Jess Wells

@jesswells
I write to connect with other people, and make them not feel so weird. Because I'm weird too - and that's ok. Makes life more interesting.
Community Voices

Depression and Disney Princesses

I grew up like most girls, obsessed with Disney princesses. I’m almost at the age of 30, and am realizing how most of my life was manipulated by these movies where romantic love is the sole purpose, the happily ever after ending. I’ve realized that romantic love is not, or should not, be your sole purpose in life. That is called codependency. Codependency fuels #Depression, #Anxiety, poor/no self-esteem or confidence, unhealthy relationships. There is so much more to an individual’s life besides having a partner.

My whole life I’ve been overweight, not hugely obese, but enough to have no self-esteem. My mother is the same. I inherited/acquired the coping mechanism of emotional eating. Even if my father told her she’s not fat, and he doesn’t like skinny women, she never felt better. I remember many times during my teenage years, I would think if only I had a boyfriend who accepted me and my body, I wouldn’t be depressed, I wouldn’t hate myself. I wondered why she couldn’t just be happy, especially since she had a partner who accepted her. Now, after having a relationship where I was completely loved and accepted, I understand how she felt. It really doesn’t matter deep down, when you’ve had such body image issues, whether or not you have a partner who loves your body. You personally have issues with it, and you are still present in the relationship.

There was never an overweight Disney princess. Ever since I was old enough to care about a boy liking me, I remember seeing my weight as an obstacle to my happily ever after. Instead of seeing my weight as a health issue, I saw it as an appearance issue. So no healthy means were done to solve my problem. And when I did start to lose weight during my teenage years, I actually got more anxiety, I felt more boys were paying attention to me, watching my body, and that fat little girl was still inside feeling incredibly scared that anyone would love her. Still hating myself for being fat, I couldn’t allow anyone to love me. I still have a hard time with this.

I have a love/hate relationship with the Disney brand. I do value the artistic quality of the early movies like Snow White, Bambi, Sleeping Beauty, Alice in Wonderland. I admire the humble beginnings of the studio, where Walt was working in his garage. And of course not all movies were with Disney princesses. But sometimes I wonder if I never watched a Disney movie, how my life would be different somehow. I realize there is so much propaganda in the world, including other movies, magazines, tv shows. But I wasn’t watching Gone with the Wind or looking at fashion magazines at the age of 4. That’s the Disney princess difference that I have an issue with. Even to this day I love the songs from Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Pocahontas (don’t get me started on this one though, that’s another propaganda topic)… And I enjoy watching the films. But sometimes I wonder… maybe I’d be a little more accepting of my body. Maybe I’d not be fixated for most of my life thinking finding a boyfriend/husband was the most important thing in life.

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