This is too sad
Words by Jadie Troy-Pryde
Disney is having a bit of a moment. Not only has the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast been one of its most profitable films to date, but they have also announced all the movies to be released in the next three years, and it’s a pretty spectacular list. There’s also a rumour than none other than Beyoncé is in line to star in one of them.
Oh, and there’s going to be a Disneyland Paris music festival this year.
But despite all the good news, it turns out that Disney has actually been keeping a rather sad secret from us all for years.
Have you ever noticed which Disney princesses don’t have mothers? There’s Ariel in The Little Mermaid, Jasmine in Aladdin, Belle in Beauty and the Beast. Cinderella and Snow White both have step-mothers, but both are villains and hardly loving mother figures. It might be easier to ask who does have a mother.
But it turns out that it’s actually a conscious decision on Disney’s part.
Many believe that it has something to do with the fact that most of the classics we know and love are based on fairytales by the Brothers Grimm. In their stories, they rarely included a mother due to the fact that in the 18th and 19th centuries so many women died during childbirth.
However, others have speculated that Walt Disney purposely left them out following his mother’s own tragic passing. According to a biography, Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination, his mother Flora ‘died of carbon monoxide poisoning from the defective heater.’
This was, of course, no fault of Walt’s, but as he had bought the house for his mother many believe that he felt a huge amount of guilt for the rest of his life.
The same autobiographer writes: ‘It may have been the most shattering moment of Walt Disney’s life—a misery deepened no doubt by the fact that she had died in the new home Walt had given her, and by the culpability of his own workmen.’
Even the more modern princesses – Giselle in Enchanted, Elizabeth Swan in Pirates of the Caribbean, Anna and Elsa in Frozen – are without mothers, leading some to believe that those at Disney continue the tradition in honour of Walt.