The waves break strongly on the shore while a storm blows its first rays on the beach. With the somber, but determined gesture, he detaches himself from his cape, arranges his ponytail and prepares to walk on a violent sea. In that guise, turned into a daring heroine, we rediscover ourselves Elsa, the icy queen of Frozen. This is the start of the trailer for the highly anticipated sequel, which will hit theaters on November 29 after becoming a Social phenomenon in 2013. There are no talking animals or romantic plots, but epic pure and hard, and the promise of a great adventure. Two minutes that condense an incontestable truth: the Disney princesses are no longer what they were. Elsa and her sister Anna are the outstanding students of a new generation that is rewriting the gender rules. In light years of the submissive and insecure damsels, the new protagonists of the factory are the heroines of their own stories. And it was already time.
Passive and submissive
It has not been a quick or painless revolution. The classic princesses, as Snow White, dawn or Cinderella, they lived on their supernatural beauty, love at first sight (often without saying a word) and being the kindly reverse of their arch-enemies: women older and uglier than them, personified in evil witches or terrible stepmothers. They were so naive, passive and submissive that they could spend the whole movie sleeping or cleaning other people's houses while they waited for the charming prince on shift will rescue them from misery.
They feel that they do not fit with what is expected of them, "says psychologist Eva Campos.
More adventurous, rebellious and modern, the second generation of princesses I returned to more problematic cliches and problematic narratives: Ariel he gave up everything (including his body) for a man he did not know and although Beautiful she gave pumpkins to the alpha male of her town and aspired to a more intellectual life, ended up locked in a castle and in love with her captor.
Since then, each new princess came with a small serial transgression: Jasmine rebelled against the arranged marriage, Mulan he pretended to be a man to enter the army and Pocahontas He gave up the love of his life to govern his people. Merida, the red-haired princess of Brave, did not want to marry, but to be a free and independent woman and Tiana, the first black princess from the factory, he dreamed of opening his own business, a small restaurant.
The power of sorority
In 2010, Rapunzel (an inveterate reader, student of astronomy and self-taught chess player who lived locked in a tower) rewrote the classic story rescuing herself with blows of hair and clean frying pan. And in 2013, Frozen revolutionized the genre by doubling the bet with two sisters, Elsa and Anna, who they challenged the myth of Prince Charming and romantic love ("You can not marry someone you have just met") to give the leading role to fraternal love and to reclaim the power of the sorority.
Vaiana, the last member to join the club, does not dream of getting married either: intelligent and courageous, she wants to be an explorer and save her people from the ecological catastrophe. That's why, everyone asks what stereotype will challenge the most anticipated sequel. A revolutionary theory spread by the fans - but neither denied nor confirmed by the company - says that Elsa could have a relationship with another woman and be the first lesbian princess. The answer, in November.
"All Disney princesses need therapy. Cinderella has to know that her prince charming is a fetishist who has not moved a finger for her. But even Elsa is free: it can not be that, in order not to hurt others, you can not be yourself. It does not only have to do with stereotypes of romantic love", explains the psychologist Eva Campos Navarro, creator of the audioserie Fuck Princesses, in which the female characters They lie on the couch to psychoanalyze their traumas. And there are of all colors.
They have stopped turning around love to put the focus on empowerment.
"Their traumas They are not too different from normal women. Bella is a woman emotionally mistreated and is not aware of it, "Campos explains. And Mulan represents that misunderstood feminism by which to have the same rights as a man you have to become one. All have a common denominator: they feel that they do not fit in what they expect from them. And that is something that women have suffered historically. In the eighteenth century, you had to have a wasp waist and broke your ribs to enter a corset. The tiny foot of Cinderella does not stop being a nod to the impossible canons"says the psychologist.
The impact of these stereotypes, repeated in a loop for decades, is not negligible. In 2016, experts in child development from the British University of Brigham Young, established that Disney princess culture reinforced gender stereotypes between boys and girls from three to five years old. And while that was a positive influence for the boys, it made the girls more vulnerable to problems of self esteem. "They represent the first example of exposure to the ideal of female thinness, which is something we face all our lives, but it starts after three or four years," says Sarah Coyne, principal investigator of the work.
The phenomenon is not the only analysis. An investigation by the American linguists Carmen Fought and Karen Eisenhauer showed that the plots have stopped spinning around the aspect of their protagonists and the ideal of romantic love to put the focus on their empowerment and independence. "It is true that they have represented the stereotype of romantic love, but be careful because we seem to change it for love and the perfect man, we substitute stereotypes for others and the goal is that they do not exist. independent, we fall into the same trap, "warns Eva Campos, who is preparing a season of her audioseries with the princes on the couch.
The North American study threw a more worrisome data: even when they are protagonists, they continue to monopolize the message. And for that, it is not necessary to go back to the classic princesses. The study showed that in Tangled, 76% of the dialogue was pronounced by men; in Frozen, whose two central characters were women, they only spoke 41% of the time.
A Latin princess?
Therefore, it is clear that Still a long way to go. Although Disney, by the hand of the actor, composer and playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda, could be preparing a film with a latina princess, according to the rumors, adding more racial diversity is not the only way to revitalize the genre. There are still many clichés with an expiration date. "I would like one that relies on her friends, with size 40, more than 35 years and higher education. a princess who wants to know the world, not because she is bored, but because she wants to be trained. I would like it to be a real woman who taught the girls that it's good to be the way you are, "says Eva Campos.
The interested ones are bored of so much topic, so much trauma and so much abuse. They showed it in a glorious scene of Ralph breaks the Internet in which they complained in chorus of being poisoned, kidnapped and enslaved, traumatized by broken families and tired of being rescued by a man. The realization that Disney knows the problem and is trying to stop it. Now, the unknown is to know which princess will be responsible for challenging the next taboo. Or if any of them will end with all of a sudden. Soon, on their screens
And now ... what do we do with Cinderella?
They grew up watching The Little Mermaid, dressing up in Cinderella and collecting stickers of Beauty and the Beast. Now, they are mothers and face the dilemma: What movies should your children watch? Are classic princesses toxic? In October, actress Keira Knightley confessed that in her house some classic titles are "forbidden" because they represent outdated and sexist female stereotypes. "Cinderella waits for a rich guy to rescue her, do not do it! Rescue yourself," said the actress, the mother of a four-year-old girl. But psychologist Eva Campos advocates the opposite: "We do not have to revile classic films, but use them as educational material to open debates and awaken their consciences"However, the exercise requires that children are old enough to reflect on the gender roles which represent. "Denying the existence of stereotypes does not vaccinate them, they have to know that they exist and that they are not positive," says Campos.