Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. What an example that put in our little sponge-like brains. Watching the movie as an adult, it has a much different meaning than it did 30-something years ago.
As a wide-eyed 7-year-old, it was the stuff of fantasies and dreams. A pretty girl gets treated mean by an ugly hearted Queen, finds woodland creatures for support, stumbles upon 7 dwarfs who treat her like a princess and when she is tricked into eating the poison apple by the mean old witch, is saved by her Prince Charming on a white horse.
An adult sees a pampered princess who runs away from her problems and goes crazy in the woods and starts talking to animals. She stumbles upon a cottage and in her psychosis decides that what she needs to do in order to validate her feelings of loneliness and inadequacy, is to clean this house left a mess by 7 strange bachelors. Possibly one of them will appreciate the fact she can perform menial labor and find her worthy. What she finds are 7 odd men who are so happy to have a domestic they dote attention on her after finding her asleep on the job in their beds.
Even after the warnings by the bachelor brood of how the Queen can take many forms and will be coming after her, what does she do while baking a pie to win Grumpy’s heart? Does she smarten up and realize that she can’t live by beauty alone, but must start to toughen up and trust instinct? No, she invites in the first stranger who comes along, the Queen disguised as an old woman, takes an apple from her, and eats it. For a brunette, she sure doesn’t have much in the way of smarts.
Poor, disheartened dwarfs. All they can do is mourn their short-lived luck to have a live-in who works for room & board and isn’t terrible on the eyes. They build a glass casket and place her on a pedestal in the woods. Not only does she sleep the sleep of death, but when her Prince Charming arrives and stirs her from her slumber with a kiss, she awakens with not a hair out-of-place or morning breath.
So as she rides off into the sunset and a sure marriage to her hero and savior, all one can think is that man is that Prince lucky. She can cook, clean, sew, and isn’t afraid to try new things. He is a bit wary though, she has been living with 7 guys, and can he live up to the hype? Poor Prince Charming, sloppy 8th’s for him.
Come to think of it, the Wizard of Oz isn’t much of help either. There is another girl who runs away from her problems, consorts with a dirty old man she finds eating hot dogs and selling false dreams, gets caught in a storm, frightens her family, has hallucinogenic dreams, and finally realizes that home isn’t so bad after all.
If those two weren’t bad enough at screwing up our little psyches, look at Bambi. The poor little deer has to bear losing its mommy and growing up without the motherly wisdom. Thanks Walt Disney for that little life lesson at a tender young age.
All in all, it’s a wonder we aren’t laying in bed with the covers drawn over our heads, sucking our thumbs. The lessons that formed our outlook on fantasies, love and the realities around us showed us that above all, people are out to get us, we are alone from a young age, and if we sleep long enough, we will awake to Prince Charming and a happily ever after. Reality teaches us that with the support of good friends we can get through anything, surrounded by those good friends we are never alone in our journey, and while princes come and go, a true friend is forever.