Sleeping Beauty: The Passive, Peasant Princess

imageSleeping Beauty, Disney’s third Disney Princess film, was released in 1959. I enjoyed Sleeping Beauty a lot more than I enjoyed Cinderella, which I enjoyed a lot more than Snow White. It seems that Disney was only getting better with age. Princess Aurora has the beginnings of the later 90s princesses I adore. The Prince also had a much bigger role in the film, which is great. However, I’m not here to talk about Prince Phillip (named after THE Prince Phillip of the time) or Malificent (who is totally AWESOME!), I’m here to talk about Princess Aurora and bitch talk about those stupid fairies.

Those Damn, Cursed Gifts

The thing that annoyed me most about this film was that she was ‘gifted’ with presents normally already bestowed on Disney princesses – a beautiful singing voice and physical beauty as well. I’d like to see what she sounds like/ looks like if those stupid fairies hadn’t played with her future. How, exactly, would it have affected her? Would Prince Phillip still fall in love with a girl if he heard her screeching like an angry cat in the woods and discovered Lady Gaga?

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Still wanna fall madly in love with me, punk?

Were those gifts only given to make her more attractive to the opposite sex, or more attractive in general so that the ‘populace’ would love and universally adore her? Why is it so damned important that she be beautiful and sing nicely, anyway? Those stupid fairies didn’t want to grant her good health or longevity, I notice. They neglected to grant her wisdom, or intelligence, or kindness. What are their priorities, anyway? Are they jealous because they’re frumpy, grumpy and kinda stupid? I mean, seriously, who would hide a princess for sixteen years only to leave her unattended before the fateful sunset?

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Serisouly, I just hated these guys.

Briar Rose

What I like best about Princess Aurora/Briar Rose is that she’s not interested in getting hitched to some strange prince she’s never met. She doesn’t dream about living in a castle and living the princess life. She wants to be with that strange ‘peasant’ boy she met in the woods who, freakishly, she also dreams about. My theory is that because they saw each other as children, they now dream about each other.

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Creepy McCreeperson makes the first move...

But the cool thing about Prince Phillip is that he doesn’t want to marry ‘Princess Aurora’ either, he wants to marry the ‘peasant’ girl he met in the woods. Although I, once again, find the Prince Charming a little creepy. He randomly starts dancing with Briar Rose, and then when Rose tries to get away from him (and damn right, she should! What a creeper!) he keeps grabbing her hands. CREEP! Seriously, dude. Rape happened in the 14thcentury as well.

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It's not rape if you yell SURPRISE! first... right?

Passive Princess

I suppose a lot of people would claim that Aurora’s a pathetic princess because she’s so passive – what can sleeping through the climax of the film be if not passivity? However, I would like to propose an alternative viewing, because I sympathise with Aurora. She’s a victim. Yes, she does as she’s told. She’s not rebellious like stronger Disney princesses. She’s still looking for love, like her predecessors. After her mini temper tantrum she does as she’s told and goes to the palace with the fairies. Then, and this is the part where I really sympathise with her – she is magically hypnotised and forced to touch the spinning needle wheel thingy. I mean, it’s pretty cool because she even tries to fight the magic – you see her pull away.

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Belle, Jasmine, and Ariel

She’s not quite Belle, or Jasmine, or even Ariel, but she’s getting there. She’s trying to do what she wants to do, but everyone around her forces her to do something she doesn’t want, to make her be something she’s not. That’s why it’s so easy to be on her side in this even though she’s one of the older princesses that I never really liked. I can accept that she simply doesn’t have Belle’s bravery or Jasmine’s independent streak or Ariel’s curiosity. It’s simply not in her personality. And I’m OK with that, because she doesn’t accept her fate as willingly as Snow White and she’s not as helpless as Cinderella, her two princess predecessors.

Yeah, I’m hanging a lot on the fact that she manages to pull back her hand before her finger is pricked. That’s what I do. I read into things.

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I'm not even going to go into the whole 'phallic' imagery of this, either. I'll spare you.

I was kind of hoping by now that we’d have a princess whose mind didn’t revolve around her cooch, but we’re still in 1959. We still have a princess who doesn’t really mind doing housework, either. I mean, what are they trying to say? That if 1950s women do their housework and look pretty to please men, some Prince will come along and marry them, take them ‘away from it all’? The reason I like Briar Rose so much is that even when she’s told she’s betrothed to a Prince, she gets all upset and flumpy because she wants to be with the boy from the woods. A boy she thoroughly believes is just a peasant. She’s not dreaming of marrying a Prince. And that, to me, because she is one of the three ‘old school’ Princesses, is just awesome.

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I NOM your face!

PS – why is she marketed as wearing a pink dress when she spends more time in the film with the dress blue?

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Marketing.

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Screenshot.

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3 thoughts on “Sleeping Beauty: The Passive, Peasant Princess

  1. Archer says:

    She’s marketed in the pink because, due to gender stereotype taste enforcements, the pink dress is more appealing to younger girls than the blue dress… and because in marketing cinders and snow white are marketed in a blue dress (I know arguably jasmine is too but she’s later) and they cant all wear blue, otherwise the marketing schemes would soon become dull and listless.

    Good post though as always baby.

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  2. theradgal says:

    First of all, I think that your blog is just awesome. I think that we can enjoy media and still be critical of it; I am highly critical of some of my favorite shows and movies. The ability to step back and see it all is important. As for Disney? The female leads are getting stronger, but the pretty, pretty princess marketing (plastic pink cell phones with princesses on them and so on) is pretty gross. Have you seen the Disney princess parody videos by Second City? I think you might like them. Here’s one about Ariel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8xCgC3w1zs&playnext=1&list=PL9B4D96BFC4FB645A

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    • Lissa says:

      Wow, thank you so much. Welcome to the party that is Lissa Writes! Thanks for posting that video, that was totally awesome. I think you’re completely right: I love Disney so much, that’s why I love looking at it in a more objective way now that I’m older.

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