On Monday the lovely people at Disney helped realise a dream of mine by supplying me with tickets to EuroDisneyland. It was even more amazing than I had imagined it would be and the definite highlight was watching the “Once Upon A Dream” parade where all my favourite Disney characters were brought to life. The float with the Disney Princesses was definitely the best ‘in my slightly biased opinion!) and after the parade finished I found myself staring with a weird kind of envy at all the little girls running around in their new princess dresses. Oh to be five years old and still in the socially acceptable age bracket to want to be a princess again.
We spent the morning in the Walt Disney Studios Park (Disney were kind enough to give me two-park tickets!) and I found myself gazing at a different kind of Disney Princess with the same mixture of awe and jealously as I had at the traditional ones on the float. Giant posters of Demi, Miley and Selena were up around the park, as were big screens playing the theme songs to their tv shows. I stood there watching them and thinking to myself about how they have everything I could ever want and how their lives are completely and utterly perfect. Then I came home to an internet connection and read about Demi.
I’m not Demi’s biggest fan by any means, back in CR1 and early season one Sonny she was awesome, but she changed and became try-hard and after she and Selena fell out (though they have recently reconciled which makes me happy) I found myself on team Selena. Still, to hear that she had checked herself into rehab for self harm and an eating disorder broke my heart. As the complete and utter fangirl that I am, I had always thought that if you were a ‘disney princess’ everything was amazing; you got your happily ever after and nothing bad would, or could, happen. Demi and her fellow teen stars get to date the hottest guys (Jonas boys, I’m looking at you), are featured on magazine covers, have their own tv shows and appear in movies but I guess this new turn in events just proves money can’t buy you happiness.
In one article I read about the incident, it was mentioned Demi has recently got a tattoo on her ribs that says “You are so beautiful to me”. Her explanation for it was that growing up the song helped her through a lot because she didn’t have any role models to look up to who would say “Yeah, I have fat days too”. She went on to say she dreams of starting a foundation to empower teen girls and let them know that they are beautiful no matter what and that they don’t have to turn to such drastic matters as she obviously has. I hope after she gets out of rehab she strives to make this foundation a reality. Being a teenage girl today is by no means easy. There is so much pressure placed on us by our friends, family, the media and most importantly, ourselves. We spend so much time trying to achieve this illusive perfection – the top grades, the skinniest bodies, the hottest boyfriends, invites to the biggest parties, popularity – that we neglect to stand back and realise that this perfection doesn’t actually exist. Of course, we then discover this the hard way and end up in a vicious cycle of hate, more often than not directed at ourselves, because we’re just not good enough. We end up self destructing because our happily ever after isn’t occuring like it’s meant to.
What I hope Demi can do is let teens know that just because they don’t feel like a princess every day, it doesn’t mean they’re not one. That even though they may not see it every time they look in the mirror, they still are the fairest of them all. That just because Prince Charming hasn’t arrived yet, it doesn’t mean he’s not just around the corner riding his white horse, or maybe we’ve overlooked him in his disguise as a beast or a frog. Actually, more importantly than that is that we don’t need a prince charming at all, that we can still kick butt like Mulan (side note, why is Mulan always excluded from the Disney Princesses?) and save ourselves before ending up a wreck because our Prince took too long. Demi has taken the first step to saving herself and I can only pray she influences other girls to do the same.
Something good comes out of every bad situation, and I truly believe that by going public with her suffering Demi can help other girls going through the same thing. Eating disorders and self harm are just all too common in today’s society – there are numerous girls (and boys!) in my group of friends alone who have suffered/are suffering from one or both – and even though it’s awful Demi has to go through them, a famous face, and hopefully foundation, may just be what is needed. We just all need to remember that our happily ever after is really just on the next page, we just need the patience to wait.
frangipani princess xoxo
ps. If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder or self harm, you should check out TWLOHA for ways to get help. You are not alone, please remember that.