TV and Movies

Disney Loves Single Parenthood and Princesses Who Make Piss Poor Decisions

I am a Disney fan, and I grew up watching all the cartoons like so many others did. Disney is basically an institution that’s wrapped all up through my childhood memories but when one thinks about their movies, you’ll realize that they aren’t all honky dory.

Disney movies are ALWAYS about some major loss of a loved one. ALLATAHM. The central character of every Disney film or cartoon always suffers a loss that’s super close to them and life-altering. And most of this loss involves the character’s parent. The instances where a character has a mother, odds are there’s no daddy. There are VERY few Disney films where the main character has a complete nuclear family. Disney is the reason for single parenthood.

Disney killed Bambi‘s mama, Simba‘s Daddy, Cinderella‘s parents, Snow White‘s foster parents, Cruella‘s edges, etc. Ok I’m pretty sure Snow White didn’t have foster parents, but you get me. They stay slaying loved ones in their films. I guess Disney’s tryna tell kids “Life ain’t no crystal stair.” These emotional films of theirs stay having us in our feelings. You can barely watch one of their films without looking like this:

I don’t know why but Disney doesn’t love having mothers in their stories. In fact, methinks that the absence of mamas in their tales allow their main characters to make these piss poor decisions they’re known for. The lack of a female figure to look up to is central in some of the tragedy of these stories so I guess I get it. Mothers have a special way of snatching our wigs into better decision-making. No shade to fathers. You’re also important. There’s a REALLY good post on Suite101 about dead and missing parents in Disney flicks and what it could mean. You should read it.

Most of the Disney princesses were motherless too, including Jasmine, Belle, Snow White, Pocahontas, Ariel, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty. Maybe if they did have some strong lady role models, they’d know better than to make some of the choices they did.

I love the ladies but they were more flawed than scratched glass. Let us go through each one and see why they were basic.

Ariel (The Little Mermaid) – My girl gave up her voice so she could have legs so she could pursue Eric. Desperate, much??? Girl, he ain’t e’em worth all of that. And her voice was beautiful. She coulda went on “American Idol,” got famous and got a man who could pay for her fins to be turned to legs. I’m just saying. There are other ways!

Jasmine (Aladdin) – A whole princess who marries a thief whose only possessions are a flying carpet and a sassy monkey. Girl, I guess. You are TOO FAHN to settle for such rubbish. Yes, I know Aladdin’s hair was thick and luxurious and he had a 6-pack but there are others! Besides, the carpet ain’t e’em have no seat belts. Folks out here risking life for love.

Pocahontas – She slept with John Smith, the man who brought small pox and oppression to her tribe. Ok girl. I hope it was at least good. O___o John Smith wasn’t e’em all that cute for you to sell out your people over him.

Disney Princess Problems

Belle (Beauty and the Beast) – This victim of Stockholm Syndrome fell in love with the man who tried to kill her daddy and kidnapped her. What made her heart flutter for him? He gave her the key to this damb library. GIRL NAWL! I’m a lover of books as much as the next person but that was just some simple ish. Oh Belle… wrote a piece that talks about this called “5 Romantic Movie Gestures That Were Actually Dick Moves.”

Snow White – Methinks she was hallucinating those dwarfs. If I was stuck in the woods by myself, I’d think up 7 friends too. If Tom Hanks could have a BFF volleyball named “Wilson” then Snow White can certainly imagine 7 vertically-challenged beings living with her. I ain’t mad. The brain has many coping mechanisms.

Cinderella – Her prince clearly had a foot fetish. And, if I drop my glass shoe, I’m going back for it. DAMBNAT! They’da seen me in the palace in rags at 12:02am, holding a glass shoe and talmbout “Yeah I had to come back for this. IT’S TOO FIERCE TO LET GO!” Besides, if she danced with this prince all night, why doesn’t he remember her face? Did her fancy up-do REALLY serve as a mask? Lemme find out some Fairy Godmother-designed threads shroud your face. If I’m your true love, you better remember doing the wop with me for hours!

Sleeping Beauty – This poor child was in the predicament by no fault of her own. She got killed by an evil witch and the only thing that brought her back to life was when a random dude stuck his tongue down her throat.

