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Thoughts On: Disney Princesses (And, you know, YA books.)

What? A thoughts on post about something not book related? Nicole, you done gone and lost your marbles now.

But hear me out.

I ADORE Disney movies, especially the classic Disney fairy tales. Stick a Disney logo on it and I'll probably watch it at some point.

And the princesses? Well, they're kind of awesome. (And I'm not talking the "princesses of heart" from Kingdom Hearts because Alice, though awesome, is not a princess. Sorry Alice. I'm talking the officially titled princesses.)

You know the ones I'm talking about. Snow White. Sleeping Beauty. Jasmine from "Aladdin". Mulan. Belle from "Beauty and the Beast". Ariel from "The Little Mermaid". Rapunzel from "Tangled". Cinderella. Pocahontas.

They all get the happy ending with the guy they love.

And you know what? That's GREAT. But it's the way the princesses themselves fall in love that worries me, not their characters or anything. (Note, however, that Disney doesn't have love triangles. Take a lesson, YA writers.) And you can see how this influences YA writing.

Let me explain.

Cursed Love

Sleeping Beauty and Snow White are similar characters - cheery, singing, animal friends, trapped in a house, evil witch after them, both end up poisoned and asleep only to be woken by true love's kiss.

I've never read a version of this in YA that hasn't been an adaption of some sort of the original tale, but even if I did, you know what? I wouldn't mind. The great thing about it being a curse that's only waken by true love's kiss is that if it is the man who truly loves you (or will love you) that kisses you, I find it perfectly acceptable to go off and fall in love with him and marry him right away. I can't really argue with that.

Reverse Obsessive Love
Or The Good Girl And The Bad Boy Fall In Love

First off, if you need a definition for obsessive love, go read Beth Revis' amazing post about obsessive love and the character of Severus Snape. It's fantastic.

Both Belle and Jasmine are similar in that they dream of adventure, but besides that, they don't have much in common: Belle's a bit of a book worm; Jasmine is a princess with a pet tiger. Both, however, end up falling in love - at least, by the end of the story - with a guy who is obsessed with them instead of them being obsessed with him.

The Beast is obsessed with Belle, not because he's in love with her - not right away - but because he needs her to break his curse. Aladdin has no such excuse and, thus, the instantaneous love he feels for Jasmine is his only character flaw. (Let's face it; besides that, he's awesome.) Of course, by the end of their stories, both characters have been put through such trials that it doesn't feel like obsessive love any more, at least not on the part of the boys, and the girls have also fallen in love with their counterparts.

This also applies to Cinderella, but without the bad boy thing.

We don't see reverse obsessive love often in YA, I think - normally, it's the girls obsessing over the boys or mutual obsessive love - and even if it's there, unlike in the Disney stories they never seem to get past that state of obsessive love. (Shhh. Don't tell me it's still obsessive love in the Disney stories. I don't want to hear it. Hehe.)

Fought For Love
In which yes, I include Rapunzel.

With the exception of Belle, all of my favorite Disney princesses fall under this category. And it's not just because they're all badasses. (Okay, maybe it is.)

But their stories, when it comes to the love, are probably the most believable. All of them get to know the guys before they fall in love - even if, in Pocahontas, it happens quicker than I would like - and they usually fall in love rather unwillingly. It's not a happy romance; it's a romance that they get into knowing that they'll probably get hurt and, in the case of Pocahontas, it doesn't even get a happy ending.

I want to see more YA like this. Less obsessive love and more like this.

Obsessive Love
Or, my annoyance with Ariel.

Ariel is a lot of my friend's favorite princess. She's spunky; like Jasmine and Belle, she longs to explore and be somewhere she's not. And she's a red head!

But unlike Jasmine and Belle, when it comes to love, she's a bit of a moron.

Part of her falls under the concept of "love at first sight," which is a concept I loathe. Don't get me wrong - I get instant attraction and the instant feeling that you're going to love someone. That this is "the one."

But Ariel takes that a step further to where most paranormal romances are right now, minus the love triangle. She gives up everything for a man she hasn't even talked to. Yes, part of it is her longing to live on the shore, but that's just an added bonus for this girl - the big thing is getting the guy.

"The Little Mermaid" is one of my favorite Broadway musical adaptions; I love almost all of the side characters; Ursula is one of my favorite villains. (Though Malificent always takes the top rung. She can turn into a freaking DRAGON.)

I don't care if you adore Ariel or not. You have to admit that making a bargain with a sea witch to give up your voice and, if you don't succeed, dying - well, you're kind of a moron. Or obsessed.

And Prince Eric, you're not so hot yourself when it comes to your brains. You're obsessed with her voice. HER VOICE. You haven't even seen her and you, too, have fallen into obsessive love.

Wait. Two people falling into obsessive love and the girl gives up everything to be with the guy, despite the obvious dangers? This story sounds familiar...

I'm not saying all of these stories are bad. Some I like a lot. (The Iron King, The Goddess Test.) And these are just the paranormal examples of things I've reviewed. I'm not including non-paranormal stories or stories I know have similar plots but I haven't reviewed.

I'm not saying the romance necessarily stays like this - in some of the series, it develops from the obsessive love. I'm just saying they fall under this category.

And I'm not saying that writing obsessive love is bad - like Beth Revis said in her post, I feel like yes, that's the way a lot of people fall in love when they're teens, so in YA novels, it's kind of expected to show that.

But I, personally, would rather read about fought for love, or a cursed love, or even a reverse obsessive love than a mutually or girl-sided obsessive love.

What about you?

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