“Cinderella” and “The Little Mermaid” are Disney animated classics beloved by adults and children all over the world, but that isn’t stopping Keira Knightley from banning the titles in her house. The actress told Ellen Degeneres during an appearance on her talk show that she isn’t letting her three-year-old daughter watch certain Disney princess films because they are not empowering to women.
When it comes to “Cinderella,” Knightley explained the storyline just doesn’t set a good example for young women. “She waits around for a rich guy to rescue her,” Knightley said. “Don’t. Rescue yourself — obviously.” The actress feels the same about “The Little Mermaid,” even if she admits the songs are good. “Do not give your voice up for a man!” Knightley noted.
Knightley got her career breakthrough thanks to Disney by starring as Elizabeth Swann in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise. Although the character was something of a damsel in distress in the first installment, “The Curse of the Black Pearl,” Swann went on to become a pirate herself and have more agency in the sequels, “Dead Mans Chest” and “At World’s End.”
Degeneres asked Knightley which Disney films are suitable for young girls, to which she listed “Frozen” and “Moana.” Both films are newer additions to the Disney canon and have been praised for featuring female characters who are not co-dependent on princes and/or male characters.
Knightley is currently in theaters with the well-reviewed indie “Colette,” and she next stars in a supporting role in Disney’s “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” in theaters nationwide November 2. Watch Knightley’s appearance on “Ellen” in the video below.