Mulan isn’t on this list because she seems to be the anti-Disney princess. She got her mama, daddy, granny and cricket to help her with her daily life. AND she was probably the one who made the least bad decisions. In fact, she was a G! Homegirl went to war to save her daddy and her country. Go’n ‘head, MU!

And Rapunzel, Rapunzel let down your lacefront!

So yes, these motherless children made some epically bad decisions all in the name of love and other random themes. But the lack of moms in Disney movies is definitely obvious. Was Walt Disney working through some feelings? I sure do wonder.

But then again, I know a lot of Disney films are based on old fairy tales and orphans are common in them, and so are huge tragedies. And at least they clean up some of the endings. In the original story of “The Little Mermaid” apparently, Ariel dies and Prince Eric marries someone else. OOP. WELP.

I still love Disney though, for the memories, in spite of the fact that they’re racist, sexist and anti-mothers. They do epic movies that tug at your heart strings and leave your eyes sweating as if your pupils ran a marathon. But did they have to kill Nemo’s mama like that? Dang.

Anywho, what Disney princess do you think made the poorest decisions?

Edit: I didn’t include Princess Tiana in this because I only remember a little of that story (and have seen it once).

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  1. sasha
    May 14, 2012 at 7:36 am

    Mulan’s not a princess so she’s allowed to be a badass and her family is allowed to remain in tact. The moral is “don’t go chasing after princes if you wanna keep your momma”

    • May 14, 2012 at 6:02 pm

      LOLLL they are boy crazy. All of em but Mulan said NAWL! I like her.

  2. Serenity
    May 14, 2012 at 8:51 am

    I cannot watch Disney movies. Too damn sad. I saw the Lion King and was so distraught over Mufasa (sp?) getting killed, I straight lost it in the theater. Maybe it was PMS, I can’t say. This little boy in front of me turned around and said, “You do know this is a movie right? It ain’t real. Get a hold of yourself.” I’m done.

    • May 14, 2012 at 6:03 pm

      LMAO you had a little kid side-eyeing you? WELP. But yeah, they are sad dinnamug. Leaving you all verklempt.

    • Duchess
      May 14, 2012 at 9:43 pm

      My uncle took me to see the “Lion King” a week or two after my father died. I was 8.

      • latebut
        August 20, 2012 at 10:43 am

        I went to Jesus on THIS post. dead and gone. Your uncle needs his ass beat

  3. Aperson
    May 14, 2012 at 9:16 am

    You forgot about the black princess Tiana. Yea she was parentless, yea her white friend did better than her, yea she was reduced to an amphibian…wait what was my point…Oh yes that it wasn’t only about love and beauty, she actually got a chance to work hard to realize her own dreams. I think Disney got the message somewhat by the time it got to that movie.

    • May 14, 2012 at 9:29 am

      Princess Tiana had a mom, her dad was dead though.

    • May 14, 2012 at 6:04 pm

      Ya know, I did kinda forget about Princess Tiana. It might be because “Princess and the Frog” is the only one I’ve seen once. I’m not too familiar with it. I need to rewatch it.

      I also think they half-assed that film but that’s another discussion for another day.

    • Erica
      January 14, 2015 at 8:51 pm

      Well Disney princess films are finally catching up with society’s views on why the delicate vulnerable female protagonist are incredibly sexist stereotypes, look at Brave and Frozen it’s a new trend.
      As for the Disney stories what really scares me isn’t just the girls make poor decisions it’s that they have totally unrealistic happy endings. If these princesses lived in the real world they would end up in terrible probably abusive realationships.

  4. Roxie
    May 14, 2012 at 9:19 am

    What about Rapunzel and Tiana?
    Also, Sleeping Beauty (Aurora) did have a mother. She was the queen in the kingdom.

    • May 14, 2012 at 6:04 pm

      Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your lacefront! Yeah I did forget about her.

      • Stace
        June 15, 2012 at 10:48 am

        Rapunzel’s mamma had to give up her baby to the witch because she was GREEDY …WELP! The witch ho lived next door had some tempting fruit in her garden and she just had to have it . And thee said witch snatched up this couples baby as punishment for the theft her raises it as her own…can we say Ann Petteway..

