Bat Mitzvah: A Balancing Act

A few months back, I dragged my 12-year-old, Harry-Potter-enthusiast sister to go with me to see the new Disney princess movie Tangled (which retells the Rapunzel story). In one part of the film, Rapunzel has just escaped from the tower against her mother’s wishes and is encountering the World, and her independence, for the first time.

(Watch the clip here.) While her companion patiently waits for her to come to terms with her new-found freedom, Rapunzel goes from one extreme to the other, from excitement to shame and worry. As I watched, and as I watched my sister watch, I realized that this moment in the movie captures perfectly the tumult, terror, and thrill of the “bat-mitzvah-age” years.

While I have my own, fairly predictable qualms about the way women are portrayed in the world of Disney, this was a moment when I thought to myself “Whoa, Disney. You hit the nail on the head this time.”


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