Keira Knightley just revealed how her Disney ban is going, and her current status is super-relatable
Remember back before you had kids, or even when your kids were super-little? It’s that time when you’re still in the blissful (read: naïve) phase of parenting when you believe that, as a mom, there are certain things you won’t do. You’ll be different, you tell yourself. You won’t let your kid bend your will, you tell yourself. Then reality hits. And that’s where we find Keira Knightley today.
As you may well remember, Knightley — who is mom to Edie, 4, and Delilah, six months — created quite a stir back in 2018 when she revealed she wouldn’t let Edie watch certain Disney movies. Specifically, the actress took issue with certain older fairytale films. Cinderella, for one, because “she waits around for a rich guy to rescue her. Don’t. Rescue yourself obviously.” And while she confessed she adores The Little Mermaid, its message landed it on the no-watch list, too: “Do not give up your voice for a man, hello!”
At the time, Knightley vowed she would remain resolute with regards to her ban. But in this month’s cover interview with Net-a-Porter, the actress came clean. “She’s watched them all now,” Knightley said, faux groaning. But hey, at least some of what she’s been telling Edie has sunk in. “When we watched Sleeping Beauty, she said, ‘It’s not OK that man kissed her without her permission!” Knightley recounted, adding, “I can’t tell you how pleased I was. If I don’t do anything else, I’ve managed to drum that in!”
Welcome to the club, Keira — and don’t feel bad. We mamas totally feel your pain and, sure, a little humbled that we ever thought we’d be able to circumvent some of the same parenting pitfalls the women who came before us fell into. Such is life with little ones. You go in thinking you have everything figured out, and you come out realizing you are now at the mercy of tiny (albeit precious) dictators.
Still, it’s great that Knightley wanted to steer her daughters clear of unhealthy stereotypes. After all, reworking those narratives is something she’s strived to do throughout her career. “As I grew up within the media, the crazy difference between how women were allowed to behave versus how men were allowed to behave was so huge. In a lot of my films, I looked for things that reflected that barrier we come up against,” she explained to the publication.
Not surprisingly, all of the recent projects she’s been drawn to have a uniquely female perspective in that they’re directed by women. That includes her current work in Philippa Lowthorpe’s Misbehaviour, out in the UK on March 13.
And in working with female directors and having women tell their stories, Knightley connected the dots to those fairytale films she once banned. “You need to have women telling their experiences, [which] don’t all stop at happily ever after,” she said. “What the f*** happens after happily ever after?”
Knightley doesn’t believe in presenting the “perfect side” of motherhood, just as she doesn’t believe in a single perfect narrative being the one her daughters think they should aspire to. As she puts it, “the rest of it also exists.” Hear, hear! And praise the powers that be that we now have Disney princesses like Tiana, Moana and Merida to round out those old tropes.