Let me start out by saying, I have struggled with social anxiety for most my life. This has left me feeling extremely awkward and doing such things as, blurting out whatever pops into my head, overly focusing on not doing something stupid than tripping on air, and I have even drooled on myself on a date.
Social anxiety and generalized anxiety is a real issue and this article in no way is meant to make light of the struggle. If anything, I want those who struggle to know YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Whether it’s true social anxiety, or you’re just a little weird … you are perfect just the way you are. You can be weird and awkward and still be just as awesome as some of our favorite Disney princesses. So without further ado, let’s discuss some of the quirks of our childhood heroes.
Within the first, I dunno, 10 minutes of Beauty and the Beast, there’s an entire musical number about how “weird” Belle is because she’s always got “her nose stuck in a book.” The people in her village just don’t understand how such a pretty girl could be so swept up in the fantasy world that reading provides. They call her “strange,” “peculiar,” and “dazed.”
But how incredibly brave and fantastic is it of her to not necessarily care about these accusations. She may go home and ask her father if she’s “odd” but she doesn’t change who she is to appease the villagers. She very proudly stands tall and keeps on reading. That’s a wonderful message for our youth. You don’t need to change who you are to fit in, the right people will love you just the way you are.
Honestly, who wouldn’t be a little awkward after being cooped up in a castle for many years? There’s obviously some speculation about this, since it was Elsa who was forbidden from leaving the castle out of fear her powers would be discovered. But her pure excitement the day of the coronation and her clumsiness when meeting Prince Hans is something I think many of us could relate to. I mean, she literally falls into a boat while trying to play it cool.
I may have not fallen into a literal boat while trying to “impress” someone but as I mentioned before, I literally dribbled on myself while trying to talk to a cute guy. It happens. Social anxiety or not, love and crushes can make even the most confident of people act a little awkward. It’s these adorable quirks that make Anna so unbelievably relatable and one of my favorite Disney princesses.
Though Elsa is now a queen, she still counts, for all intents and purposes. How awkward would it be to be at your coronation and so terrified you are going to make a mistake that you end up setting off an eternal winter? That’s pretty awkward. But it’s also a very powerful message. Trying to hide away, trying to ignore what’s going on, ended up causing more problems in the end. In my opinion, Elsa should have been able to at least confide in her sister. As we know, talking about our “problems” is sometimes the only way to work through them. Once Elsa came to terms with her powers and had the support of her loved ones, she was able to be comfortable in her own skin, “awkwardness” and all.
Oh Mulan, how do I love thee? Who could forget the amazingly awkward scene when Mulan meets the matchmaker for the first time? Again, she’s so worried that she’s going to fail that total chaos breaks out. Some of this is obviously just sheer bad luck … even though she had her “lucky” cricket by her side. But going further, Ping runs into quite a few socially awkward moments as well.
Remember the lake scene? Oh poor Mushu, even he had some fun quirks to overcome. But as the movie progresses, Mulan grows increasingly confident in who she is. Ping or Mulan, she defies all standards and even faces the possibility of death to not only save her father, but to save China. She may face quite a few awkward moments during her journey but I believe that’s just part of life. We will all go through some embarrassment while we navigate this crazy little thing called life.
Who could really blame Ariel for being awkward in the human world? You’d be pretty awkward too if everything you learned about our world came from a bird brain name Scuttle. As many times as we feel awkward for her while she’s brushing her hair with a fork and blowing literal smoke in people’s faces … good on her for just being true to herself. She goes into this totally foreign world, and with very limited knowledge on anything, and she just does her thing. It’s almost empowering to see.
Her reasons may have been a little misguided but what she did was very brave … for an animated characters obviously. If I tried doing what Ariel did, it’d probably end up like that movie Taken. (Okay, I’ve never actually seen Taken.)
I’m really starting to notice a centralized theme for these princesses. Rapunzel was locked away for what … almost 18 years. Like so many of these princesses, she didn’t get exposure to the real world. That’s actually a pretty accurate commentary of how women, especially those of royalty, were treated. They were not well read and they were kept amongst the court. So, tower or not, a lack of knowledge was the biggest factor in many of these princesses follies.
Rapunzel’s only knowledge of the world came from “Mother” Gothel and books. Reading is amazing and all but I don’t think she was afforded the complete Encyclopedia Britannica. Instead, she talks to animals, she never wears shoes, and she was once pretty scared of the outside world … oh my god she’s me … kidding. But Rapunzel was able to face her fears, or really her anxiety … and she found her way home because of it.
It was watching the Tangled TV show and seeing Rapunzel in all her bright eyed naivety that led me to writing this article. At first, I wanted to rank them from least to most awkward. But, in attempting to do that I realized that everyone’s experiences are different. The way I experience my anxiety might be different than yours, but when it comes down to it, we’re all going through something. So maybe these princesses can show us a thing or two. Be true to yourself, be weird, be nerdy. But also, be kind, and be brave. Your quirks make you who you are and who you are is great. I think we all need to hear that sometimes.
Hope you enjoyed the article. It was at least fun writing it and reminiscing about all the funny little Disney moments that have made me giggle in that “omg me too” kind of way.
So now it’s your turn to tell me… what’s your favorite “relatable” Disney moment?
Featured image credit: Walt Disney Pictures