Cinderella Kicked My Cat! Animal abuse and racism in Disney princess movies

The most popular white Disney princesses we grew up with all have animal companions we have watched for years...but what if I told you Disney promotes animal exploitation and racism through those furry friends?

Ok, let's break it down. Disney is able to create a distance between the human and animal characters in the princess movies with white main characters, which makes the exploitation of the animal sidekicks justifiable. We can't relate to the animals so we don't get offended when they are treated poorly, and the only time we can relate to the animal is in Princess and the Frog when Tiana physically turns into a frog. The fact that she is black then also inclines the viewer to see black people as closer to animals....tssk tssk tssk.

The first way is through animation. Animals in the movies typically have cartoonish or exaggerated appearances. Whether it is gigantic eyes, funny potbellies, or abnormally sized mouths, something is usually off.

Cinderella's Jaq and Gus Gus, and Ariel's Sebastian and Flounder

The second way is by making the animals have humorous voices with speech impediments or accents, which make them seem less serious and intelligent than their human masters. Sometimes they don't really have voices at all, such as in Snow White.

In Cinderella, Snow White, and The Little Mermaid, the princesses don't share the quality of overly exaggerated physical qualities that the animals do, however Tiana from Princess and the Frog does. I probably don't even have to tell you why this is not ok, but just in case it went over your head this is bad because Tina is the only black princess. Having her shown in an animal like animation style makes her seem closer related to the animal kingdom than the white princesses. She is drawn with enlarged eyes, a big nose, and big ears, which are also stereotypically black traits (so many problems here Disney)

Not to mention Tiana is the only princess that actually turns into an animal (and spends the overwhelming majority of her movie being shown as a frog instead of a human). While this does make the viewer more connected, and therefore more compassionate towards the frog, it is obviously not ideal because SHE IS NOT EVEN REPRESENTED.AS A HUMAN, LET ALONE A STRONG BLACK WOMAN!!!

Tiana in frog form

Okay, now that we have some background information, let's get into some specific offenses of animal rights as performed by our favorite caucasian princesses...

1. Cinderella: Gus Gus and Jaques do her chores, and the birds make her a dress. Not to mention she shoves the mice into little human clothes and talks to them like young children. All of this messed up treatment adds up and takes away any possibility of them being viewed as living things.

2. Snow White: This woman has the audacity to insult the animals surrounding her, saying she "Cannot just lay out in the cold like an animal" when they are trying to find her a place to stay, and then has them clean the whole gosh darn house AND blows dust on some cute little squirrels and chipmunks! Was this girl never taught proper manners??!?!

3. Ariel: Now don't get me wrong, this fiery gal is without a doubt my favorite Disney Princess. She isn't afraid to speak her mind and she's rebellious as heck...however she is just downright rude to Flounder and Sebastian. Perhaps the worst instance is when she neglects to pay any attention to Flounder's overwhelming fear of sharks and makes him explore a shark infested ship with her...does she not know that Flounder is the base of the shark food pyramid?!? AND (you're never going to believe this) when she makes it to shore and humans want to eat Flounder and Sebastian...SHE DOESN'T EVEN CARE!!!!

The problem with all of this is that having animals as just a pawn in a game makes them seem dispensable and unimportant to viewers. To make matters worse, its little children that are typically watching these movies, and their minds can be easily molded to believe anything (good or bad) to the rapid stage of development they are experiencing during this time.

Now that you've seen just how rude these princesses are to their so-called 'friends', let's take a look at The Princess and the Frog. Seeing as Tiana can't have an animal helper (besides her fellow black human turned frog Prince Naveen) because she IS the animal, there is very little evidence of animal exploitation in her movie.

So you get it, having Tiana be a frog is bad, but there is an upside. When she turns into the frog we can recognize ourselves in that animal. We see a frog go through trials, love, and a meaningful journey that connects us to it and creates compassion for all frogs. After watching Princess and The Frog, it would be very hard for a little kid to step on a frog or stab it (or something else slightly barbaric that children do) because they would see Tiana or Prince Naveen when they saw the frog. (To watch Tiana turn into a frog, skip to 2:52 in the Youtube clip)

So what's the big deal? Well, for starters it's a proven fact that children experience the most brain growth and development between ages 1 and 5, and 4 happens to be the average age of Disney cartoon viewers. During this time children absorb just about everything around them, so if the movies they watch include cruel and racist attitudes, they may adopt these in their later years.

To make matters worse, children who exhibit abusive behavior towards animals are much more to commit violent criminal acts later in life. If kids adopt these attitudes from Disney movies and go onto disregard the lives of animals, they are in danger of performing escalated acts of cruelty in adulthood.

So Disney, in the wise words of the most iconic Disney Channel star of my lifetime, "Nobody's perfect", but you really need to get your act together and stop promoting animal cruelty and racism. It's just messed up.

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