Ah, mothers! Indispensable fonts of wisdom and advice. Role models, reality checkers, boundary setters, rock stars. What would we do without them? Well, if Disney princesses are any indication, we’d probably make a lot of rash and dangerous decisions in pursuit of our dreams.
I mean, really, have you noticed that most Disney princesses don’t have moms? It’s kind of a thing. Their mothers are dead, their mothers are lost, their mothers are just never mentioned — whatever it is, there’s not a whole lot of maternal wisdom being passed on in these movies. Sure, some of the princesses have step-mothers, but we all know how that turns out.
These poor princesses! No wonder they end up in so many scrapes before finding their happy ending. In a video from #IMomSoHard, comediennes Kristin Hensley and Jen Smedley riff on what it would be like if the princesses had mothers. “If a mom comes into a story that’s supposed to be ninety minutes long she’s gonna clean that sucker up, it’s gonna be over in seven minutes,” they joke. In other words, if the princesses could confide in their mothers, their problems would be solved a lot more easily.
In the video, Hensley and Smedley imagine the kinds of advice Disney moms would give their daughters. Elsa’s mom (from Frozen) would probably tell her, “Life is hard. Put on your gloves … everyone’s got something. Suck it up! Don’t touch your sister! Now get out here and go to soccer practice.” Or, “Oh, Jasmine. You think you’re gonna go on a magic carpet ride with this guy?”
It’s true. If Disney princesses had moms, they’d probably never make the kinds of decisions they do. Because their moms would be there to counsel restraint, to brainstorm better ways to go about things, and to listen to the things their daughters really want and help them find the best way to get them.
In case you’re wondering, leaving out the moms in Disney movies is an intentional choice. If you believe Disney lore, the choice stems from Walt Disney’s guilt about his own mother’s death. A furnace leak in the house Disney bought for his parents killed his mother and injured his father. Lots of Disney fans believe that this is why Disney couldn’t bear to include mothers in his movies. And that may be true. But there’s another, more plausible explanation
Legendary Disney producer Don Hahn explains, “Disney films are about growing up. They’re about that day in your life when you have to accept responsibility . . . it’s much quicker to have characters grow up when you bump off their parents.” When a mom’s got eighteen years to help her daughter grow into a woman, that transition’s going to happen a lot more slowly.
So, while Jasmine’s mom might not have let her get on that magic carpet, she might have invited Aladdin over for dinner. Which might have led Jasmine’s dad to realize Aladdin’s actually a pretty nice guy. And maybe he’d have decided to relax on the whole a-princess-has-to-marry-a-prince thing.
Good moms don’t squash their daughters’ dreams, they just help them follow them in the best way possible. Like, for example, without selling your voice to a sea witch in exchange for legs when your dad has a magic trident that’ll get the job done much easier.
Hensley and Smedley’s video has obviously struck a chord with moms everywhere. Their video has been viewed over a million times on YouTube. Because they’re saying what we all know to be true: a girl needs her mom.