True Romance is a Powerful Weapon Against the Gay Lobby

Thoughts on Disney's Princesses on the eve of Beauty and the Beast's controversial release.

By Esther O'Reilly Published on March 16, 2017

As a child, I spent countless hours watching classic Disney princess movies, Errol Flynn swashbucklers, and other such old-fashioned boy-meets-girl affairs. I rooted for the hero to slash his way through whatever thorn thickets, dragons or evil sheriffs of Nottingham stood in his way to reach his Aurora, his Maid Marion, his one true lady love. I didn’t know it at the time, but these timeless tales were shaping my heart and my imagination by teaching me what true love looks like. Were they often fantastical and idealized? To be sure. But then, I was six years old. And already, a most powerful weapon against all distortions of love’s true nature had been placed in my hands: romance.

A Different Take

Fellow millennial Liberty McArtor recently made waves hereabouts with her piece, “Let’s Be Honest: Disney Has Been Sexualizing Its Characters For a Long Time.” Her take on classic Disney fare like Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty was rather different from mine. She highlighted the fact that the princesses were wasp-waisted, buxom beauties often in their teens. This casts wakeup kiss scenes from doting princes in a more disturbing light: “Perhaps parents should think about the message it sends their little girls that when they are 16, a man they don’t know will save them with a kiss on the lips.”

By contrast, she praised the stories of tomboyish princesses like Merida and Elsa, where romance was sidelined by action/adventure or family drama. This jibed with her own personal experience of being that little girl who always wanted to skip the kissing scenes. Her memo to Disney: More of this and less of that. “That” being romance, of all varieties, not merely the gay sort. Meanwhile, she thinks conservative Christian parents should be “wary of the message their daughters are receiving when they constantly watch portrayals of teen girls who are hyper-sexualized and focused on Prince Charming.” 

I see Disney’s legacy films quite differently. Yes, Sleeping Beauty’s Aurora in particular is exaggeratedly thin and buxom. And yes, she occasionally sports an era-appropriate dress that bares more than I would approve of. But she’s no Playboy bunny. Some of her outfits are even buttoned up to the collarbone. And what of the shy loveliness of Cinderella, or the child-like innocence of Snow White? Miley Cyrus is hyper-sexualized. Beyoncé is hyper-sexualized. Hyper-sexualized, ye olde Disney princesses are not.

Moreover, I think the fairytale genre holds much promise for conservatives. As millennials, we should tread thoughtfully when evaluating the literary heritage of the West that has been passed down to us. There’s an all-too-prevalent temptation to evaluate every cultural artifact through a 21st century lens, leading to conclusions that are less relevant than we think.

For example, girls as young as 14 were regularly married off to older men in the eras depicted in such tales. Though this did result in sadly arranged unions, it also resulted in many happy ones. And while we’re talking about teen girls’ readiness for marriage, look no further than the Virgin Mary herself, than whom no purer exemplar of feminine virtue can be conceived.

But to the main point: I don’t think the sweet, innocent sentiments expressed by Snow White in a song like “Someday My Prince Will Come” is something for parents to be “wary” of with their children. Cinderella’s “So This is Love” and Aurora’s “Once Upon a Dream” are likewise free of guile. Certainly, there is pop media that can create unrealistically high expectations for young girls, or give them an unhealthily twisted image of romantic affection. See: Twilight.

However, we should waste no chance to point our children toward the Good, and healthy romance is certainly a component of that. We should celebrate the wondrous natural beauty of the male/female bond in front of children at every stage of their development, in age-appropriate ways. This is precisely the goal early Disney accomplished through their romantic fairytales. By using such tools to teach young boys and girls early and often what love is, Christian parents can prepare them to recognize what it isn’t.

Nature Abhors a Vacuum

Liberty admits that second-wave feminist considerations are driving her thesis to a certain extent. She doesn’t want Disney to put feminine princesses on a pedestal, because not every girl is waiting for her prince to come. She wants Disney to encourage girls to find their own path in life, whether it involves a Prince Charming or not.

The problem with even such second-wave sentiments is that nature abhors a vacuum. I submit that the very liberals and feminists who raised red flags about Aurora, Snow White et alia were leaving such a vacuum for LeFou and Gaston to rush in. Liberty rightly notes that as cultural romantic mores shift, so too will Disney’s. But the solution is not for Disney to get out of the romance business, any more than the solution to government-sanctioned gay marriage is for government to get out of the marriage business. Indeed, Disney just offered up a lovely picture of romantic innocence with its last live-action princess adaptation, Cinderella. (Memo to Disney: More of that.)

The gay lobby wants to begin indoctrinating children as young as possible, because they want to warp a child’s perception of what is natural and normal. All the more reason for Christian parents not to treat love and marriage as “delicate” matters to be “broached” at leisure. Children may not be able to grasp sexuality, but they see the man and the woman kiss, and they know that it is good. The little girl who tucks her dolly in at night may not understand where babies come from, but she knows they are of the utmost importance, and when she grows up she will (she will!) have her own.

