Defence for Disney Princesses

| January 28, 2014 | 3 Comments

tumblr_m6xo9hqkwN1qe0tgxo1_400I’m really sick of people saying that the Disney princesses are no good as role models for children. Some people are mad because their lives seem to center around getting married. But those people are so wrong. They’re a collection of some of the most badass heroes on television.

Let’s begin with my favorite princess, Ariel, from The Little Mermaid (1989). People have argued that she wants to change who she is just for a guy. However, she wanted legs far before she knew who Prince Eric was. And it’s not like she never gets to know him. We see through their adventures in the kingdom that Eric is a super sweetheart. Ariel has big dreams, and she’ll do anything to achieve them (even though Ursula is a bit sketchy). Sometimes the place where we’re born just isn’t right for us, and we need to have the courage to break away.
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Mulan and Belle are two of my other favorites, and they’re clearly excellent role models. Mulan basically saves all of China on her own. And Belle is intelligent and well-read, and she helps the Beast become a good person with her unwavering kindness.

Cinderella, Aurora, and Snow White all seem to fall in love at first sight with the first man that comes along. But Cinderella is basically a slave for three wicked bitches. Who wouldn’t run away with a handsome prince to get rid of them? Aurora happens to be extremely mature for a sixteen-year old-girl. Maybe she’s a tad bit passive, but most of the things that happen in Sleeping Beauty (1959) are out of her control. And Snow White seems like an idiot for taking a bite out of that apple, but let’s not forget that the huntsman tells her she’s going to be killed and she, at age 14, runs through a terrifying forest on her own. How many of us could have done that? I mean, that place was scary!
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Now let’s talk about Jasmine and Pocahontas, the earlier diverse princesses. Sure, they wear skimpy outfits, but they fit with their cultures, and they’re incredibly tough. Some might want to say that too many of the princesses are white, especially white and blonde. But although there is evidence that Walt Disney was racist and anti-Semetic, he didn’t write these stories originally. They’re fairy tales dating way before Disney made his movies. The princesses fit descriptions of the old tales (tales as old as time), and they’re historically accurate. Snow White is from Germany, Belle and Cinderella are from France, Ariel is Danish, and Aurora is, according to my research, either German or English, and most of them are born into royal families, so it makes sense for them to be white, considering the time periods. In fact, Rapunzel is the first white princess since Belle in 1991.

And of course, in 2009 we were given our first black princess, Tiana. We were given our first unmarried princess, Merida, in 2012. Our royal Disney role models are getting better and better — but the originals aren’t as bad as people think. So let’s stop saying the stories are racist and the characters are anti-feminist. The Disney princesses are awesome people and true heroes.

featured image credit: All Disney Princesses by CandaceApril

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Category: Philosophy and Religion, Social Activism, The (Sex)es

Kate Conroy

About the Author ()

Kate Conroy comes from a small town in South Jersey where she has two little sisters and a cat named Pavarotti. She is a Leo and an English major, and she will compulsively correct your grammar. She started writing fiction when she was ten, and she has been working on her debut novel for the past three years. Her hobbies include painting, knitting, making tv references, and accidentally taking naps. Follow her on twitter: @K4TE8

Comments (3)

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  1. DS says:

    a few things:

    1. pretty sure mulan is not a princess. i don’t think her father was any kind of royalty. fabulous role model, just not a princess.

    2. i’ve written many things, but it is amazing to me that my blog post about the disney princesses is one of the most popular things i’ve ever posted. here’s the link:

    http://brainsnorts.com/2013/08/03/the-princesses-2/

    3. in case you’re not interested in reading the blog post, here is my ranking of the seven (this was written before there was a tiana) princesses. my reasoning is in the above blog post link.

    1. belle
    2. pocahontas
    3. jasmine
    4. aurora
    5. ariel
    6. snow white
    7. cinderella

  2. Loves Disney says:

    1. They use incredibly general and inaccurate outfits, so no, they don’t fit their culture
    2. You can’t use historical accuracy as an excuse for movies with magic and other inaccuracies.

    You can like something and still criticize it. I love Disney, especially Frozen. But I would really like it if white people stopped telling us to stop thinking of the race of the characters. Disney IS too white, and it’s okay to acknowledge that. The media has incredible effects on people, ignoring it doesn’t make it go away.

  3. Regina says:

    I like this article. Fairy tales were written for enjoyment for children who do not look at the characters in color.
    As a child when I read the stories color nor shapes ever came into my mind I was simply transported to another place.

    Looking forward to next blog.

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