Disney, OK

Did Disney Really Trick Us When It Comes To Being In Love?

Stacy Ann

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Several months ago a song began trending on Tiktok by salem ilese which talks about how Disney tricked us when it comes to our romantic relationships.

I’m mad at Disney, Disney
They tricked me, tricked me
Had me wishing on a shooting star
But now I’m twenty-something
I still know nothing
About who I am or what I’m not

Unfortunately, the lyrics ring quite true and my feelings about Disney have changed over the last decade or so.

Let’s rewind for a moment. While I was growing up I absolutely loved Disney movies.

Beauty and the Beast was my favorite with Cinderella coming in a close second.

I loved the songs, the dresses, the characters, the vibrant colors, and most of all, the love stories.

However, looking back I cannot help but admit that many fantasies and idealization of the men in my life had to do with the fact that I was a hopeless romantic… which can be easily traced back to Disney’s portrayal of love.

Years ago I thought that my fairytale was coming true.

A man came into my life that seemed to be everything I had been looking for. Then he said the words that I had wanted to hear my entire life, as I can imagine every person does.

“You’re my soulmate. You’re the one I’ve been searching for my entire life. I love you.”

Immediately my heart burst and I felt like I had finally been found. I had been rescued and all of the previous heartbreak didn’t matter because I had found the one.

Except… I hadn’t. It was all an illusion. This man and I didn’t even know each other. Yet I completely believed it because it was what I had always been told to believe.

Let’s reflect on the main messages Disney has told us since we were impressionable children.

  1. Love at first sight exists
  2. Love will work even if it’s ridden with issues
  3. Love will make everything fall into place (happily ever after)

These beliefs are a surefire way to set up a relationship for failure.

“Real relationships don’t involve knights in shining armor, soul mates, gleaming carriages, castles or, above all, living happily ever after. But the Disneyized tales now engraved in our consciousness make us feel these things are real, even after years of counseling in which our therapists beg to differ.” -Brandeis Magazine

Let’s recap about the absurdity for a moment.

A prince sees Cinderella at a ball and immediately wants to marry her after about one dance that lasts two and a half minutes.

Ariel and Aladdin are deceitful and still end up getting what they wanted without really any true consequences.

Every story concludes with a moment of peril and an eventual happily ever after. Sure, there might be deaths or trials along the way but we all know that the story is going to have a happy ending.

Who would have wanted the original endings when we could sugarcoat them and make it all an ideal fantasy?

We tell ourselves time and time again that we don’t believe in fairytales when secretly we most likely do or did at one point in our lives.

I know that I certainly did.

I wanted to be saved. I wanted someone to see me and for it to be like in the movies. I wanted them to love me because they could just see me in that moment and want me.

Because of these beliefs, I was vulnerable to an abusive relationship because I didn’t have boundaries.

I was extremely suspectable to someone portraying themselves as the person I had always been looking for.

I cannot blame Disney for everything. After all, we are responsible for our own choices and our own lives.

However, had I grown up with a different message than the one that I was going to be saved by a man and live happily ever after?

Perhaps reality would have been just a bit easier to stomach.

Over the years I have gotten away from my preconstructed notions about love. I no longer believe that I need to be saved by someone. I no longer believe in a soulmate, that there is simply one person out there for everyone.

However, on the Disney messaging front there is hope. Recently in Frozen 2 we were given one of the healthiest relationships between Anna and Kristoff that can be remembered in Disney relationship history. She doesn’t need to be saved and he doesn’t try to be her hero.

My hope is that Disney's message continues to evolve and we don’t continue to bombard future generations that they need true love and a prince to be happy.

After all, when you realize you don’t need a fictional prince to be happy, it’s a huge weight off of your shoulders.

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I am a writer & relationship consultant that primarily deals with narcissism, overcoming abuse & trauma, and self-love. Contact me @ Blog: carriewynn.com Instagram: carrie_wynnmusings

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