We get it. Disney Princesses are a model of beauty.
But whoever wrote this is completely ignorant to the triumphs behind these beauties, and is obviously judging each storyline at face value, looking only for aspects of the plot that deal with beauty. A more obvious approach could not have been taken.
We get it. They’re pretty. Unrealistic achievements of physical appearance. The same is said for Barbies and celebrities.
Is that all Disney Princesses have to offer children? What to look like?
Snow White teaches us that some apples are truly rotten; you can’t trust everyone to not screw you over.
Sleeping Beauty (Aurora) teaches us that sometimes we must make major sacrifices in order to appease destinies that may be out of our control.
Aladdin (Jasmine) teaches us that social status isn’t everything, and that a knight in shining armor may not be as apparent as you would think.
The Little Mermaid (Ariel) teaches us that two people from two different worlds can unite and destroy adversity, but you must always find your voice in order to do so.
Beauty and the Beast (Belle) teaches us that admitting you were wrong is an important step to seeing eye-to-eye; kindness, brains, and open-mindedness can transform someone’s dungeon into a castle.
Cinderella teaches us that sticking it to the man and doing what you want every once and a while is healthy—don’t take shit from people if they’re keeping you from accomplishing goals.
So yeah, Disney princesses and heroines are beautiful, but there is much more to be taken from their stories than appearances. There are real values to be had here.
Let’s not leave out other Disney princesses and heroines—new and old.
Pocahontas teaches us that if someone enters your world who may not be welcomed, show them why your world is important and special to form understanding.
Tangled (Rapunzel) teaches us that breaking free from chains that ground us can be a leap of great faith that may just land us on the road to realizing our dreams.
The Princess and the Frog (Tiana) teaches us that determination and getting your hands dirty can lead to great benefits, but you must also always remember to have a little fun and “dig a little deeper”.
Mulan teaches us that even though others may step in your way, you must stand up and fight for what you believe, and that is the truest display of honor.
And let’s not forget…
Hercules (Megara) teaches us that even though we may make huge mistakes, there is always an opportunity to right those mistakes, but you must be open to the opportunity.
Atlantis (Kidagadesh) teaches us that when we are constantly looking for miracles, the magic will always, in the end, reside within us.
Tarzan (Jane) teaches us that it’s a jungle out there, but you can find love and kindness if you learn to swing from the vines.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Esmeralda) teaches us that labels given to a person from society do not define who that person is or what they are capable of.
Alice in Wonderland (Alice) teaches us that using your imagination can be not only a wonderful escape, but your greatest ally.
Peter Pan (Tinker Bell) teaches us that even though we may have extremes in our personalities, we should always know when to put aside our tempers and fight for a common good.
Enchanted (Giselle) teaches us that the real world may be scary and a little bit gross, and that both heroes and villains can be difficult to differentiate between when in the real world.
These are the tales behind the beauty.
“You’re a regulation hottie. Own it.”
And now I can add Princess Merida (Brave) to the list of extraordinary Disney heroines. She teaches us that fate is yours to shape.
Dear Annie Phantom,
NO. Just NO.
Pocahontas teaches women it is good to leave your family for a man you love, even if he does not understand you. (btw’s Pocahontas converts to christianity and lives out her life in England)
Tangled is trapped by her youth and beauty by another woman, her supposed mother. Trusts a random male stranger who does not mean her well but then eventually comes around to her salvation. Role model?
The Princess and The Frog: my most loathed disney movie. All the other princesses get a castle- the African American princess gets a fucking restaurant where she can happily live out her days serving others. Oh also she is queen of the swamp. Would you like to be queen of the swamp?
Mulan honorably defends her family and saves her troop. What is her happy ending? Being married to the man who’s life she saved. So while she may go on a rebellious adventure, she ultimately settles into servitude.
In Hercules Megara is not the protagonist. Yet she is always dependent on a man, as much as she may say she doesn’t like them (boyfriend, Hades, Hercules).
Kidagadesh (Atlantis) is used as a tool by villans, lacking agency to protect herself she must be rescued.
