Many of us grew up loving Disney movies. We quickly fell in love with Belle, Princess Jasmine, Princess Ariel, and recently Rapunzel, Princess Tiana, and Moana. We missed some crucial realities regarding the Disney princesses as we were wrapped up in the great songs and Disney magic.
Although Disney has worked hard in the last few years to present more diverse, independent, hard-working females in their films, if we think about it for a while- we might realize that it took Disney way to look to do so.
We don’t want to ruin the magic, but there are some realities we want to bring to the forefront when it comes to Disney princesses.
They Need Rescuing
Even though many films portray the female character as strong and independent, if we step back for a moment, we will realize that they still often need rescuing by someone- typically a Disney prince. Even in a more recent film, we see Moana only able to accomplish her goal with Maui’s help.
Ariel needs Prince Eric, Aladdin saves Jasmine, Snow White and Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), both need a kiss from their own Prince Charming and Prince Phillip, and even strong-willed and independent Tiana and Rapunzel rely on the male characters to help achieve their goals.
In Wish (2023), we see Asha work with her community to overcome the evil forces in her community. No love interest or male character steps in to help her.
We hope that Disney continues moving in this direction regarding Disney princesses.
Lack of Diversity
One major issue regarding Disney princesses is the need for more diversity seen in the films. In The Princess and the Frog (2009), Tiana featured the first Black Disney princess. Although this was a big step forward for Disney, since we saw the first princess in 1937 with Snow White, it took too long to take this step.
We have seen more diversity with Mirabel in Encanto (2021) Asha in Wish (2023) these two main characters aren’t officially Disney princesses. Raya and the Last Dragon (2021) did feature another princess of diversity, but audiences desire more from Disney.
Another struggle when it comes to Disney princesses revolves around their families. The majority of Disney princesses face family struggles. Disney princesses face family struggles such as singular family units or unsupportive family members.
Maribel’s family is close, but throughout the film, it becomes clear that there are many struggles. Ariel, Jasmine, and Belle all face single parents who struggle to support their dreams. Even Moana pulled to save her family and community, must first deceive her family.
We appreciate showing different family dynamics in films, and many believe that showing solid and supportive families could be suitable for young audiences.
Disney princesses are a massive part of our childhood and continue to be a big part of the Disney magic for us. As Disney continues to make movies featuring Disney princesses, we hope they address some of these concerns.