        Damn Luvvie, you went deep on this, opened a sistah’s eyes to some ish…

  5. May 14, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    As a Disney stan, the psychological aspects of Disney films (particularly parenthood) has always intrigued me. Of course there was talk/rumors that Walt Disney’s motherless films having to do with the death of his mother. Which… it’s basically what all artists do. Same with Steven Spielberg always having that lack of father theme in his films.

    But with Disney in particular, I think that may have been an urban legend since he would put these themes into practice BEFORE his mother’s death… and like you said that pretty much all the classics were based off of a story that has already been told (with The Lion King being less obvious… but it’s definitely a retelling of Macbeth lol).

    • May 14, 2012 at 6:05 pm

      YES CHEEKSTER!! As you lay down the Disney knowledge.

    • Duchess
      May 14, 2012 at 9:41 pm

      The Lion King is based off on Hamlet.

      • Duchess
        May 14, 2012 at 9:41 pm


      • Cheekie
        May 17, 2012 at 3:52 pm

        LOL yeah it has been told to have similarities to both (and you’re right, it’s probably more Hamlet), but I guess I was focusing on Scar being similar to MacBeth since he was jealous of his brother, the king. And killed him.

    • AwaysThinking
      August 6, 2012 at 1:31 pm

      Here comes the conspiracy theory…

      I’ve read that Disney films are very well put together as in displaying and sending a specific message. Back in the cold war days they used Disney cartoons to push propaganda and get people to pay their income taxes to help fund the war and it worked wonders. It worked so well that the Nazi’s consulted with Disney to use their techniques.

      Disney presents the broken home too may times to count. The children (young ladies specificly) are their targets to push negative views on sister hood and the reliance on positive female mentors/mother figures. These characters rely on animals, witches, faries, dwarfs etc… to help them through life. If you have noticed the sisters of these Disney characters are always evil, conniving and untrustworthy. A man is always the savior and the one to be dependant on. These ladies have no mind of their own and put their trust in a man they barely know. They have no will power and are extremely niave and kind of loose (if you know what I mean).

      Isn’t it wierd that Disney pushes this Monarchy on us?… We have no roalty, no castles, no crowns. So what do we do to fill that void we look up the people who reflect this kind of lifestyle. Who are these people?… Celebrities. They do what they want when they want. They are admired, loved and mimicked, they can get us to do whatever they want.

      I said all that to say this…
      Women as a whole are very powerful. We create life and are the back bone to every family. If you have an agenda the best way to get it ingrained in your target is to get them in their youth. Children are susceptible to anyting, as long as they are entertained they ask no questions.

  6. Tish
    May 14, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    I think Ariel was a fool. Loose your voice just to walk? Nah boo…seems like she was able to swim faster anyways..stick with what YOU KNOW. and plus she got to live in the ocean and have cool lobster, crab and fish friends. I mean she can totally hold her breath for hours on that is a record to be proud of!


    • May 14, 2012 at 6:05 pm

      Ariel was a GOODT fool. Sacrificing everything for some dude who just thought she was pretty. Girl NAWL!!!

  7. May 14, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    I learned more about Disney Princesses than I ever knew. I didn’t grow up watching the Disney princess films. Your post makes me wonder if my momma knew something I didnt. I watched The Little Mermaid and Lion King in college because the soundtracks were good.

    Why didn’t you mention Tiana–the black one? I haven’t seen the film, but I’m hoping her story wasn’t as tragic.

    • easyBlake
      May 14, 2012 at 5:32 pm

      Tiana lost her dad, worked hard, played hardly , & married a dude with no job who wanted to be in the music biz.

      • IfYouEverComeBack
        May 14, 2012 at 7:37 pm

        Hey, he was a prince he didn’t need a job. besides he taught her how to play and she taught him how to work. I liked her, she had spunk.

      • Stace
        June 15, 2012 at 10:50 am

        Sounds like a lot of dudes I know. Mooching off established sista’s and stay up in the studio!! LOL..

    • May 14, 2012 at 6:06 pm

      Your mama protected you from them. Tiana spent most of the movie as a frog. Meh.

