The Disney message and how we grew up believing we are unlovable.
In most Disney stories when we were growing up, there is a love story and a villain. The focus is not on how unrealistic the story actually is — please, people, it’s actually a cartoon for children, how realistic did you expect it to be? — I’m turning the attention to the fact that in essence, life can be seen as a love story, no matter how unrealistic, and in essence, the only thing we really need to fight against is the obstacle to that love.
What do I mean?
In every valid spiritual tradition, what is there to find is the love that holds it all together, inside and out. To see the wonders of life, and find the inner wonders of awakening, enlightenment, transcendence, passion, purpose, mission, and so forth. Spirituality in essence is a transcendence of suffering, or at least it should be regarded as such — that’s why some of us have such a hard time with spiritual beliefs and accepting other’s views, because inherent to our belief system, for ourselves, only we are right. But generally speaking, dissing Disney for 1500 years of cultural indoctrination is by far one of the most horrible spiritual bypassing I’ve ever seen. Disney taught us that we not only deserve love, no matter who we are and what is our background, and it taught us there is magic to be found in the world. Be thankful! Without it, must likely our “millenial generation” wouldn’t have survived… We had Kurt Cobain screaming “Rape me” in our stereos by the time we were 12 years old.
Anyway, I’m becoming too derivative here.
Disney did put in our minds that love is possible, not only that, that no one is unlovable, especially those of us overworked, ostracized by society in general, regardless of size, who just need a bit of comfort and a motherly figure to feel better about themselves. And it did help us understand that music saves, that magic does exists and fairy godmothers are always here to protect us.
Not only that, Disney forced us to fight for healthy parenting figures. To become better ourselves, to run and hide from all the dysfunction. I think Disney might’ve saved a lot of traumatic childhoods.
Disney taught us the law of karma, that good always wins.
Disney taught us that behind every woman is a princess in disguise. Behind every villain, there is someone suffering. Behind every difficulty in life, there are solutions… wether singing in the forest, to baking cakes, to falling asleep until love wakes us up.
Inherent to all Disney stories, there is a love for life which is immeasurable. We tend to not want to see it, mostly due to our own pains of not living in an enchanted forest with an enchanted life. But if we find the enchantment that is possible in our own lives, we might feel blessed beyond measure.
We grew up with the idea that true love, Disney love, is not only impossible, but also that none of us (well, most of us) will never be princesses or princes, and that we need to save ourselves most of the time. That no matter how difficult, getting lost in the jungle and being adopted by a community of animals is just not possible in the near future, no matter how much we’d like it to be so. It also taught us that all cultures are beautiful in their own way, that you do get what you wish for, even growing legs if you’re a mermaid, but it might not be as you’d thought. It also taught us that no matter what happens, it is possible to find joy, music, and love. Above all else, Disney taught us emotional literacy — remember Bambi’s mom? Dumbo’s living arrangements? Snow White’s running from home? We learned how to feel and identify what we feel with Disney, and to find the beauty in it.
I say to all those who tell their kids Disney is impossible, stop telling your kids they are unlovable. Allow magic, allow beauty, allow healthy growing into emotionally literate adults.