Disney's got a lot to answer for.
In my childhood I, like all other little girls, watched the Disney movies about the beautiful Princesses who lived happily ever after with their Prince Charming. I was lead to believe that if I just waited quietly in my ivory tower, tried not to eat any poisoned apples, and made sure to leave a shoe behind whenever I left a school disco, then a rich and handsome member of the royal family would come riding in on a white horse and whisk me off to his palace.
Yeah, that ain't happened so far.
But when I really think about it, I'm not entirely sure what any of these old school Disney Princesses did to attract their Prince Charming in the first place! Now, let's be completely clear here, I'm not talking about the new generation of Disney gals. They have spunk, personality and character development, something that I think was missing from the older ladies. I guess prerequisites for being a Princess have changed over the years.
I know a lot of people would disagree with me. "They're classic!", they'd say, horrified by my blasphemy.
Sure, they're classic. So is mysogyny, slavery and polio. Doesn't make them desirable.
I think the point I'm trying to make is that the old Disney Princesses taught us one lesson. Look pretty and don't rock the boat too much, and a good looking rich guy will come along and take care of you. Cinderella might have snuck out to go to the party but after that she just waited around for the Prince to come find her, Snow White actually went and hid with a bunch of dwarfs, and Sleeping Beauty might as well have been a prop as a character in the story!
Personally, I prefer Mulan. Now there's a Disney Princess to emulate. She's outspoken, tactless, and violently dedicated to protecting her family. Even when her life is at risk she still does what she believes is right, and when everyone is telling her that she's wrong and should just pipe down because she's just a girl she metaphorically flips them the bird and breaks into the Emperor's Palace.
Now THAT'S a lesson that we should be teaching our children.