      • IfYouEverComeBack
        May 14, 2012 at 7:38 pm

        Yes she did, but what I liked about that movie was that he fell in love with her because of her spirit not her beauty.

  8. Dee
    May 14, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    A few years ago, in a Marketing course, my class discussed the marketing ingenuity of Walt Disney films – more especially main characters living in a single parent environment. The class came to several different conclusions on how these disadvantages equal dollar signs for Walt Disney and Pixar.

  9. Manda
    May 14, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    It’s hard out there for a princess…

  10. May 14, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    My sister and I were discussing the fact that the Lion King movies are based off of Shakespeare’s plays. The first Lion King movie being based off of Hamlet, Lion King 2 is based off of Romeo & Juliet, and the Lion King 1 1/2 movie is based off of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (which isn’t a Shakespeare play, but involves the characters from Hamlet). If ANYONE knows tragedy, it’s

    • Dinasty
      May 17, 2012 at 6:11 am

      YES! Give us that Shakespearean breakdown. Man, you just took me through a refresher of some of my lit classes.

  11. Nikki
    May 14, 2012 at 10:39 pm


    I simply CANNOT with you!!

    *leaps off ground floor patio*

  12. taurean
    May 15, 2012 at 1:03 am

    Tatiana was the only one who worked toward her dream and the only reason she kissed the frog was to get money because those bankers were selling the space to someone else and destroying her dream. The price fell in love with her because of her personally and was going to marry someone rich so he could fulfill his promise. I LOVE that story.

    • mochazina
      May 17, 2012 at 10:34 am

      TATIANA!!!! LOL

  13. Gee
    May 15, 2012 at 6:07 am

    By the time they had gotten to us, Tiana got the short straw, and non sparkly crown ( I am still salty over that one, but like you say, “..for another day” They all (except Mulan who was original G) had to “give it up” to fulfill their dreams…sad.

  14. Tony, aka Linus
    May 15, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Whats good “left-eye”? I need you to know you have issues and waaaaay to much time on your hand to think of these topics. But hell I’m really no better cuz I read your insanity on a regular basis.

    I agree there is usually a lack of one parent in most Disney films. But the point should be there is still one parent who offers no good advice or clear direction. There is more of a lack of good parenting.

  15. May 15, 2012 at 4:47 pm
    • Cheekie
      May 17, 2012 at 3:56 pm

      I loathe you so much I love you.

  16. Mrs. Reed
    September 15, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    The real story behind sleeping beauty is the witch cursed her and she touched the spinning wheel and slept for 100 years. A hunter had intercourse with her sleeping body. She got pregnant and had twins…while sleep. The boy twin was sucking on her thumb and sucked the splinter out. She woke up. The rapist hunter came back and saw she was awake. His wife found out about it and hired someone to kill sleeping beauty and the twins. The hunter killed her instead and married sleeping beauty.

  17. Star
    April 18, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Actually in the disney version of Sleeping Beauty (not the original) both of her parents are still alive and together, she just has to go live with fairies for 16 years. And as a previous poster mention both of Milan’s parents were alive and together and as another Previous poster said in Tangled Rapunzel’s parents are both alive and together she is just kidnapped from a which. Also in the Incredibles the parents are together and alive. In the sequels of the lion king and the little mermaid the original main characters (Simba and Nala in LK and Ariel and prince Eric in LM) are parents that are married and alive. Hercules is orphaned because he is turned mortal but his parents are still together and not dead, his adoptive parents are a barren married couple. And at the end of ‘The Aristocats’ Ditches and O’Malley wind up together and it is implanted that they are starting a blended family together.

    Also Bageera, one of Mowglie’s animal guardian’s, is a Black panther not a tiger. There was a tiger in the story named Sher Kahn but he was trying to kill Mowglie, and possibly is the one who killed his birth parents. Mowglie’s original adopted parents were wolves that had a mom and dad that were alive and together.

    • Star
      April 18, 2013 at 9:04 pm

      Oops I made some errors because of the stupid auto correct on my phone:

      *Rapuzel was kidnaped by a witch; not “from the which”

      * Duchess and O’Malley; not “Ditchess”

  18. […] movies and I love talking and writing about them (see my posts on Disney Music is Everything and Disney Loves Single Parenthood and Princesses Who Make Piss Poor Decisions). And just because I’m a fan of them doesn’t mean I think they’re perfect. In […]

  19. jgalyn
    June 17, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    I had never made the connection between The Lion King and Hamlet until now. As an English teacher, I am ashamed.

