At least we know what happens to the villainesses in Disney films. OK they die but they die doing what they love and how many people can say that (not many and not just because death is more than a Facebook status). This is probably why Maleficent is now being portrayed by Angelina Jolie in a new film all about her. She's the star! It's the princesses I feel sorry for, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. Death could be sweet but they've got the task of living happily ever after with a man they've had one effing duet with.
It seems like only now are we learning what does happen to the fairy princess. She becomes obsessed with the Prince and quickly takes on the traits of a stalker. At least in a new version of Sleeping Beauty envisaged by 21 Jump Street producer Neal Moritz. Helping Moritz realise his proposed Disney Bitches be Crazy project are writers Mike Gagerman and Andrew Waller. I invite you to make of that what you will. Oh yeah AND it's a comedy. Ha ha.
There have already been comments that Sleeping Beauty can't possibly be the stalker because she could only be awoken by her one true love. But even before the Brothers Grimm there is nothing to say true love is always requited. Belle truly falls in love with the Beast, not the man he turns into once her love breaks the curse – I bet it was totally awkward for a while after that. How could the princess live with a man who knew the grudging yet unspeakable lengths she would go to in order to please a frog? When Snow White had time to think about it, did she worry she was marrying a necrophiliac?
We are pretty happy for our fairy tales to be a wildly unhinged provided it's in the name of love. If we are willing to accept the examples above as scenarios of true love then I think we can accept the notion of unrequited true love. Which is no less obscene than the idea of love at first sight or just settling down with the person you're reasonably comfortable with now.
In fact I'd argue we are pretty happy for our real life relationships to be at least a little unhinged. The modern fairy tale, model marries chef, they have lots of lovely, imaginatively named children (yes I am linking this to Jools Oliver, go with it) and she regularly reads his texts, emails and tweets. “Yeah, I’ll check his email. I’ll check his Twitter. I’ll check his phone. Everything seems fine. He says I'm a jealous girl, but I think I’m fairly laid-back, considering.”
Considering what? Considering maybe that her husband Jamie Oliver broadcast on Radio 5 Live that “I just think marriage is comedy really, it's absolute comedy, to love someone so dearly but also despise them at the same time is absolutely comedy.” But also considering that Jools clearly knows other wives and girlfriends who are worse.
A recent XOJane article asking about male friends sparked a thread of comments posted by women lamenting the loss of their male friends as they got married or moved in with girlfriends who struggled to tell the difference between 'This is Hayley*, we've been friends since school' and 'This is Hayley, she's a whore'. Is that true love?
Could the stalking character in this fairy tale be any other than Sleeping Beauty? Definitely not if it's going to be sold as laughing fodder. A male stalker is unsettling, a girl stalker is a Reese Witherspoon vehicle, surely? Which is the problem here (the other problem is that I'm a feminist and take such things WAY too seriously). Why is that fair? Stalking on the Sleeping Beauty level here is a crime, in the name of love or no. And when did borderline female stalking behaviour become acceptable? Why are we so OK with women being that insecure in their relationships that we make light of it in articles and films? Of course this Sleeping Beauty reinterpretation might handle the subject so well and so hilariously I take all this back but until then I still think it brings up a subject worth thinking about.
*This name was picked at random, I don't know a Hayley! Hayley if you're reading this I expect you're lovely.
Squeamish Kate "Touch the spindle, touch it I say"