The first thing you may notice about Sleeping Beauty is that the, supposed, protagonist is sleeping for the majority of the film. Passivity has been a reared desirable trait for women, this displaying the epitome of a passive woman. Further reinforcing the notion is that a man must ultimately “save her from herself“ (if we recall, Aurora is the one who pricked herself on the spindle, making it her fault that she is the victim – read that with thick layers of sarcasm if you hadn’t).
The Prince’s actions reinforce the “nice guy” paradigm. Prince Philip rescues Aurora from her deep slumber with true love’s kiss. There is a lack of moral compass about the appropriateness of kissing a woman who can’t give consent. The movie seems to suggest that because Prince Philip worked so hard to snake through thorny bushes and slay a dragon that he is allowed to kiss our sleeping beauty. Regardless of how much an individual does for another, it is in no way, shape, or form, permission to another individual’s body without proper communication. By raising our youth on movies that promote the prize of obtaining women through hard work, we are promoting the I-Deserve-Her syndrome that “nice” men seem to be suffering from.
The most powerful women is evil – this resonates with a more modern term: power bitch. Women holding positions of power are sometimes referred to as being a bitch – as to where her male counterpart would be praised for his determination. Women are considered aggressive,
Even our biological experiences are framed to deflate our legitimacy. Who hasn’t heard, “Oh you’re just PMSing…”
Even title wise the movie suggest that a woman’s worth is directly tied to her looks and fertility. The film is literally called Sleeping Beauty. Beauty is gifted to the new born baby, signaling how precious this must be. Her mother is unknown except for being the bearer of a bouncy baby girl.
Obviously, Disney doesn’t respect women as autonomous capable beings. Where does that leave our youth who subliminally imbibe these messages?