People Share The Worst Lessons We Can Learn From Disney Movies

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Everyone loves Disney. We grew up with classics like The Lion King, Peter Pan, The Little Mermaid, Pocahontas, and Alladin—and we loved them. But as adults, it can be hard to see past the glaring not-so-awesome moral lessons in some of our favorite childhood films, no matter how much you love Snow White. From sexism to unrealistic expectations about love and loss, people from around the world share their thoughts on the worst lessons we can learn from Disney movies.

#1 Birds Will Come if You Sing

I thought that I could make small birds land on my hand if I sang to them. Obviously, I was quite short when I was six, so I took a stool into the garden and stood on it, trying to catch a sparrow. I toppled the stool and winded myself.

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#2 You’re Better on Your Own

One or both parents need to die before kids can realize their full potential.

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#3 No Foot Size Is The Same

Everyone in a castle has a different shoe size.

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#4 Villains Have Goatees

You can tell someone is a villain by their facial hair.

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#5 Anyone Can Be a Princess

No, there is no such thing as princesses. No, you can’t grow up to be a princess… Oh, gosh darn it, Meghan Markle!

#6 Hitting Someone is Funny

Just repeatedly hit someone with a cast-iron skillet so hard that they blackout. They’ll be fine, don’t worry. And it’s funny! Also, foxes and rabbits make the best of buddies!

#7 Cast-Iron Skillets Make Good Toys

We just talked about this in our staff meeting this morning (I’m a social worker) because we have a teen girl who was hitting her sister and eventually upgraded to using a cast-iron skillet. Some coworkers were talking about video games but I said she probably learned it from Tangled. Just an FYI, none of us actually believe video games (or Disney movies for that matter) caused this behavior. It was just staff meeting banter about some of the really challenging cases we have. The sister is fine, for those wondering.

#8 Only Those Pure of Heart Can Have Animal Friends

If you are pure of heart you can approach wild animals. Unless you want 20 rabies needles don’t do this.

#9 Girls Don’t Save Themselves

In Peter Pan, Wendy seemed like a perfectly capable and intelligent person; yet when she and the Lost Boys were being held captive on Captain Hook’s ship, she only chastised them for losing faith that Peter would come and save them. Um, girl, you’re right there, how about you get off your butt and do something? Also, she said nothing about when the mermaids were ‘only trying to drown her’ and Peter laughed. I woulda knocked the pixie dust out his butt.

#10 It’s Okay 101 to Have 101 Dalmations

It’s okay to have 101 Dalmatians in your yard.

#11 Evil Can Turn Good

Stay with an abusive guy long enough and he’ll eventually stop being a monster (Beauty and the Beast).

#12 Glass Shoes are Safe

That glass shoes are cool. Who the heck wears glass shoes!? Somebody who wants a severed Achilles’ tendon the first time they go dancing, that’s who.

#13 Only Pretty Wins

Only super pretty girls get to marry the prince and be happily ever after.

#14 The World is Divided

That the world is divided into absolute good and absolute evil. So many of our problems, as humans, come from our inability to relate to people from other cultures or different political viewpoints.

#15 Rats Make Good Cooks

Don’t try to kill all those friendly rats in your kitchen, they’ll help you cook gourmet meals.

#16 Royals Are the Only Government

Hereditary monarchies are the only morally justifiable system of government.

#17 Men Always Save the Day

As a woman, you need a man in order to escape servitude or capture.

#18 Kiss Everyone

If you see a girl sleeping just go right up to her and start kissing.

#19 Not Listening to Your Parents Is Good

Not listening to your parents and putting yourself in a dangerous situation will get you a happily ever after (The Little Mermaid).

#20 Rodents Fix Everything

If you don’t have a dress for the ball at the castle, just go and sulk in a room full of rodents.

#21 Marriage Is the End Goal

That marriage is the end goal, rather than the start of the journey.

#22 Great Things Happen Only Once You’re An Orphan

That great things happen to kids when their parents die.

#23 Good Guys Always Win

That the bad guy always loses.

#24 Don’t Work for What You Want

Just keep dreaming and wishing, it will come true. I like that Princess and the Frog took that idea and added the concept of working toward your wishes and dreams, too.

#25 Fish Are Friends

That fish are friends not food.

#26 Just Listen to the Colors of the Wind

That if you want to learn English, all you have to do is listen to the colors of the wind.

#27 Life Always Ends Happily

That there is always a happy ending.

#28 Pretty is the Only Way

Don’t be ugly.

#29 Raw Eggs for Every Meal

Eat five dozen raw eggs if you want to be big and strong like Gaston.

#30 Falling in Love at First Sight

Falling in love at first sight with the first possible suitor. At least Frozen poked fun of it.

#31 You Can Swing like Tarzan

Try surfing a tree and vines like Tarzan in your bare feet and you too can watch your palm and soles get friction burns down to the bone.

#32 Ugly People are Bad

Bad people are ugly. Good people look beautiful.

#33 Acting Like a Brat Will Get You What You Want

I think one lesson that should not be taught from The Little Mermaid is that if you’re wealthy, well taken care of and surrounded by people who love you, acting like an entitled little brat and disobeying your parents will reward you with even bigger and better things!

#34 Trust People You Don’t Know

A man you’ve never even talked to only admired from afar is worth selling your soul to the devil for (no Ariel, no!).

#35 You’ll Be Fine If You Get Lost

That, if lost in the woods, a bear and a panther will be kind and raise you.

#36 Life is a Musical

To expect the general public to burst into song at any moment.

#37 Kiss Strangers

If you find a dead stranger in the forest, kiss her!

#38 This Is How Succession Works

The Lion King: you can take someone’s job if you throw them off a cliff.

#39 Evil People Look Evil

That evil people look and behave evilly. The reality is abusive people can be quite lovely and woo you into a false sense of security because they do such nice things. Gaslighting is not exclusive to people who look like a villain on the outside.

#40 Everything Works Out

That everything works out in the end, and that the world is a just place. Kind people don’t always succeed and cruel people don’t always get punished.

#41 Love at First Sight

Love at first sight. That is a TERRIBLE thing to teach kids. And it shows. I can’t tell you how many people I know with the “He’s the love of my life! I’m going to stay with him forever no matter what!” mindset, even though it’s only been a month or two. Or people feel like they need a SO to complete their lives. It’s a toxic thing to teach people.

#42 Let Strangers into Your Home

Let a strange old lady into your home or you’ll be cursed.

#43 You Can Crack Melons Over Your Knee

From Aladdin, I thought melons could easily be cracked open over my knee. Some tears and a very bruised knee later, I found that this was not, in fact, a real thing.

#44 A Fork Makes the Perfect Brush

A fork is the perfect tool to comb your hair. Just yank your scalp with that thing for voluminous locks.

#45 Stepmoms are Evil

Stepmoms are evil. Marriage is hard, especially when one party already has a child with someone else. Cut them some slack!

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