I recently took my family to see the new Cinderella movie. I applaud Disney for making this movie. Prior to seeing it, I watched Fr. Barron’s video commentary. You can watch it yourself, so I’ll not go into everything Fr. Barron said. Suffice it to say, he helped me see the story from a Christian perspective. For me, it made the movie that much more impressive and inspirational to watch. (If you have not seen the movie, there are a few little spoilers in Fr. Barron’s commentary, but they didn’t bother me).
Disney princesses tend to get a lot of criticism from people that disapprove of their unrealistic representation of girls. Disney makes their waists too thin, their eyes too big and their hair too perfect. These princesses rely too much on being rescued by handsome princes when they ought to be fending for themselves and determining their own destinies. They give girls the wrong idea of what true feminism is, superficially and internally. Some of this criticism is probably justified.
Recently, there were billboards around my city advertising for an all girl Catholic high school. The ads had fairy tale imagery and the message was, “You’re not a princess,” or “Make your own dreams come true.” I understood that the idea being promoted was for girls to get their heads out of the fairy tale clouds, quit waiting to be rescued, stop being the proverbial “fair maidens in distress” and get a practical education. I think the idea certainly has merit. However, I believe girls need not relinquish the title of “Princess,” as long as they know where true royalty comes from.
The Cinderella story (and the movie) focuses on the Catholic virtues of fortitude (courage) and charity (kindness). Other virtues are exemplified within the movie as well. Fr. Barron’s video commentary highlights the Christian salvation theme in the story and how it mirrors the relationship between Christ and His Church. Cinderella is all of us. We do need to be rescued from the slavery of sin which covers our true beauty. We do need to embrace virtue.
As Christians, we are all called to embody fortitude, charity and all the virtues. We know from Romans 8:15 that we are adopted children of God and cry, “Abba, Father.” We know from 1Peter 2:9-10 that we are royalty. We are destined to reign with God on high. As children of The King, what else can we be but princesses and princes?
I have no qualms about referring to my daughter as a princess and my son as a prince, because I am teaching them that they are children of the King. As they grow, they will know that their ultimate destinies lie not with Disney, but with royalty on high. They will know that, long before there ever was a Disney, they were called from above to have courage and to be kind. They will know they have a seat at the royal table.