The Alternative To Disney Princesses and Their Handsome Princes

Every little girl wants to be a Disney Princess, right? Just like every boy wants to be their handsome prince, that’s true too, isn’t it? And if being the white knight to these princesses isn’t every young boy’s dream, then surely they are aiming for bigger things, like being a Marvel or DC superhero, saving their city, saving the world, and getting the pretty girl as their trophy. Am I right?

But what if it’s not the case. What if little boys don’t want to be superheroes in the Hollywood sense. What if they don’t want to don the costume and cape, they don’t want to have to fight the baddies, and they don’t want to be an action hero? Is there an alternative that Disney, Pixar or DreamWorks are offering?

One of the movies that I am glad our eldest son really got into was Sony Picture’s Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (CWACOM). It’s hard to dress up as the main character Flint Lockwood, but I often wonder if his character had more of a – how should I put it? – hero look to him, whether my son would have wanted to dress as him last Halloween. Flint_Lockwood

With his unkempt hair, big nose and white laboratory coat, he is easily recognisable to CWACOM fans, but to the average punter, Flint is no Spiderman, Superman or Batman. Dressing up like him for a fancy dress party or Halloween would undoubtedly bring comments such as “oh, how cute, a scientist…”

But Flint Lockwood to me is so much more than that. He really is a hero, and I don’t mean because he was able to dump the kill code in the FLDSMDFR when it goes haywire, but because of one particular scene in the movie.

When we first meet Sam Sparks, she’s an intern hoping to be a weather reporter on a national network. With her tidy hair, tiny waist, and gorgeous smile, she’s bound to be a hit on the television if she pulls off the job she’s been asked to do in Flint’s hometown of Swallow Falls.

But it’s the scene where Flint sits in the jelly (or jello) castle that he built to impress her that he truly turns out to be impressive. You really need to watch it before reading on…

I love it. Flint is impressed by the real Sam Sparks, not the one that society wants her to be. With her glasses and hair tied back he truly sees that she is someone he would want to be with because he knows that they would be able to hold down a conversation.

I can’t speak for every man because, well, firstly, I know I think differently to most men, but this I know for sure; there are a shit load of guys out there looking for their own Sam Sparks who likes to talk about “techy” or nerdy stuff, likes to bounce around in a castle made of jelly (okay, that’s random) and basically likes to be themselves and not have to impress the world.

I know the jokes are cliché almost to the point of being redundant or archaic, but women will forever wonder if their arse looks being in those jeans and then will have a clothes crisis and change into a thousand different outfits until they are happy with the way they look. The reality is, most men wouldn’t really care what his partner is wearing as long as it somewhat matches, and for some men, that’s not really a biggie.

I want my boys to be like Flint. I want them to see beauty in everyone and anyone, as long as that person is being themselves and not trying to impress anyone. The funny thing is, some of the most physically attractive people I know are the ones who try to impress people more than others but they are just not that interesting enough to be someone I could spend eternity with.

Others who are not as attractive as society would make you believe, those women who would be described as “no supermodel,” those guys who would wear the label of being “no Brad Pitt” are amongst the most interesting people I have ever met.

I meet beautiful people in my travels all the time. People who are passionate about things like history, reading, music, science. And it’s there passion for these things that make them beautiful to me regardless of how they look.

I recently met a woman who I thought was physically attractive but I was drawn to her (not romantically I might add; I’m married remember) because of her passion for what she does, and her passion for getting things done properly and not letting people down who rely on her to get these things right. I was a little miffed when she told me that she was average looking. I didn’t get it.

To me she was Sam Sparks and I bet her Flint Lockwood was waiting somewhere out there to take a spit-ball of jelly and tie back her hair to show the real woman that she is; caring, compassionate, helpful, empathetic, sympathetic. But maybe she was looking beyond those Flints out there. Maybe she was looking for more.

I am forever reading articles about how Disney draws these unrealistic looking female characters with their big doe eyes, tiny waists, elongated bodies and who would turn the head of a blind man. Many feminists writers dump all over Disney for portraying this as the only way a princess should truly look, and with every little girl wanting to be a princess, they must achieve that look too or they’ve failed.

But what about those princes; broad shoulders, chiselled jaw, Ted McGinley hair, muscled arms, bulging pectorals and small waist. Is this what all boys should grow up to want to be like or can they be happy being a skinny runt just like Flint Lockwood?

I’ll leave you with the opening lines of the movie. When I first heard this I felt like this was going to be my kind of movie. And I am happy that I shared the first viewing with my son. I just hope as he and his brother get older, they don’t have to be anything more than who they want to be, and I’m sure they’ll find their own Sam Sparks.

Flint Lockwood: Have you ever felt like you were a little bit different? Like you had something unique to offer the world, if you could just get people to see it. Then you know exactly how it felt to be me.

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