Many of us love a classic Disney Princess movie.
From Walt’s original princess, Snow White, to Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle and beyond, the idea that two people meet, fall in love, and live happily ever after is strong in Disney movies — and the fairytales many of them are based on.
But is believing in the fairytales harmful? Some scientists say so. Researchers at the University of Exeter have come to the conclusion that the “Disneyfied protrayals of love” many children are exposed to can cause them to form unhealthy ideas of what a good relationship looks like.
After surveying teens and relationship counselors, the researchers decided that children need to be taught that relationships require work and don’t “just happen.”
“While young people’s families were seen as the primary source of learning about healthy relationships, there was clear support for schools’ role to augment this, as not all families exhibit healthy relationships,” said Dr. Jan Ewing, one of the researchers who conducted the study. “Relationship professionals thought … that schools had a critical role in teaching and embedding critical skills around initiating and maintaining a healthy relationship.”
The researchers said that teaching students that relationships require work is a public health matter, and pointed out that problem relationships are associated with problems such as alcohol misuse, obesity, poor mental health, and child poverty.
What do you think? Do “Disneyfied” portrayals of love affect children negatively? Let us know in the comments below!
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Belle’s not really a good example of this — her relationship took a LOT of work. We’re shown her and Beast taking months to just learn to get along. The others in the article, sure; though it is lightly implied that Snow White and her prince had been meeting in secret for some time, we don’t actually see them work through any problems.
I think that without guidance from parents, this could be an issue. However, I believe with the guidance of their parents, children can learn to appreciate the sweet fairy tales and understand that that’s just what those stories are–fairy tales. And that through the example of mom and dad, the children can see that relationships do take work.
The Recluse says
Enchanted is another example that breaks the usual format, so is Tangled up to a point.
I’m sorry, I think all the reality tv kids watch that has made relationships into weekly drama are WAY more harmful then fairytales that show people being with one person and not “playing the field”
I was a children’s librarian. These are fairytales. Kids also read YA books and novels which depict real world issues and relationships. The key is age appropriate materials. They also read comic books and graphic novels and see Marvel.movieswhich frequently depict adult relationships which require work (See Tony Stark.and Pepper Potts). I suspect romance novels are more likely to support unrealistic views of love, particularly the Inspirational ones.
Honestly? These researchers need lives.
Mike Certain says
Belle and Beast, Mulan and Li Shang, Pocahontas and John Smith, Anna and Kristof, Rapunzel and Flynn Rider, Tiana and Prince Naveen, Jasmine and Aladdin, Lady and the Tramp, Simba and Nala, the list goes on and on. Geez, you would think the researcher could find something more important to look into.
They are fairytales! Oh Brother!!! Just let it be what it is!! Always an expert in this or that being critical of this or that. Just leave it alone! So many ridiculous people with ridiculous notions. Here’s an idea, let the parents raise their children. Wait! What did I just say!? Let parents raise their children!? That’s absurd! I have 4 kids who grew up on Disney stories, fantasies, and theme parks. None of them were misguided or damaged emotionally due to them enjoying the fairytales of Disney characters as they grew! This is so laughable!!!!!!