In Tarzan we again see a woman willing to give up her whole family and previous life for one man. Also Jane Goodall’s groundbreaking primatological research (true life) are treated as “oh look the woman is going out and observing things- how foolish and charming!” and she of course gets into life threatening danger whenever she goes off alone. Women shouldn’t really go off alone.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Racism towards gypsies…
Alice in Wonderland: I wouldn’t define Alice as a princess. She’s a little girl, has no male counterpoint, and was written by Lewis mothafuckin’ Carol. So what you said is all good here.
Tinker Bell is the foil to the princess model. Both in Peter Pan and the constant marketing of T-Bell products since, Tink is the “whore” representation of the virgin/whore dichotomy. She lives with a bunch of guys in the woods, and when a respectable woman comes along she hates her and tries to kill her. She does not obey Peter- she pursues her own interests, which of course result in the near death of her whole group.
Enchanted is one of my favorite movies. McDreamy, Idina Mendzel, that adorable redhead, that kid- adorable! But Giselle is just another princess who picked a ‘real’ husband over a prince. Note the pattern? She still cleans and is pretty and gets married. Because that is what Disney teaches us that women do. You must be pretty, you must be subservient. That is what women are.
A side note on supporting characters: with the exception of Pocahontas, these princesses never have a human companion. There are parents, suitors, villans, and cute talking animals. Why? because if friends are repsented by animals the quality of friendship is irrelevant and there are no other women in the story to compare these women’s stories to. There is no “Jasmine gets married to Aladdin and her best friend Raja becomes an advisor in the court” or some shit. Isn’t it odd that the largest collection of role models for young girls says nothing about having friendship? Only husbands?
I didn’t used to super care about princess structures. I like most of these movies, if we’re being honest. However, when my baby cousins (who mean the world to me) calmly explained that they don’t need to go to college because princesses are happier with boyfriends- not college I lost my shit. When overdone, these movies shape girls’ views of womanhood. By overdone I mean they have the movies, the easy readers, the dolls, the shirts, the pj’s. They stew in it. While mom and dad watch television and go to work, they stay in their room surrounded by princess-land. Waiting to grow up to be unrealistically beautiful and married by someone who will improve their standing in life significantly. This is a given.
Except it won’t be, because that isn’t how life works.
First off, it makes me really happy that you addressed me as “Annie Phantom”. This is not sarcastic— I seriously wish that that was actually my name. It’s awesome.
I don’t know what Pocahontas movie you were watching, but I’m thinking it must have been Pocahontas 2, in which she goes to England (it couldn’t have been the first one because Pocahontas is like “naw bitch my heart belongs with my people” which is excellent btw).
Anyways, in the second one, Pocahontas hears that John Smith has died, and she ACTUALLY FUCKING MOVES ON. It’s like, “man that royally sucks but my heart lies with my people”.
So these Englishmen come to Jamestown and she volunteers to go to war with them, and the men at first don’t like Pocahontas because she has too much of an independent spirit. But Grandmother Willow is like “listen to your spirit within and go kick some ass” so she STOWS AWAY ON THE SHIP TO GO TO WAR. All the while thinking John Smith is dead. At the end it turns out that John Smith has been alive, living as a hooded man in the woods.
And then guess what. This is the best part.
John Smith is like “hey I want to get married and travel the world with you, Pocahontas”
and she’s all “dude I’m sorry but our time together is done”. John Smith respects her choice, lightly kisses her hand, and bids her goodbye.
She reveals that she is instead in love with John Rolfe, who has come to firmly believe in Pocahontas over the course of the movie.
While she’s on a ship headed back to her home, thinking she has left Rolfe behind, he shows-up on the ship. Pocahontas is all “man you have a duty to the king” and he’s like “but I also have a duty to my heart” or something like that, and they sail off for Pocahontas’s home.
Anyways, yeah. I don’t think you and I watched the same Pocahontas movies? I don’t know. They’re worth a watch if you haven’t.
And yeah, Rapunzel is trapped by her youth and beauty by her mother, who has kept her isolated in a tower for eighteen years. Then, yes, a random male stranger climbs into her tower, the first person besides her mom to be in her tower all her life, and offers to escort her to the one thing she’s only ever really wanted: to see the lights, not to be married. Not to live in servitude to a man all her life.
To see the lights.
