Depiction of Disney princesses contributing to serious mental stuggles within young girls


Today, young children have more accessibility to television and movies than ever before. Walt Disney Productions has been known to make the most magical movies for over 100 years, giving these children a platform to build their imagination. However, new studies have shown that these movies may be affecting one’s self esteem.

Studies from Iowa University have shown that children between the ages of three and four have a brain that is constantly absorbing all of their surroundings.

Children are strongly influenced by what they watch in the movies, whether it be in a negative or positive way.  Maybe, without noticing, Disney’s movies have stuck something harmful in our minds by creating characters who look and act unrealistic.

In the story of Cinderella, she is a housemaid who is told she will never be good enough to find a prince. She wears old fashioned clothing, and does not own a fancy ball gown.

As soon as fairy godmother makes her beautiful, however, she is “good” enough to attend the ball.

Stories like this spark the discussion of how children view themselves in new ways.

Could it be possible that young children compare themselves to princesses like Cinderella and princes like Prince Charming?

Typically, the princess is portrayed as a damsel in distress and calls for the help of a strong knight in shining armor. This can set unrealistic expectations when one grows older.

Guidance counselor Jill Hamilton has considered the bigger question. “I think it limits both genders in what they see is available to them,” Hamilton said.”For example, if a boy isn’t into sports he feels less like a man.”

Snow White spent her days singing about her magical prince to come, and Belle was given dozens of dresses to look more beautiful. When children watch this, they begin to copy and admire that character, in order to be just like them. This can start to damage self–esteem at a young age.

Sophomore Lauren Trajano knows there has been a direct influence to one’s self esteem.

“Most girls grew up watching the girl fall in love with a prince and live happily ever after,” Trajano said. “In reality women are looked down upon making others think that men can use us.”

Whether one believes Disney’s characters are harmless or if they are a direct influence on low self esteem, Disney will still be the place we look to for magic.

“Disney has always strived to be perfect not just in their characters but in their parks,” Hamilton said.”It is a magical place, a place to escape from your everyday life.”