Most people love a good Disney movie. There’s a princess in most cases, and she goes through some challenges with the help of her friends (some of whom are talking animals), to accomplish a huge goal in life. Often, the “goal” is to win the affections of a prince. However, Disney is starting to change the moral of many of their fairytales in order to send the message to little girls that women are powerful, talented and capable without the approval of men.
Like many fairytales, Disney princess stories often have some gruesome details that aren’t exactly kid-friendly. Death is often a part of fairytales, and parental abandonment seems to be a running theme in some of these fanciful stories as well. Since many adults also enjoy Disney movies, it would be interesting to explore the real truth behind the Disney princesses we’ve come to know and love. Want to gain a new perspective the next time your children force you to watch a Disney movie for the millionth time? Here are 11 shocking truths behind Disney princess movies that you may find interesting.
In the wedding scene for The Little Mermaid, the bishop seems to have been aroused. Some people see that he enjoys weddings a bit too much, and perhaps he was pretty excited about Ariel’s nuptials. However, animators say that the bishop didn’t actually have an (animated) erection. The running joke is that the bishop was a very short man, and was standing on top of a box to officiate the ceremony. The “erection” we see is actually the bishop’s knees, but you can’t really tell because of the long robe the bishop is wearing. Disney animators maintain that viewers are just seeing what they want to see. Interesting.
If you were a fan of the Disney movie Aladdin as a kid, you probably didn’t notice that the title character was encouraging nudity. Well, nudity for teenagers, anyway. When Aladdin starts having some trouble getting Rajah the tiger to behave, he seems to say, “good teenagers take off your clothes.” You can hear this just as Princess Jasmine is opening up the curtains, which indicates that Aladdin was talking to the princess. The director’s commentary for the movie says that the line was actually ad-lib, and was supposed to say “Good tiger, take off. Seat. Go!” Sure, we’ll go with that.
Cinderella is a favorite fairytale for women and girls alike. It tells the story of a downtrodden girl who is treated poorly by her stepsisters and her father’s new wife. Cinderella ends up as the heroine in the story when the prince finds that the glass slipper left at the ball belongs to Cinderella. Her stepsisters are willing to do anything to marry the prince, and in the original story, one stepsister cuts off her toe to be able to fit into the shoe. Another stepsister cuts off her heel to be the one to fit into the glass slipper. Those details aren’t exactly kid-friendly, though.
The Princess and the Frog is one of the newer fairytale adaptations by Disney, and is based on The Frog Prince. In the original story, the curse is on the frog prince when the princess throws him against the wall. Of course, that doesn’t make for an appealing children’s movie. The version of the story you’ve heard or seen likely involves the princess kissing the frog in order to turn him into a prince again. In some stories, the princess has to chop the frog’s head off or burn his skin in order to return him to his human state. We’re glad Princess Tiana didn’t have to do any of that in the Disney version of the movie.
The Disney film Pocahontas was actually based on a real Native American woman. However, she was not in love with John Smith, as the movie indicates. In fact, Pocahontas hated Smith, because he lied to her about pretty much everything. Pocahontas was kidnapped and held hostage for an entire year because of John Smith. She was also given a new name—Rebecca—and paraded around for the entertainment of the European settlers. Pocahontas passed away at the young age of 21, and she didn’t even get the respect she deserved in death. Her grave was destroyed. This gives a whole new meaning to movie.
Murder is part of Disney princess movies as well, even though Disney often finds a way to make killing cute and harmless. In Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Snow White is living a happy, song-filled life with the little men who protect and shelter her. Meanwhile, The Evil Queen is feasting on human organs back at the castle, because she believes they are Snow White’s. So, who did all those organs belong to? At the end of the story, Snow White and Prince Charming get married, and the Evil Queen attends the wedding. Since she thinks that Snow White is dead, the queen has no idea that Snow White is actually the bride. In the original story, at the wedding reception, someone gives the Evil Queen burning shoes. The queen dances in the shoes–until she drops dead. Lovely.
In the Disney version of Beauty and The Beast, Belle is the only daughter of Maurice. However, older versions of the story state that Belle had two older sisters. When the sisters find out that Belle has been at the castle with the Beast, they become jealous that Belle has spent time in such a beautiful place. After all, when Maurice made a deal with the Beast, Belle was the only one willing to go to the castle. The sisters convince Belle that the Beast will eat her if she goes back to the castle, but Belle doesn’t listen, returns to the castle, and lives happily ever after with the man of her dreams, even though her sisters are huge haters.
4. Blended Families
In the story of Cinderella, we see the unpleasant aspects that are sometimes part of a blended family. After Cinderella’s mother dies, his father marries another woman. The woman is evil and treats Cinderella poorly. She also tries to make sure that her daughters are seen by the prince, and does all she can to keep Cinderella, who is very beautiful, from getting any attention. Cinderella obviously needs some comfort in a situation like this, since it seems like her father doesn’t do much to protect his daughter. In the original story, Cinderella (whose original name is Aschenputtel) grows a tree over her mother’s grave. The tree has magical powers that grant Cinderella’s wishes, instead of a fairy godmother. Oh, and at the end of the original story, Cinderella slams the lid of a chest onto her stepmother’s neck, killing her. Sweet dreams, kids.
3. Death In The Name Of Love
One of the sweetest moments in the Disney movie The Little Mermaid is when Ariel and Prince Eric profess their love to each other and live happily ever after. However, according to folklore, Prince Eric actually falls in love with another women. This breaks Ariel’s heart. However, there’s a “solution.” She can kill the prince and sprinkle his blood on her feet, so that she can become a mermaid again. Or, she can die of a broken heart. Ariel loves Prince Eric too much to kill him, so she flings herself into the ocean to die. Apparently, mermaids turn into sea foam when they die, and that’s what happened to Ariel when she lost her life in the name of love.
Yes, you read that right. In the original story of Sleeping Beauty, the prince is not able to wake the princess from her slumber. So, instead of trying to get the splinter out of her finger, he sexually assaults her and impregnates her with twins before leaving her in her glass casket. Sleeping Beauty wakes up after giving birth, when one of her twins sucks the splinter from her finger. Other versions of the story indicate that a king found Sleeping Beauty in a tower, and sexually assaults her. He leaves soon after, but decides that he misses Sleeping Beauty a few months later. The king goes back to Sleeping Beauty to find that she has given birth to twins. The king’s wife finds out about this, and tries to have the twins killed. She also demands that the twins be cooked and fed to the king, but is not successful. Then, Sleeping Beauty and the king live happily ever after. Interesting, indeed.
Disney got the rights to the Hans Christian Andersen fairytales in 1940. One of the stories was The Snow Queen, which is known to kids all over the world as Frozen, one of the most popular Disney movies of all time. Little girls everywhere love to dress up as Ana or Elsa and singing the hit song from the movie, “Let It Go.” However, the original story involves a Snow Queen who kidnapped a little boy and refused to let him go. The Queen also kisses the little boy to make him forget all about his family and friends, so that he doesn’t realize he’s actually in captivity. There’s a reindeer in the story who helps the little boy get back home (we’re guessing Olaf is the Disney version of the reindeer). How sweet.