We're used to hearing that Disney and their princesses are not a good influence on young girls growing up. People have argued that they only care about falling in love with a man, they aren't diverse enough, and that they don't serve as good role models for children. Well, we're here to say that's wrong. Yes, we'll admit that some Disney princesses are a reflection of their time. Don't forget that they released Snow White in 1937.
Disney has worked tirelessly to bring their princesses into the 21st century, and we think it's worked. If you look at it carefully, you'll realize these Disney princesses are more empowering than you ever imagined, and you'll be happy to see your child looking up to them one day. These princesses work in STEM fields, love books, and wear pants.
Ariel Is The Only Disney Mom
People like to focus on the fact that Ariel left one man (her father) for another. She even went so far as to get on the wrong side of an evil sea witch to get her man. People also forget that she is the only Disney princess who becomes a mother.
Criticize her all you want, but motherhood is a big part of many women's lives, and Ariel is representing. Ariel raises her twelve-year-old daughter Melody and inspires her to reunite the mer-people and humans.
Jasmine Isn't In The Business Of Listening To Her Father
Jasmine is a representation of the rebellious stage we all went through as teenagers. Her character is only 15-years-old in Aladdin, and so it's no surprise that she becomes sick and tired of listening to her father's antiquated rules.
Life in the royal palace is boring when you're forced to comply with the fact that all your dad cares about is finding you a husband. Jasmine has bigger and better things to be doing with her time.
Belle Is Literally In A STEM Field
Is there anything more 21st century than a female breaking down barriers and becoming an expert in a STEM field? Not only did Belle take care of practically everything around the house, but she also knew just as much as her dad when it came to outrageous engineering feats.
She was the one who knew what screw went where and what wrench to use. Give the girl credit where credit is due because she stepped into a male-dominated field and wrecked it.
Tiana Wants You To Support Small Business
In The Princess and the Frog, Tiana has been working since she was a teenager to elevate herself up from the traditionally female role of a waitress to the position of chef and restaurant owner.
Some people may think that refusing money to open her own restaurant in order to keep her man was an emotional move, but it proves that she is not only driven, but fiercely loyal. Loyal, grounded, and cynical. She is the definition of a millennial woman.
Princesses In Blue Go Against Classic Gender Norms
Have you ever noticed that Jasmine, Belle, Cinderella, Aurora, and Elsa all wear blue? Dressing a princess in blue is one of Disney's favorite things to do. A color expert noted that not only is blue a traditionally male color, but it represents power and strength.
By having a princess wear blue, Disney is subtly reminding young girls that they're empowered too. I bet you never realized how influential a princess's clothes could be.
Cinderella Just Wanted To Be Free
The fact of the matter is that Cinderella didn't exactly have it easy. She spent years in servitude by her not-so-empowered step-mother and step-sisters, but she didn't let it break her down. When an opportunity presents itself that would allow her the chance to create her destiny, she works hard and perseveres.
Cinderella wasn't just trying to get to the castle to meet a prince. She wanted the opportunity to experience something new and choose her own path in life.
Belle's Love Of Books Triumphs Over Female Literacy Rates
We're lucky that America doesn't have to worry about female literacy rates, but that's not the case for the rest of the world. In developing nations, women often don't have the same access to schooling and books as men.
In The Beauty and the Beast, Belle is seen as weird for loving to read, and Gaston even throws her book away. Her love of reading will hopefully continue to make young girls realize that reading is cool.
Pocahontas And Kida Were Tatted Up Before It Was Cool
It may seem like a small thing, but women openly rocking tattoos is a big deal. Princess Kida from Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Pocahontas are the only two Disney princesses with tattoos. Both of them have tribal origins, but their willingness to show them off proudly is inspiring.
While tattoos are now common among women, visible tattoos in workplaces can still be seen as unprofessional. From what I understand, there's nothing unprofessional about being the queen of an ancient lost city.
Mulan Doesn't Need A Royal Connection
Mulan is the only Disney princess who achieved her title without having royal ancestry or marrying into a royal family. As if cutting your hair short, leaving your family home, enlisting in the army, and triumphing over a hoard of Huns wasn't feminist enough.
Her long list of accomplishments is proof that hard work and a good resumé is all you need to achieve your dreams.
Mulan Wears Pants, But They Still Don't Have Pockets
Speaking of Mulan's list of impressive accomplishments, she's one of two Disney princesses with the fashion-forward honor of wearing pants. Jasmine is the other princess who was graced with the ability not to have to deal with thigh chafing. Unfortunately, neither of their pants have pockets.