Of course, none of the above is meant to belittle those who are ordained to singleness, whether literally or figuratively. As St. Paul notes, some people have a special calling to a vocation that would be hampered by the demands of marriage. But we should encourage marriage-mindedness in those who are not among that select few. There’s a reason why God looked down and thought to Himself that it was not good for man to be alone. At the end of the day, I like to think Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders said it best: “The purpose of a man is to love a woman, and the purpose of a woman is to love a man.”

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  • Autrey Windle

    I love Liberty, but I can see the millennial in her interpretation of the Disney classics. I believe I remember that she is married so I hope she will consider that blessing when considering what I’m about to say. Esther is so right on this issue. Biblically it is perfectly fine for a person to be single and for single people to have successful careers as well as married ones; but marriage is the rule for having the blessing of children. God assigned rules in marriage for men and separate but equally important rules for wives. Children even without one parent or the other can actually benefit from the romance and male/female roles portrayed in fairytales even when the princess has a tiny waist and the prince is gallant and handsome. It gave us ugly ducklings something to shoot for and I always dreamed my MIA father loved my mom like prince charming but was turned into a frog by the evil witch. So I mixed plot lines, but it gave me hope. So I grew up and eventually had to deal with the real witches and evil sorcerers but I’m still the princess even when I’m fixing my own car and paying my own bills. Disney did more than sell out. They failed their true audience, the children, in favor of hell-driven alphabet agenda bullies. Oh, well! I keep reminding myself this madness is all bringing the beautiful new beginning that much closer.

    • Wayne Cook

      Very well written comment, Autrey!

      • Autrey Windle

        Thank you, my friend. It is unusual to be taking on these fights at my stage of life and I appreciate the encouragement.

    • Howard Rosenbaum

      As I recall, all the “ugly ducklings ” grow up to be swans …

      • Autrey Windle

        some do say i have an elegant look when I swim…

  • Wayne Cook

    I agree with you…I read Liberty’s article and chose not to comment, because she was so adamant. My two girls watched every Disney romance and grew up to be modest women. No explanation needed. Both are millenials. Thanks Esther 🙂

  • Gary

    Homosexuals, and their supporters, are a cancer on America. If they are not neutralized, they will destroy the country.

    • th1gurl23

      Its apart of the one world order agenda.. to rip apart the family unit and population control.. hence homosexuals can’t procreate

    • Scott Croydon

      Regardless of any agenda, I would suggest that ALL sin is a cancer on the Great Experiment and if we don’t take back our country, I.e., our government, our, schools, our entertainment, etc, through prayer we will loose ALL that is near and dear to us.

      However, eventually all in this is lost to a dark agenda and as Autrey Windle comment, I too look to perfection.

  • Charles Burge

    Jennifer Hartline also made a point in a recent column that I think is relevant here. She wrote:

    “Venerable Fulton Sheen was right when he told us: ‘To a great extent the level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood. When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women.’”

    I think you can see that in the early Disney movies (Cinderella, et. al.) They don’t just show women of virtue and innocence. They show men who strive to make themselves worthy of the women they pursue. And in so doing, they teach boys how a gentleman properly relates to the women in his life.

    • Scott Croydon

      I was raised by my patents to be a gentleman. Period. Even when slighted by those of the female persuasion. Christ would take it one step further; a a gentleman to all people.

  • stumpc

    Excellent point. Human nature is disposed to the truth of male and female complementarity, including the romantic roles that the secular “progressive” world labors to corrupt and misrepresent. It cannot be suppressed forever, but it can imperil many souls along the way.

  • Howard Rosenbaum

    When & if Disney does a remake of Snow White – as long as its not a he singing ” Someday My Prince Will Come’ I’ll prefer the stylized form of feminine fantasy flowing across the big screen as I vicariously enjoy the illusion of romantic perfection. Hey, the concept of fantasy in film is as basic to the industry as illusion is to magicians. The Disney legacy is predicated
    upon something less than realistic representations of human interaction. Yet, in spite of that
    discrepancy, moral values & ethical constraints were often presented in typical Disney fashion. Perhaps the recent trend of politicizing their current offerings will cause the Disney faithful to rethink their loyalty – or maybe it won’t …

  • th1gurl23

    Disney with princess or prince movies are banned in my house hold. The only cartoons from disney my kids watch is nemo and similar stories. That’s it. I don’t want their perception warped. If i can.. i want them to see a mother and father kiss in my home. If i can help it minimal fornication too. Not just gay relationship which is the new pushing agenda… but all sexual contact. That is me…. i know i can’t stop everything but i can control what is in MY home. I can teach them what is good and what is bad

  • Dawn Wright

    I think people are worried about having to explain to young children why two men were kissing or romantic in some way. I wouldn’t want to explain that to my young daughter either. I don’t think it would be appropriate in a child’s movie to have two men or two women kissing. However, I seen the movie myself first and it’s in no way something any young child would pick up on. They don’t kiss. All lafoe and Gaston do is dance. It’s not even romantic it’s like silly dancing. Then towards the end when they storm the castle looking for the beast the wardrobe grabs three men and dresses them as women. Two of the men run off screaming and the third man, lafoe, doesn’t run he just stands their smiling and the wardrobe says you’re free you’re free. Again, not something little kids will pick up on.

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