But seriously, y’all.
The traditional Disney Prince has about as much sparkle and panache as something completely lacking in sparkle and panache. He has a creative name like “The Prince” “Prince Charming” “Prince Phillip” “Prince Eric” or “Prince Adam” (that’s the actual name of the Beast, apparently), and no personality. Ok, well, the Beast has a personality, but the only thing anyone else does is be obsessively fixated on some girl he met once in the woods.
Has anyone ever thought that maybe the reason that little boys (generally) don’t like playing princess games is because there’s nothing for them to DO? What prince is actually interesting enough that a little boy would want to dress up like him? What prince actually does anything that a little boy (or anyone for that matter) would want to do? Hey, Mom, today I’m going to roleplay as Prince Charming. I will stand stiffly in a corner and watch my minion put shoes on women. Then I will be Prince Eric and float on some driftwood. Then I will be an abusive alcoholic, sorry, I mean, I will be the Beast.
I mean, yeah, there’s a couple of cool fights, but mostly being a Prince is about being in the right place at the right time with a willing pair of lips. It’s about falling in “love”for no reason. It’s about being a plot point, a blank slate, a projection screen. These men don’t have journeys or emotional arcs (or emotions), they just have thrones, pretty faces, and nothing else to do with their time. Their only reason for existence is to save the girl, so what are they supposed to do when the girl no longer needs saving? Talk to her? (Seriously, does anyone else find it disturbing that when Eric falls in love with Ariel, she is MUTE?)
Stupid message #1: Little girls, these shallow men with no personalities deserve to be loved for no other reason than that they are there.
Stupid message #2: Little boys, the way you get to be loved is to be a shallow man with no personality who does the “right” things.
Why, hello there, Nice Guy Syndrome!
Stupid message #3: The way for little boys to find meaning in their lives is to save a woman. Woman=answer to your life problems.
Stupid message #4: Men don’t need to be saved.