It's probably because Disney is part of the anti-pocket conspiracy started by the fashion industry that is meant to make women believe that only a purse can carry things like their phone and wallet.
Kida And Elsa Graduated Up To Queens On Their Own Accord
Disney princesses come in all forms, but only two have ever graduated up to become queens. Kida from Atlantis: The Lost World and Elsa from Frozen are the only two we got to watch become crowned queens.
Sadly, neither movie shows what they do under their reign as queen, but Elsa gives off some serious Daenerys Targaryen vibes. Disney, HBO, we're now all waiting for a Game Of Thrones and Frozen crossover event.
Merida Was So Over Traditional Marriages
It seems like Disney princesses trying to escape an arranged marriage by their parents is a way too common theme. Jasmine had to literally fly away from the palace on a magic carpet to get out of one, and Merida had to put up the biggest fight of her life.
Disney stories might be centred around falling in love, but that doesn't mean these women are weak. Falling in love on your own accord and choosing to be with someone you want to be with is as empowering as it gets.
Rapunzel Could Kick Flynn's Butt At Any Moment
Rapunzel from Tangled spent 18 years on her own learning every skill in the book from painting to self-defense. The last thing she was going to do was let a strange man into her house without using her acrobatic skills. Yes, Rapunzel was the one who tied Flynn up, but for once, it was the guy who needed saving.
She may have come off skittish and naive, but she was really in survival mode and continuously assessing her surroundings.
Ana And Elsa Are The Most Realistic Female Duo
Not only did Frozen have a hilarious sidekick Olaf, but it has one of the strongest female duos in Disney history. Ana and Elsa are the most realistic representation of what it's like to bicker with and simultaneously unconditionally love your sister.
They may be a thorn in your side if you're mindlessly falling in love with an evil villain, but they mean well. Only a devoted sibling will engage in a full ice battle to protect you.
Megara Kindly Reminds Hercules That She Doesn't Need Any Saving
Megara from Hercules is not an official Disney princess, but she's one of the most headstrong female characters. She spends the film in servitude to Hades because a former lover betrayed her. If that doesn't resonate with the women of the world, I don't know what does.
On the surface, she may come off as standoffish because she got hurt, but really, she's just finally become independent. Getting hurt once proved to Meg that she doesn't need a man to save her from a river monster. She has herself.
Moana Created Her Own Destiny When She Became Wayfinder
Moana made waves for being Disney's most unapologetically feminist film when it was released, and for a good reason. Moana's entire journey is about fearlessly setting off on her own path. She grows up knowing that one day she'll have to lead her people, but she has to remain confined to the island and away from the ocean.
Moana ends up defying her father's orders to push her limits for the selfless reason of protecting her people.
Esmeralda Fights Social Injustices Like Poverty
One of Disney's most overlooked empowered female is Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. While most of these characters set off to fight for themselves, Esmeralda fights for the rights of others around her. She's part of the persecuted gypsy minority and fights against the elite in France for social injustices like poverty in the streets.
It sounds hard to believe at first, but Esmeralda would have fit right into the Women's March on Washington.
Aurora Shows Us That Silence Does Not Mean Weakness
The three traditional Disney princesses catch the most criticism, and honestly, it's not their faults. Snow White, Aurora, and Cinderella were all written during a different time in history, but that doesn't mean they can't be impactful females. Aurora is particularly critiqued because she speaks a total of 18 lines in the entire film, partially because she spends 75% of the time sleeping.
But when she does speak, her words are impactful and speak out against her family and fairy godmothers keeping her in the dark. Say it like it is, sister.
Pocahontas Was The First To Deny Her Man
Along with her super cool tattoos and eco-conscious values, Pocahontas is unforgettable for being the one Disney princess to completely deny the man she fell in love with. John Smith (the most basic name imaginable) might have been rich and handsome, but his values didn't align with hers. Not to mention the fact that England was a country of dirty factories and pollution at the time. Sorry, but he had to get cut.
Sadly, in Pocahontas 2: Journey to a New World, she caves and travel to England, but at least it was with the intention to bring peace.
Leia Proves A Princess' Place Is In The Resistance
In 2012 when George Lucas sold the Star Wars franchise rights to Disney, people (understandably) freaked out at the fact that Princess Leia could now be considered an official Disney princess. I don't think we need to explain how forward-thinking Carrie Fisher's character was in the Star Wars franchise.
Not only is she a princess but she grows to become a general in the resistance army working to take down an evil empire. Also, she killed a giant slug while rocking a gold bikini.