    But it should also be mentioned that Milan is an adaptation of the novel “The Woman Warrior” by Maxine Hong Kingston.

    Now that my wheels are spinning, I’m wondering if the Disney empire has been indoctrinating us with the same messages from the 1950s that propagated the belief that women were not supposed to have minds of their own. And a woman who was heard instead of merely seen was considered not only unattractive, but dangerous. Each of these princesses is, in effect, evidence that women cannot think for themselves and therefore must be rescued by a man. Happily ever after can exist if and only if a man saves the day.

    Now, I have the sads.

    • 00
      April 29, 2014 at 12:17 pm

      I m one hundred percent convinced that the origin of Mulan is not adapted from “The Woman Warrior” but actually based on “the Ballad of Mulan”, an ancient Chinese long poem written in Northern Wei dynasty. It’s a poem I m familiar with at a young age and even now able to recite some of stanzas because it’s a requirement in Chinese class.
      In the Ballad of Mulan, the plot is similar with the film in which a girl disguising herself as a brave solider to protect her country for the sake of his father. Just in the original story there is no exist of the character “Li Shang” or scrapes about her romance, not mention the details of her success either. In the end of the poem, Mulan was highly praised by the Emperor because of her remarkable battle achievement, but she refuse all the glory and only wish to go back home and take care of her family.

  20. kingbaal
    June 28, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    ok just an fyi pocahontas is based off of an actual native american princess who was givin as a gift to john smith by her father. YOUR GRAMMAR IS SHIT SERIOUSLY MY FIVE YEAR OLD COUSIN HAS BETTER GRAMMAR THAN YOU AND HE HASNT EVEN STARTED SCHOOL!!!!

  21. June 6, 2014 at 4:38 am

    […] Disney Loves Single Parenthood and Princesses Who Make Piss Poor Decisions –… […]

  22. M
    April 26, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    I think Disney, and most other books, movies, etc., have so many single parent families, and orphans is because they are marketed at children. You never see the parents in Peanuts, in Harry Potter most of the other children have parents, but they are not with them. Most superheroes have also lost at least on parent.
    Also if the movies had more parents, the characters would have someone to talk to about the problems presented to them in the movie so their would be no story. Theses characters are forced to grow up faster than if they had one or both.

    Jasmine – Aladdin stole to eat because his parents are dead and no body wants to hire an orphan. She didn’t need someone who had a bunch of things because she is a princess. She fell in love with him because she knows he understands what it is like to be trapped because of who you are. He also saved her and her father, so that kinda out weighs being a broke their who owns nothing.

    Pocahontas – She was a real person who did not end up with John Smith in real life or the movie. Even if she slept with him that doesn’t make her less of a person. Slut shaming is a big issue because it just makes women divided instead of standing together.
    I loved the message that it doesn’t matter what color, or country a person comes from because we are the same on the inside.

    Cinderella – She couldn’t go back to get her shoe, she was to worried her stepmother would find out she had been at the ball. Also Cinderella’s family was at the ball and they couldn’t recognize her, so it was probably some type of magic.

    Sleeping Beauty – The guy that kissed her wasn’t a random person. She was engaged to him from birth, and met him in the forest before she knew she was a princess.

    I have read that after buying a house for his parents and replacing the furnace his mother died of asphyxiation from the fumes. So maybe he felt sad about his mother.

    I’ve also heard that the leave out the parents or only have one because it cuts done on production costs in animated films, and that is one less actor to hire if the movie uses real humans.

    I feel like killing Nemo’s mother was actually a crucial part of the story. Before her death Marlin (I think that’s the dad’s name) becomes very over protective, and that is a large part of the movie. Do you think if Nemo’s mom was alive that he would have noticed if one of his kids were missing? Did you see the thousands of his siblings in the hole?

    I do not think that Disney is anti-mothers or anti-family at least no more than any other children’s stories throughout history.