English / Film / Thoughts / Women

IWD: The evolution of Disney princesses

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.

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19 thoughts on “IWD: The evolution of Disney princesses

  1. Haven’t seen Moana, but Merida captivated me. Her issue with her mom and her view on marriage resonated with my self and I love her red curly hair πŸ™‚

  2. Moana oh Moana….its almost everyday played in our house mba yo. Gantian aja trus Trolls and Moana. Aku aja nonton belum full…but true jangan princes yang menye2 lagi cerita disneynya…dah ga jaman πŸ˜ƒ

    • Oh ya? Di rumah sempat Frozen fever ngga? Aku udah lewat masanya mesti nonton film-film kaya gini. Iya bener, bagus ya kalo dipikir Disney ikuti perkembangan jaman.

  3. Happy International Women’s Day!!

    I really like it that Disney has introduced new princesses to “evolve” along with the world! πŸ™‚

  4. Kayaknya personalityku jatuh ke Disney Princess tahap 2: Independent women but still need a man. Makanya sampe sekarang princess favoritku tetap Belle dan/atau Mulan πŸ˜€ atau memang ketiga princess tadi muncul saat aku masih kecil kali ya, jadi ide-ide mereka tertanam erat di kepribadianku karena waktu kecil disodori film mereka terus.

    • Aku suka Mulan. Jamanku kuliah udah ada Pocahontas. Semuanya badass Crys. Di era itu mulai mandiri sih putri-putri Disney ini kecuali Ariel yang beneran dreamy ya.

  5. So agree with this! Beberapa waktu lalu saya mikir ini banget, karakter princess di disney skrg udah berevolusi jadi cewe2 tangguh. Ada satu lagi yg saya suka: Elena from Avalor, belum ada movie nya sih, skrg baru serial di disney junior aja. But she’s bold, too πŸ™‚

  6. Postingan yang pas untuk hari wanita. Oya Merida itu memang mirip Moana setelah diingat-ingat. Sebetulnya hero perempuan banyak diterima juga dipasaran dan Disney agak ketinggalan disini, Studio Ghibli dengan Nausicaa of The Valley of The Wind sudah memulainya belasan tahun lampau.

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