We continue the series with Aurora, the princess which for reasons far beyond me, I completely adore. Even I can admit and see that if we rank all the Disney Princesses in terms of what they actually do, well, Aurora’s pretty useless. I mean, she’s actually pretty useless and there’s a reason the rescuers of the film are the three fairies and Prince Philip. It also makes it clear why the latest live-action adaptation of the film, Maleficent, so heavily focused on the famous villain and deviated a lot from the cartoon at the end. Simply, Aurora is not that interesting. She’s pretty, sings nicely and daydreams. That’s really about it.
Is this really her own fault though? Aurora is very much a victim of her own fate, such as are many young women today who are brought up in environments where they cannot choose their own fates. From their births they are given a specific destiny. I’m sure you must have heard of child brides in other parts of the world. They have very little choice in the matter. Sure, Aurora’s situation is ideal with her being married to a prince, herself being a princess. Even in 14th Century, when the film is set – this by no means leads to a happy ending. With most marriages in the gentry arranged, it would by no means be a romantically outcome between both parties. The age gap between bride and groom could be several decades: indeed today they still might be.
These women were and are at the mercy of the men and families they are a part of. Sadly, many did not and cannot escape. Indeed, it was merely lucky that the young man Aurora falls ‘in love’ with happens to be a decent (or so we see) man who she is luckily already betrothed too. Frozen mirrors this ‘love at first sight’ problem with Anna and Hans, only this time Hans happens to be not the charming prince of her dreams after all. In Brave, Merida battles against her restrictions to be a ‘proper’ princess and changes her fate. Aurora doesn’t get this chance.
In 1959, Aurora’s aspirations for a life a world away from one of restriction as she’s on the cusp of growing up would not have been unusual. They’re not even unusual today. Is it so wrong that her dream is to meet a good man and have a happy life? I don’t think it is. At least she has the chance to. It’s all a little idealistic, but if some of the young children destined to be child brides dream of no more than this and work to achieve just that goal, I hope some of them achieve it. As for young girls with more liberty taking on Aurora as a role model, that’s for their parents to moderate as they wish.
(photo credit: disneylicious.com)