Two strangers meet on the dance floor. They share a song, falling in love in the process. The next day they get married… or something like that.
Sounds like a typical Vegas shotgun wedding right? Actually, it’s the synopsis of the classic Disney movie Cinderella. At the royal ball, Cinderella and Prince Charming do not even speak to each other; they share a single dance, staring into each other eyes as they waltz through moonlit palace gardens. And then she splits at midnight. The very next morning, he stalker-ishly holds her shoe hostage, tracks her down and pops the question. Poof! ‘Happily ever after’ in under two hours.
To a 5-year-old girl, Cinderella is real life. This is what is going to happen when she grows up: no cheating, no fighting, no illegitimate children. Just love, closely followed by marriage and a baby carriage. With such an idealistic view of the marriage process, it is no wonder that in today’s world, one in two married couples will get divorced. The couples I’m referring to are those of our parents’ generation – the girls who grew up with Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty.
The current divorce rate can, in part, be blamed on Disney; these movies create such a carefree, ‘enchanting’ illusion of marriage that the young girls who watch them grow up expecting nothing less than a prince named Charming who can slay dragons at will.
Our parents were raised with Disney and the ideal that marriage was simple. The princesses never had to fight for their marriage. When marriage is supposed to be perfect with little blue birds that can sing, and mice that know how to sew, why should girls have to?
So where does this leave our generation? Are we going to have the same hopeless fate of the generation before us?
If it were up to Aladdin, the answer would be yes. Aladdin and Jasmine knew each other all of three days before instantly falling in love via a magic carpet and a cute monkey. Apparently three days gallivanting around Agrabah leads to a marriage that ends in happily ever after, and maybe a sequel or two.
Aladdin aside, there is hope for our generation, despite what society has preconceived. Our generation grew up with The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast – two films that broke the typical Disney trend.
Nala and Simba were childhood friends separated during their adolescence. Upon reuniting, they despised each other, but because they were forced to work together in order to win back the pride land, they learned to love each other. Similarly in Beauty and the Beast, Belle and the Beast initially disliked each other. But they learned to love one another over the course of months. Belle was rewarded for her patience and ability to see past Beast’s exterior when he turns out to be a gorgeously toned guy with keys to a castle.
In these cases, people are forced to work at their relationship, so when a problem arises later on in married life, they will be less likely to give up. They have simply worked too hard to see it fail.
Movies like the Lion King and Beauty and the Beast have instilled a better, more realistic standard while still maintaining the classic Disney movie charm.
One of my goals is not to get divorced. I don’t know about you, but I find the 50 percent success statistic sad and slightly pathetic. People are giving up too easily. So either you can get married to Rufus Humphrey, making him lucky number six, or you can understand that happily ever after does exist – you just have to work for it. You can’t just throw your hair out the window in hopes that Prince Charming climbs right on up.
The writer is a freshman majoring in journalism.
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