She’s been locked-up for eighteen years by her evil “mother”. She’s never set foot on the ground. Do you really think it mattered what gender the “random male stranger” was? I’m pretty sure if a woman climbed-up into her tower and offered her the same thing, Rapunzel would take it.
To your Princess and the Frog thing, I just. Okay. Um.
I’m just not sure you got the premise of the movie is all. The point was that her and Naveen didn’t need a castle or lots of money to be happy. And Tiana had been working toward owning her own restaurant all her life..
I think what you may be confusing “queen of the swamp” with is “staying true to your roots”.
Mulan. Seriously? Mulan is an unbelievably strong female character. JUST BECAUSE SHE FELL IN LOVE AND GOT MARRIED DOES NOT MEAN SHE IS GOING TO LIVE A LIFE OF SERVITUDE. Believe it or not, you can have a partnership with someone and still be independent goddamn
Megara is enslaved by Hades. That’s a lot to carry on your own. Man, how dare she be dependent on anyone when she’s being forced to do the caretaker of the underworld’s dirty work.
You’ll just have to further explain your argument for Kida because I’m not sure I get what you’re trying to say.
In regards to the “oh look the woman is going out and observing things- how foolish and charmind!” bit towards Jane, don’t you think that she got to be fully enriched by Tarzan’s culture in the course of the movie?
I just want you to consider one character as opposed to Jane, and tell me who’s character arc is more fulfilled in regards to gender:
Again, I’ll need more substance for your argument against The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I think the point you’re trying to make comes from a more historical context than you’re letting on.
I never said Alice was a princess (I listed heroines as well as princesses).
Okay, I’m feelin’ your vibe on the whole “Tink represents the whole virgin/whore dichotomy” thing. But get this— remember when Wendy becomes jealous of Tiger Lily when Tiger Lily kisses Peter? This parallels Tink’s jealousy towards Wendy.
I just really fucking like that. I didn’t think about it until just now, and it’s really cool. How Disney made jealousy an all-encompassing emotion, felt by the well-mannered, maternal, virgin-representation of Wendy, and then the more provocative figure of TinkerBell.
Also, I don’t know if you’re trying to imply that having a character of Tink’s nature is bad, but, if you are, it isn’t. The fact that she tries to kill Wendy is bad. That’s what leads to the “near death of the whole group”.
You can feel whatever you want to feel and dress however you want to dress. Disney is not trying to refute that (Taylor Swift is though). But however you feel shouldn’t lead to you trying to kill people.
Okay I’m kind of getting restless, but Giselle fell in love and got married in a place of imperfection— that place being Earth. Which is really fucking imperfect. If taking a storybook princess out of a seemingly-perfect, fairytale world and putting her in our reality and having her find “true love” is brilliant. It’s brilliant. That’s what you need to take from that.
So here’s a couple things before I keep going:
-Having a character that is dependent in some way upon another character does not make that character weak.
-Getting married does not mean you become subservient to men.
This might just be me, but I think that the nonhuman element of friendship is still friendship. That you are still able to recognize and establish them as the character’s friend.
But I’d like you to think about these sets of characters:
*Lumier and Cogsworth
*Jaq and Gus
*The dwarfs and Snow White
*The fairies in Sleeping Beauty
*Mushu and Cricket
*Yao, Chien-Po, and Ling
*Terk, Tantor, and Tarzan
Now some of these—Tarzan and Snow White— are like actual protagonists in the films or whatever. But check out the other characters— although they may not be super tight with the protagonists or anything, they are separate sub-stories of friendship that I think you’re overlooking.
My favorite of these are Lumier and Cogsworth, which, if you’ve seen Beauty and the Beast, have an absolutely beautiful friendship.
Sorry if I’m being confusing. I’m actually writing this late at night but I’ll probably post it sometime tomorrow. If you need any clarification, just let me know.
Also, I’m super confused on why you only tried to argue the second half of my list… Honestly, characters like Snow White, Aurora, Cinderella, and even Ariel are much easier to attack for dependence on a man. The characters you picked are really able to hold their own, in my opinion.
Like, Ariel hardly even has a conversation with Eric before marrying him, which is troubling. I would have a hard time refuting that one, so feel free to use it against me.