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Fairy fails: the worst lessons we can take out of Disney films

We’ve all dreamt of living inside a Disney film; falling in love with a handsome prince and living happily ever after, singing birds, glass slippers and all. But, as some very astute Redditors (read: people with way too much time on their hands) have pointed out, there are some fatal flaws in these shining tales, and strange lessons we never needed to hear. Prepare to have the glossy tales from your childhood torn to shreds by the ultimate cynics of the internet: Redditors. Here are the worst lessons you can take out of Disney films:

Great things happen to children when their parents die

frozen fairytale

If Cinderella’s parents hadn’t died, she’d just be another privileged white (yet unremarkable) child living in a nice house – right? But no, she has to meet a handsome prince at a fancy ball and live happily ever after. Would Simba have exiled himself and experienced the adventure and personal growth he needed had his father not died? Would Elsa have been the forlorn hero she was if her parents stayed around? We’re all a sucker for an orphaned protagonist, apparently, and Disney has capitalised on this.

Everyone in a town can have a different shoe size

fairytale cinderella

As someone who works in a retail shoe store, I can confirm that whilst feet can come in different shapes and sizes, there is a limited number of those shapes and sizes. Cinderella, I’m looking at you babe. As romantic as the whole identify-the-love-of-your-life by her foot trope is in this classic film, it’s so hugely unrealistic.

However, pre-Disney versions of Cinderella suggest a reason for this: she was locked in a dungeon by her stepmother and the mice actually ate off her toes instead of singing with her, which is why her feet were so much tinier than everybody else’s in the kingdom.

You can identify a bad guy by his facial hair

Bad guys have to look, well, bad – right? What better way to convey this than some sharp stubble or a seedy moustache?

It turns out Hitler wasn’t the first man to ruin facial hair for all the good guys.

You can approach wild, dangerous beasts in a lonely forest, as long as you’re pure of heart

Rapunzel fairytale

Apparently, a small, fatal disease known as ‘rabies’ in the modern world isn’t a thing in the Walt Disney universe. As romantic and spiritual as it may appear in animation, approaching wild animals isn’t always the most sensible path. Seriously, don’t go singing with wild beasts on your next bushwalk, unless you want to experience the joy of being stabbed in the stomach with rabies immunisations (no judgement if that’s your kink, but there’s probably a safer way to explore it).

Stepmothers are always evil

fairytale stepmothers

The stepmothers in just about every single Disney film are the spawn of Satan, but IRL they’re not all like that. Their cats, though, are another story.

If you can’t find something to wear to tonight’s party, go and sulk in a room full of rodents

Cinderella fairytale

Pro tip: wild rats can’t actually sew nor sing, and for this reason (as well as the whole disease thing) they don’t usually make good companions for humans. So, if you’re stuck for something to wear tonight, do what any normal girl does: go on a shopping spree . . . in your sister’s closet.  

Glass shoes are the elegant choice for a night out on the town

glass shoe disney

You never, ever see glass shoes IRL – and there’s probably a good reason for this: severed Achilles’ tendon anyone? Have you ever accidentally smashed a glass on your kitchen floor and got a piece stuck in your foot? That shit is PAINFUL, and if you’re going to wear actual heels made of glass you deserve the inevitable agony that will come when those shoes shatter beneath you.

A Reddit theory to sort of combat this is that Disney used the phrase ‘glass slippers’ was used because people didn’t have a word for ‘jelly shoes’. Fashion tip from me: avoid both at all costs.  

It’s okay to keep 101 dogs in your yard


As much as coming home each day from work to 101 puppies piled in my yard is kind of my own fairy tale dream, there are so many reasons why this fantasy needs to stay in my head. Scooping my own dog’s crap off my backyard’s grass is a chore in itself; doing that 101 times over? No thank you, Satan.

Do you have a crush on a pretty girl? Is she asleep? KISS HER!

consent fairytale

HOLD MY SPINDLE – it’s not okay to kiss someone who isn’t awake, especially if you don’t actually know them. The Disney version of Sleeping Beauty is actually very tame compared to earlier editions, in which Aurora is actually raped and impregnated by her ‘saviour’ and gives birth to twins. One of the twins gets hungry and sucks on her finger, sucking out the splinter from the spinning wheel that cursed Aurora to sleep to cure her. More morbid than ‘true love’s kiss’, hey.

Pro tip: girls don’t like being kissed by guys we hardly know when we’re unconscious. It’s 2019 and we dig consent.

So next time you sit down to watch a Disney movie with your friends and family, look through the cracks, and you’ll see all too clearly that they were the product of the romantic imagination of a white guy who peaked in 1930. Do we need to leave these strange tales in the thirties, or do they still claim relevance today? We’ll leave that for you to decide.