Disney movies are renowned for having the perfect happily ever after ending.
The characters are lovable and oftentimes relatable. Mind you, they seem to have the best and most perfect lives filled with adventure, love, and beautiful friendships. So it's no wonder that kids fantasize about being their favorite Disney princess.
Growing up, there was no stopping me from loving these films. I actually became more aware of all the little details now, which I missed when watching Disney movies as a kid.
For example, that scene in the Lion King where Zazu is flying over sand dunes shaped like female breasts... That's not something you notice at the age of six. To be honest, I noticed that when I rewatched the film with my two toddlers a few years ago.
There is one question that's popped in my head every time I've watched these movies, whether it be Disney's Cinderella from 1950 or Frozen from 2013.
There's a key character that's missing from the lives of these princesses: their mother. That's when their seemingly perfect lives started crumbling in my mind.
The theory behind why they all princesses have non-existent mother figures will break your heart...
The man behind the most influential American media company, Walt Disney, may be the reason why Disney princesses are usually orphans or have a deceased mother.
In the early 1940s, Walt bought a house for his parents. There was a furnace leak that made his mother and father sick, but his mother ended up dying.
According to Glamour, Walt felt responsible for the circumstances of her death because he bought that home for his parents.
He never talked about how that affected him, but it would be no surprise if it did affect how the legend produced later Disney stories.
The executive producer of Maleficent, Don Hahn, believes that this theory is true, and has shed some light into the animator's secret tragedy.
"That idea that he really contributed to his mom's death was really tragic ... He had just made Fantasia, Dumbo, Pinocchio, Bambi, and Snow White in a five-year span. He buys a house for his mom and dad, they move down from Oregon, and his mom dies. Again, I'm not a psychologist to know it all, but it's a really interesting story. To me, it humanizes Walt. He was devastated by that, as anyone would be."
That being said, literary critics argue that Disney movies are heavily based off of fairy tales, many of which are missing paternal figures, which probably explains why many other Disney stories have very similar characters with similar struggles.
In my opinion, there's truth in both theories. One thing we can't deny is that the death of Walt's mother must have had a heavy impact on him, and like everything that affects us, it finds its way into our creative work.
What do you think? Does this theory play a part in why Disney lacks maternal figures? Or is there another reason?
[H/T: E! News]