YouTube | DisneyMusicVEVO / YouTube

Keira Knightley Dragged Disney For Their Presentation Of Women

For so many of us, Disney movies were basically our fairy godparents, raising us just about as much as anybody else. So, it can be challenging when someone comes along and calls these animated classics out.

But that's exactly what Keira Knightley has done recently, talking about the choices of entertainment that go on in her own household.

Keira Knightley, of course, has made some of her biggest movies under the Disney banner.


Elizabeth Swann was a breakout role for Knightley in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, starting with 2003's The Curse of the Black Pearl.

Most recently, she's been doing promotion for another Disney feature, "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms."

Getty Images | David M. Benett

So, when it comes to knowing her way around a Disney movie, it's safe to say that Keira Knightley has, at the very least, an informed opinion on the process.

When Knightley dropped by "The Ellen Show" to discuss "The Nutracker," they talked about her role as a mother to her three-year-old, including the banned Disney movies in their household.

YouTube | TheEllenShow

Banned movies? Seems a little harsh, but okay, let's hear her out.

One of the banned movies was "The Little Mermaid."

YouTube | DisneyMusicVEVO

According to Knightley, it's frustrating for her because The Little Mermaid is a well-made movie, and "the songs are great, but do not give your voice up for a man. Hello?"

In case it's been awhile, Ariel makes a deal with Ursula, exchanging her voice for human legs so she can go above the surface.


Ariel's always been fascinated with the human world, but after meeting Prince Eric, that desire goes into overdrive, prompting Ariel to make the deal.

Another Disney classic on the Knightley chopping block is the original "Cinderella."


The reason for Cinderella's banning is because "she waits around for a rich guy to rescue her. Don't. Rescue yourself, obviously." The statement was followed by applause from The Ellen Show's audience.

Cinderella, of course, gets help from a lot of different places throughout the movie.


There's her fairy godmother, and the Prince. She even has birds help her get dressed and a pack of mice that help make her dress and assist in her escaping from her bedroom after her stepmother locks her in.

Knightley went on to list a few movies and TV shows that are totally fine for her daughter to watch.


Along with kids programming like Peppa Pig and Dora the Explorer, the actress offered up Frozen and Moana as Disney movies with a way less problematic message.

Speaking of "Frozen," she later went on to defend her criticism of Ariel and Cinderella, using Elsa as a positive example.


On the red carpet for the premiere of The Nutcracker, she told the Press Association that she "wonder[s] what Elsa would say to Ariel and Cinderella." (via Metro)

Elsa, of course, was very critical of her sister, Anna, who wanted to marry prince Hans within hours of meeting him.


At first, watching Frozen, we can't believe that Elsa would stay in the way of true love, but ultimately, the movie teaches us that those first flirty moments don't tell us anywhere near enough about a person, and, ultimately, that Elsa was probably right.

So it's a fair question to ask what the level-headed Elsa would have to say about Cinederella and Ariel's choices.


"She’s like 'absolutely that is not okay' and in fact everyone in Frozen is not okay with that. What would Elsa say to Ariel, who gives up her voice for a man?" said Knightley.

Neither Knightley nor Elsa were saying that Anna or Ariel picked bad guys or anything (although Anna totally did), just that it's okay to think beyond love at first sight.


Knightley championed Ariel's heroism in saving her Prince, Eric, but also thinks that Elsa would have given Ariel some reasonable advice.

The actress clarified, "I think Elsa would be like, 'Babe, you’ve got to get to know him better, don’t give up your voice just yet.'"


Knightley's comments call to mind Kristen Bell's recent thoughts on the story of "Snow White."


In talking to her kids at storytime, Bell took the time to pick apart some of the more dicey sections of the tale.

Bell encouraged her kids to think critically about the story, asking why Snow White would have ever taken the apple from the witch.


She wouldn't expect her own kids to take food from strangers, so why wouldn't she question it when Snow White does it?

Not to mention, the story gave Bell a chance to discuss the idea of consent.


As in, why are we all acting like it's totally normal for this guy to ride up and kiss an unconscious stranger?

Not everybody agrees with the actresses, or their approach for confronting these classic stories.

Twitter | @KRYSSI__

Granted, Knightley wasn't going around promoting Elizabeth Swann as an example to be followed.

One Twitter user got more in-depth with her frustrations about the criticisms.

Twitter | @LoTCosplay

@LoTCosplay, who cosplays as another iconic Disney princess — Belle from Beauty and the Beast— would go on to explain exactly what she meant about just scratching the surface.

Sure, Eric was a part of Ariel's decision-making process, but he was also another fascinating aspect of the human world.

Twitter | @LoTCosplay

So yeah, there's something to be said for having the conversation in the first place, but it's reasonable to question if outright banning the movies is the way to go about it.

@LoTCosplay had some thoughts about the "Cinederella" ban, too.

Twitter | @LoTCosplay

Also a fair point. The Prince didn't really do a whole lot to "rescue" Cinderella. If anything, it was the mice who helped her rescue herself.

It's not Keira Knightley in particular that the Twitter users have an issue with, but rather this pick-and-choose culture of criticism.

Twitter | @LoTCosplay

Which is a reasonable argument, although it doesn't mean that we can't also discuss the squicky and/or problematic parts, too.

One user pointed out that Knightley's parenting strategy seems kind of similar to one of the movies she's banned.

Twitter | @AblBoomGeese

I don't know about "fake morals" since these are good conversations to have, but the Triton comparison isn't out of place.

User @lacupcake_xOxO felt that Kristen Bell's approach was easier to get behind.

Twitter | @lacupcake_xOxO

There's no doubt that the culture we consume can change how we think and feel.

As a parent, it's hard to know when to protect your kids from something and when to try to filter the world so they can learn what they can from it.


At the very least, Keira Knightley and Kristen Bell are making sure that these conversations are happening.