Thursday, February 7, 2013
Lessons from the Swan Princess
The Swan Princess is a 1994 animated film based off the ballet Swan Lake. It was never one of my favorite movies, but now, looking back, I found it offered some more insightful lessons than many Disney movies.
The movie is about a girl, Odette, who is supposed to marry prince Derek, her childhood playmate. Every summer their parents had the two of them meet in hopes that they would one day fall in love and marry. As children, they really can't stand each other and dread their summer's together. But as the years go on and they enter early adulthood they begin to grow fond of eachother. Meanwhile, there is an evil enchanter, Rothbart, wants to take the kindgdom. His plans are foiled in the beginning but he vows that one day everything Odette's father loves will belong to Rothbart.
At a great ball, Prince Derek expresses his desire to marry Odette. And this is where the lessons begin
Odette asks him why he like her and prince Derek admits it is because she is so beautiful. Odette then asks, "what else?" And prince Derek says a pretty heart hitting line, "What else is there?"
Hurt by his response. Odette rejects him and leaves the ball.
Society has made it so being thought of as beautiful by someone you like should be enough. As if somehow if a girl can get a guy to be satified with her looks than she has accomplished something. Even as a child, I watched Odette leave that ball feeling proud of her and any woman who had the sense to demand her man see her as more than a pretty face.
Yes, it's nice to get a compliment but you can't mistake someone liking your appearance with real love.
I have actually used the line "what else?" with guys because it's amazing to see how suddenly the guy has to try and consider who you are as a person rather than feeling like he did some good deed for calling you pretty.
Girls are being raised to accept any "pretty" compliment they can get (guys aren't off the hook either)
If their "prince" thinks they are attractive and nothing more, they accept it. They don't even ask if he sees more to her. Even if she is talented, full of good virtue, and an all around great person a guy will still rely on saying "you're pretty" to entertain her ego.
Prince Derek was so excited to see himself married to a pretty girl and that's all he saw. This is repulsive and fearsome for a number of ways.
Odette as pretty as she is was not responsible for her looks. No one is because no one decides how they come out of the womb or grow up physically.
If your blue eyes are stunning that's God's doing not yours. Even if you change your physical appreance through surgery it's still someone else who had a hand in it. Thus "you're beautiful" never has been or will be a compliment. It's like when someone says I like your top, but you didn't make it. It means nothing.
For Prince Derek to think he was giving Odette a compliment proves he is a very vain man.
When he no longer finds you beautiful, he will move on and the fact that he believes a girl has some role in her beauty means he expects you to do whatever it takes to remain beautiful. That is a rather cruel task to put on any human.
It means, for the rest of your life you owe your selfworth to being appreciated by something you actually have no control over.
This is why a girl or guy will skip meals just to be a certain weight. Or why they will mentally put themselves down until their self esteem is so low they can't even imagine liking themselves.
You have a resposibilty to be a good person not a good looking one!
Odette was smart enough to see through Prince Derek and left. She may have cared about him, but she loved herself more; she knew she was more than just a pretty face and decided to take a personal stand against being some doll for Prince Derek.
It wasn't until Prince Derek could love Odette for more than her looks that she decided to be with him. I wish more girls and guys would do that.You may be attracted to someone physically and they may like your features but you shouldn't make someone feel they always have to be "pretty" for you. Nor should you feel like you have to look a certain way for them. If looks is all there is in the relationship, you have no real relationship
The Swan Princess is someone that shows girls it's ok to walk away from someone, even if you like them, if they don't value you as more.