An Image of Beauty
As children we were told stories of the princess being rescued by the dashing prince and how they rode off into the sunset, and the giant calligraphy words “The End” were plastered across the last page of the book. Now the question is, do the ongoing similarities of looks and personality in the characters throughout movies, fairy tales, and books build a specific image of beauty that a young girl should strive for? Most people see this image of the Disney princesses as an image of perfection. This is a petite, child-like faced girl who is frail both physically and mentally. But in recent years these characters have evolved mentally, for instance, Elsa who does not believe in marrying a man right off the bat. However, physically the body type of the female characters have yet to change. The only thing to do with their physical bodies that has changed is the color of the characters eyes and hair texture and color, body structure has stayed the same. This body type is considered unrealistic by most, but children and young women do not realize this. It is not just within the fairy tales though that this image of beauty is placed, it follows into teenage literature most likely formed from the Disney model.
Current books have kept this image of beauty that is built by fairy tales, forming the characters that teenagers will look too as models of character and beauty. A perfect example of this is the Twilight series, which became a large part of pop culture. Looking at the main character, Isabella Swan she does in fact fit the mold of a Disney princess but not in the traditional way. She does not particularly fit the physical mold, but she does fit the mental model of the earlier fairy-tale characters, such as Cinderella or Aurora. Both of these characters were helpless, physically and mentally, not being able to save themselves, just the same as Bella. Although Bella does show the motivation to pull herself out of the difficult situations she is put into. Overall as a character could be considered frail or withdrawn, letting what happens to her, only to have Edward the “prince” rescue her. Now I am a Disney fan, I have always sung along to the songs, till this day can break out into song singing ‘Be Our Guest’ from Beauty & The Beast. But I do not completely agree with the continuously similar body types of every princess as every movie comes out. I just simply believe that more realistic body types should be given publicity. Because as the world is moving forward changing the roles of both men and women, the world of literature and Disney has somewhat progressed as well. But we must begin to wonder with the original fairy tales still actively present in society, little girls have the beauty standards built for them to see from the start that follows into literature we read now.