Of all our lovely princesses, Cinderella and Tiana are the oldest, at nineteen. Snow White is the youngest—at fourteen. Jasmine is fifteen (until the end of the movie); Aurora, Ariel, and Mulan are sixteen; Belle is seventeen; and Rapunzel is eighteen. Pocahontas isn't specifically named but she's somewhere between fifteen and eighteen during the movie.
So... What is the deal? I mean, let's be honest: Most teenagers don't know what that kind of love is. Or, to be more accurate, they think everything is that kind of love. Only an extraordinarily unusual fifteen-year-old would have any idea what she was going to want twenty, forty, sixty years in the future. Why do we insist on idealizing those relationships?
I have to admit that I feel like my dislike of the teen romance tropes must be reflective of some unknown hangups I have, maybe leftover from my more Puritanical days? I think that I worry too much about how media affects teenagers. But then again, I think about movies like Miss Representation, and I think about what I was like as a teenager, and then I'm not sure that my suspicion is unfounded. I know I wasn't the most put-together teenager. I know several people who were a lot more confident than I was in high school, who were smart and knew things about life and had older siblings and long-term perspective and all kinds of things I didn't have. But I know there are teenagers like me, too. And I know that sometimes, teenagers are just naive enough to think that the things they see in movies are really what life is like. I know that the teen years are kind of scary ones, because the choices you make as a teenager can impact the whole rest of your life, even though you don't have enough perspective to know that. I'm the kind of person who thinks about her future children, and who worries about her nieces and nephews and, frankly, random teenagers she doesn't even know. So yeah, I read more into these movies than the average childless adult probably does. And I feel silly about it. But at the same time... Isn't that worry sort of justified?
ANYWAY. This post has been sitting in my drafts for a really long time now because I just can't ever get up the focus to make it actually sound good, and I'm going to finally just publish it because I'm going out of town tomorrow and it's probably going to be another long while before I do post anything. So please forgive the fact that I'm talking nonsense, and tell me what you think about it.