When first pitched this story, the following thoughts came to my head:
“Yes, finally, I can write about Disney movies. My 8-year-old self is so proud.”
“Now that I think about it, there’s tons of subliminal (and very obvious) messages about friendships to pull from.”
“I wonder if I can write about Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen next. 😏“
All conversations inside of my head aside, Disney is the first introduction that many of us have to complicated human emotions and relationships. My first memory of the emotion “sadness” was when Mufasa had his life stomped out of him in The Lion King. Across generations, we all have our favorite films that remind us of early memories as baby vinas, wearing overalls non-ironically and watching movies about talking animals and princesses that slay.
Naturally, now, as a full-fledged adult who is writing about Disney movies, I can see that these iconic films have so much dialogue around how important friendships are.
Here is what I learned about adult female connections:
CINDERELLA: COMMUNITY OVER COMPETITION
Of course, I have a well of thoughts on the pre-Disney Renaissance era (before 1989), especially regarding movies about princesses. However, before I derail us on a long rant about body image and female identity, I will concede and say that Cinderella is the perfect example of how community prevails over competition.
Backstabbing, sabotage and exclusivity are not traits that will lead to any kind of success, regardless of what you see in the office. Don’t make the same mistakes that the evil stepsisters made. Instead, embody the spirit of the fairy godmother and Cinderella’s mouse friends, and make opportunities happen for your fellow vinas. If the shoe doesn’t fit, help another woman find her happily ever after.
BRAVE: MENTORSHIP TO TAP INTO YOUR PEAK POTENTIAL
Generational differences at work or home can be a point of contention or an opportunity to learn. Merida from Brave had to learn the importance of mentorship the hard way. She faced political turmoil and a bunch of men doubting her ability to rule without her mentor – her mother and queen. Merida’s arrogance led to a curse that transformed her only source of guidance into a bear IRL. Of course, Merida got her life together and learned the value of a mentor. Lesson learned: mentors know best!
FROZEN: SISTERLY SUPPORT TO MELT AWAY YOUR IMPOSTER SYNDROME
Let it go, let it go! Yes, I’m talking about imposter syndrome, the ugly curse of self doubt that many women in power like Elsa encounter as they scale up in their careers. Instead of seeing the strengths in our unique set of talents and experiences, we focus on imaginary weaknesses and turn away from vulnerability and support systems. What Anna and Else have taught me about the fear of ruining your kingdom – obvi, a metaphor for your new promotion or passion project – is that you should lean into the support. If you’re frozen in doubt, allow your vinas to show you how much they believe in your ability to save the world.
(Featured image via pinterest.com)