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What Disney movies have really taught me about being a woman

Growing up, I, as pretty much every girl around my age, loved watching Disney movies. Films with women as main characters who had a voice, were strong-minded and fearless and had a very stubborn curiosity to see new worlds.

It took me years to realise that the Yasmin’s, Megaras and Ariels from our childhood, and the Moanas, Meridas and Elsas from later years were more than just a character behind a screen. That their influence would become the seed behind my current urge to travel.

This is why I blame Disney for the strong, independent and insanely curious woman I am today.

“…and always waiting for the man and the “happily ever after” part of the story”.

Got it all wrong

Anyone that started watching Disney movies from the ’90s on will know what I’m talking about. But, of course, back then, we didn’t see these characters as feminists and travel seekers.

These movies were presented to us as kids films, with girls influenced by the idea that being a Disney princess was a goal. Though not for the crown or title, but so that we would be delicate and dependent and always waiting for the man and the “happily ever after” part of the story.

A fair few years went by between then and the beginning of my travels. And many movies became a part of my subconscious before I realised the person I was becoming was someone I had always seen in these princesses roles. But I had got it all wrong.

“I got out of my comfort zone, experienced a whole new world”

A whole new world

I started travelling solo around the time I was 26. Yes, I started late, but I felt the same thing that everyone did: once you start, it’s very hard to stop.

And so it went on. During the next 5 years, I moved abroad and travelled to many places I’ve only seen in movies.

I got out of my comfort zone, experienced a whole new world and, most importantly, learned to live for myself first while doing the things that bring me joy, like connecting with nature.

About time

Now, I felt it was time to put the pieces together for those 90’s girls that still haven’t figured out. You, that still haven’t discovered the many inspiring ideas that were all wrapped up behind the role of a kid’s movie princess, you want to start watching them again.

Maybe it’s the wave of live-action remakes that has brought back a whole lot of childhood memories lately, the fact that Disney+ came out during lockdown, or because I’m simply getting older. Who knows.

What I do know now, though, is that this need to travel, along with the happiness that came from listening to myself first and trying out new things, is something I had seen already. I saw it way back when I enjoyed watching princesses lead the screen in Disney’s animated movies.

So it’s all Disney’s fault. If I now feel confident enough to do whatever I want, starting over in another country, with a constant urge to discover new worlds, let’s blame them. It’s because I grew up empathising with Disney women who were fearless, defiant, strong and funny.

“Imagine the number of women waking up every day and are now realising that the world is theirs to take? Beautiful!”

Lesson learned

Why did I feel like it was the right time to bring this up? Because for way too long, I saw the role of a princess as a dependent and submissive person, someone who needed a man to do anything, like that was something women should look for, and I hated it for it. Oh, how blind I was.

With absolutely no intention to look back with regret for the years I spent looking at Disney princesses as something unrelated to our life as grown women, I now want to celebrate it.

I want to celebrate the fact that this message is already branded in the mind of every little girl that watched those movies as a kid, which is not a small number.

Can you imagine the number of women waking up every day and are now realising that the world is theirs to take? That they can do whatever they feel like, and discovering new cultures and worlds is such a fascinating experience. One that’s possible and never too late to give it a try.

Imagine all those faces realising today that the secret to their happiness was hidden inside what they thought was an outdated kid’s movie. It’s beautiful! I know I would love to see it, and I hope way more women get to feel it every day.

Now, I want you to find time in your life to start watching some of these oldies again.

As a personal recommendation, start with Pocahontas. I only watched it again years after, and doing it when you’re older and already aware of your love for nature and travelling is such a fascinating experience.

If you haven’t, enjoy Aladdin and Mulan in their live-action or original version. They’re both beautiful, and it still has all the right ingredients to make us dream and travel while we watch it.

Lastly, this is highly related to my love for their soundtrack. But make some time to watch Hercules and Brave. They’re as epic as the times they’re staged in.

Watch our story-inspired video!


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