you like the plague).
For many years, generations were fed the Disney story with the ideals of various Price Charmings and the eternal happy endings that became synonymous and predictable with Disney. In fact, Disney purposely changes a number of the original stories to fit into their “Prince Charming” module.
Did you know that in the original version of Sleeping Beauty when the married king finds Sleeping Beauty, he rapes her while she is asleep? And that she gives birth to twins (while still asleep)?
Or that in the original story of The Little Mermaid the prince chooses another girl over her? And that she was so distraught that she commits suicide?
The Japanese version of Disney, Studio Ghibli takes a very different approach, not just because of their hours of painstakingly hand painting every frame. Their tales are more magical, but strangely also more realistic.
Howl’s Moving Castle portrays a man who is a serial womaniser and someone who is also deeply flawed with huge insecurities. Pom Poko highlights the issues with deforestation and its threat to wildlife. Graveyard of the Fireflies tells the story of two children living during war torn Japan in the 1940s after both of their parents die. The cartoon unfolds in such a way that by the end, both children and adults have a good understanding of the ramifications of war.
The reality is that finding a guy who fits Disney’s Prince Charming cast is extremely rare. And the good guy does not always win in the end – too often it is the bad guy who does.
People end up on journeys they never before could have envisioned. Perhaps you have not yet found Prince Charming, but you ended up becoming the ultimate wunderluster and travelled across the world in a way most never would. Perhaps you had the highflying career that Disney never told you women were capable of having. Or perhaps you did find your Prince Charming and the fairytale wedding, but you also learnt about the highs and lows of motherhood.
Irrespective of where you own journey took you, life and love are far more complex and fragile than what Disney tried to sell. Yet this is not a bad thing. What people can take from it is a lesson of hope. Life is unpredictable so when those real-life “Disney” moments do happen, it makes them somehow so much more beautiful than any Disney cartoon.
So, the next time you find yourself with one shoe after a midnight and sitting on a pumpkin, don't worry – we live in the time of Uber. You should be able to get your drunken self home easily.