Disney princesses have evolved from waiting to be rescued by a charming prince on a white horse (Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella) to being strong and fearless but still need a prince (Mulan, Belle, Pocahontas) and to being bold and fierce independently (Merida, Moana).
It is quite interesting to see that women’s roles over the past century has been represented in Disney’ princesses. They vary from being helpless creatures into women who exactly know what they want and how to achieve it. Disney princesses have surely changed along with the women’s movement.
However there is a note about this evolution. According to Rebecca Hains (an associate professor of advertising and media studies at Salem State University, USA) Disney princesses and princes culture are bad for the girls. I quoted Hains on this:
The Disney Princess brand suggests that a girl’s most valuable asset is her beauty, which encourages an unhealthy preoccupation with physical appearance. The brand also implies that girls should be sweet and submissive, and should expect a man to come to their rescue in an act of love at first sight. Although newer characters like Elsa, Anna, Merida and Rapunzel behave in ways that correct these ideas, as a whole, the brand remains out of step with modern ideas about raising girls.
I agree with Hains on The Disney Princess brand suggests that a girl’s most valuable asset is her beauty. Read her article inserted in the link above to understand this better. Sadly beauty still sells products. People are attracted to it. The road is still long, we take one step at the time.
Nevertheless I was enthusiast after watching Moana, the Polynesian Disney princess in december last year. She is not the stereotype Disney princess like her predecessors. Moana’s dream is to sail the endless big sea. She doesn’t long for a prince, Moana is eager to get on the ship and sail away. She is yearning for adventure. She feels that she needs to save the world and does it on her own. The message to children both boys and girls; girls can achieve what they want.
This post is written to celebrate International Women’s Day today. This year’s theme is Be Bold for change. Moana is surely one bold Disney princess.
Happy International Women’s Day!
Picture is courtesy of Disney.