Again, another Disney film without a single person of color.
Largest problem with Sleeping Beauty aside from the lack of diversity: the awakening of Aurora through a true love’s kiss. Because men hold the key to everything, yes? Also there is a large amount of heteronormativity at play. As a baby, when the curse is softened by a good fairy from death to sleep, the good fairies and the king and queen assume the kiss will be from a man? Yuck.
My second largest problem is that Aurora, our princess, literally does nothing but sing, be pretty, talk about falling in love, and sleep for the entirety of the film. Talk about a lame representation of the female gender. Here we have another princess that encompasses the cult of womanhood, being small in stature, tiny in waist, conventionally beautiful, kind, talented, etc.
Again Disney has our young princess fall in love at first sight, conveying an incorrect message to our children: that love is easy, that it happens instantaneously, that it will be based entirely on what you look like, and that it will be the pinnacle of your life. Was I the only one that was disillusioned by this “true love” thing while experiencing relationships in real life?
Disney is also buying into heterosexism with the film and perpetuating it. Heterosexism is the belief that relationships must always be in terms of a man and a woman. Maleficent, spurned by men, is perceived as out of control and evil. She is green in color and looks nothing like our beautiful princess. Maleficent is perhaps, however, the coolest antagonist of a Disney princess film.
Although this movie is old, released in 1959, it is entirely problematic that Aurora is only 16 years old when she “falls in love.” While aging may have been different in the late fifties, our kids NOW are watching and absorbing the messages from this film. At 16, they are still a kid. Love is entirely out of reach psychologically, as children develop well into their early 20s.
Feminist rating: 0/10
Passes Bechdel Test (with flying colors)
Fails Racial Bechdel Test