By Emily Williams, Features Editor
Recently, a very brave barista at Gigabytes attempted to guess who my favorite Disney princess was. As he mulled over the options out loud while constructing my usual for a Thursday morning, none other than a piping hot 12 oz. mocha, I grew eager to hear his guess. “Ariel.” No. “Snow White.” Nope. “Sleeping Beauty.” Not quite. As his confidence dwindled and he handed me my steaming cup of kryptonite for the morning, I smiled and let him off the hook. “Belle,” I told him. He nodded and smiled and I went on my way with my coffee.
But as I walked on to my 9:30 class, I began to question my answer. Was Belle really my favorite Disney princess? Had I given this enough thought? What was it about Belle that made her my favorite princess? So many questions began to run through my mind but one lingered on: Why are we taught, from a very young age, to admire and adore these characters? What is it inside of us that wants to be smart and strong and beautiful like princesses such as Cinderella, Ariel and Belle? Or strong and brave and handsome, like Prince Eric or Prince Charming? As silly as it was, I contemplated this for the entirety of my trek to class and even a little as I sat down for lecture.
Belle obviously models several characteristics that I admire, if I claim she is my favorite Disney princess. She is intelligent, loyal, honest, trustworthy, beautiful and strong. All of the things that I strive to be but don’t always live up to. Wouldn’t you say the same thing goes for you, assuming you have a favorite Disney princess/prince? Don’t we love to idolize the characters that mirror those qualities we strive to have?
Life is no fairytale. But I would be silly if I assumed this was news to you. Of course, we want to be intelligent, loyal, honest, trustworthy, beautiful and strong. I don’t know many people who don’t want to be those things or to hold some other set of positive attributes. But could it be that our focus has been misplaced? We all have the capacity to be these things. We all have the ability to work hard at what we do, stick up for a friend, do the right thing even when it’s harder or takes up more time. Or maybe it’s something as simple as whistling while you work and having a better attitude about the responsibilities that have been placed in front of you.
But one thing is for sure: Disney princesses and princes are nothing compared to the power and influence you possess inside of you. You pass people on campus every day whose hearts may be broken, who may be in need of a friend or who need to be rescued. And guess what? You have the power to be that for them. To be a friend and a hero and a confidant. So I encourage you to be the magic that someone else needs in this world. Shine a light and spread some cheer. You may just become someone’s favorite Disney character.