A lot of people are always saying how the Disney princesses set unrealistic standards. They have tiny waists, great singing voices and a general positive attitude (Snow White, you and your singing to birds is CREEPY, alright?) That being said, what about the guys in Disney movies? The guys who are supposed to save everyone, or....you know what, just the guy characters in GENERAL. How are they? Do they set realistic expectations for the men? Let's have a look.
1) Beauty and the Beast
There's a few characters in Beauty and the Beast who deserve our attention. First, there's Gaston.
He supposedly to eat something like two dozen eggs, right? First of all, ew. Secondly, EW. That is not good for you! Yes it's likely a joke, but it's also them saying that you need protein to get lots of muscle. Even the biggest skeptic can't deny Gaston has muscles. One of the biggest is in his head. He's the villain yes, but that doesn't change the fact he's an influential character in the movie. He's strong, wants to 'get the girl' and he is also undeniably VIOLENT. Villain yes, good example no. So let's look at the better characters in Beauty and the Beast.
Prince Adam, better known as the Beast. He changes back to his normal appearance quite dramatically after Belle finds out she loves him. He's shy and kind once you get over the fact he locked a girl in his castle...WAIT WE SHOULDN'T BE OVER THAT. That isn't even the main concern though. He goes from a hairy monster (wait a sec what kind of message for body positivity is that sending) to a remarkably seemingly hairless guy. Seriously, this dude doesn't even have a moustache or goatee after being a Beast that long? Maybe he was caught in a puberty like stasis where he didn't need to shave? He's a rich guy, so what kind of message does that send? That aside, the movie ends soon after his transformation so we really don't get to know how Prince Adam behaves.
Crazy old Maurice. That isn't me laying judgment this time, it is an actual quote from the movie. Gaston calls him 'crazy old Maurice.' Belle's father is seen as crazy and a little off his rocker by most in the town. That's right: the genius inventor is seen as crazy. Is Disney sending the message that guys shouldn't be smart? Is it their reasoning for Belle's interest in books instead of boys? It certainly isn't them being indicative of the time period because nothing ELSE is saying that in the movie. As a father, he undeniably loves his daughter and would do anything for her. That being said, he's a bit of an absent minded father. He's pretty good though.
The Prince Charming from Cinderella is the most boring character alive, I swear. That is me trying to be kind. This is the guy the step-sisters have been lusting after for pretty much the whole movie. He's the reason Cinderella fought to go to the ball. Yet after falling in love with a girl at a party where he danced with her, he searches the entire kingdom. If this happened in real life, there would be a LOT more frat guys who would be married. That isn't even the worst part though. After falling in love with Cinderella, he can't even remember her face enough to find her afterwards. He's combing the kingdom going only by her shoe size! Heaven help us if someone else had had the same size shoe as Cinderella. Girl probably could've been a brunette and the guy wouldn't have guessed she wasn't Cinderella. Not too bright. Oh, and just like Prince Adam, Prince Charming is rich. Wonder what that's promoting.
3) The Little Mermaid
Ah, Prince Eric. Why do all these guys have to be princes to actually snag the girl, anyways? All rich. Go figure. Anyways, Prince Eric seems to genuinely be a nice guy, so that's a redeeming factor. He falls in love with the girl who saves his life, so he has an actual reason for falling in love with her. His vision wasn't clear, so he couldn't see her. Of course, he takes the voiceless Ariel into his home despite her being absolutely clueless. When he hears her voice from Ursula's seashell he thinks he had the wrong girl and dumps her pretty much immediately. For all he knows, Ariel's homeless. That's kind of a jerky move, but hey he probably shouldn't have taken a complete stranger into his home that fast anyways. He probably shouldn't have been ready to marry Ursula so fast either, but considering the other princesses we can't really fault him TOO much for that one, can we? Eric isn't totally muscle-bound, but he IS fit. Plus, he has dark hair and blue eyes, which I'm pretty sure are a rare combination.
King Triton is old enough his hair is white (although that could be due to his bratty teenage daughters it isn't really clear,) yet he still has all those muscles. He looks like he probably has a six pack. Don't even get me started on the fact he DEFINITELY skipped leg-day....oh wait no that one was pretty obvious never mind. He's related to the god of the sea though so perhaps that's the reason for his body? That being said, he wants his daughter to stay home and stop collecting the human stuff. It seems a little narrow-minded, but then perhaps Ariel had a hoarding problem before the movie? I haven't watched the prequel so I wouldn't know. What it does bring up is how men are supposed to act when they're fathers. He's controlling, but gives the impression he knows little about what he's supposed to do. I'm not a pro on parenting by any stretch of the imagination. Perhaps he's letting his kingly attitude help him figure out how to parent? I did appreciate the fact they made an older man able to deal with a teenage daughter. He's clueless, but it's nice to have some representation for those with older fathers, or those raised by their grandparents.
4) Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
This prince is so nondescript that I didn't even know his name without a Google search. Apparently his name is Ferdinand. Who would've guessed? There's honestly not much to criticize because very little is known about him. He's fit, tall, rich, and of course caucasian like everyone so far.
In Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, the dwarves are the interesting part where we're concerned. Their names are Doc, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy, Dopey and Grumpy. Let's not even talk about the fact that naming someone after characteristics like that is borderline mean. The only short guys in the Disney universe are the dwarves. They share a house with Snow White, and while they are very kind souls, they are never seen as possible guys for Snow White to end up with. Perhaps that's just as well considering they all have white beards. That being said, their names being their main characteristic is still odd. Interesting how they're all still caucasian. People keep saying the Oscars are white-washed ought to look at a Disney film.
There are some redeeming qualities, and some redeeming movies. That being said, Disney films aren't just influencing girls, but boys also. They are also influencing what girls THINK of boys. Not everyone is tall, caucasian and rich. Many boys are also smart. Those are all qualities we need to be encouraging.
What's your favourite Disney movie? Can you see any of the unrealistic male expectations I've pointed out in the characters of your favourite? Tell me in the comments I'd love to hear from you!