Ask any young girl who her favorite Disney character is, and chances are pretty good that you will get the name of a Disney princess in reply. It’s not surprising, considering there are a large number of Disney movies that feature a princess (or even two). Based on the merchandising success of the Disney Princesses line, it’s hard to believe that anyone could have ever been opposed to the idea. But the story goes that Roy E. Disney, nephew of Walt and son of Roy O., was against making them into their own franchise. Thankfully he relented, and the rest is merchandising history. Whether a young girl’s favorite princess falls into the “official” line of Disney Princesses or stands alone on her own doesn’t really matter. They inspire the dreams of children generation after generation. And they embody a number of attributes that can be admirable and deserving of emulation. There are in fact a lot of things to love about Disney Princesses. With the help of my own four Disney Princesses, here are some more of the things we love:
1. They Are Diverse
In the past, speaking about the diversity of the Disney princesses would have only been accurate if you were discussing their hair color. For over 50 years, the Disney princesses were pretty homogenous. But Disney has rectified the transgressions of the past by featuring a number of princesses in their movies who are truly diverse. Aladdin’s Jasmine led the way in 1992 by introducing a princess of Middle Eastern descent. In rapid succession, we also saw a Native American princess in Pocahontas, an Asian princess in Mulan, and an African American princess in Tiana, as well as a Polynesian princess with the release of Moana. Brave’s Merida introduced diversity of body type by featuring a princess with a more realistic shape. Disney has done a great job of introducing princesses that are more and more relatable to their core audience.
2. They Can Do Anything Boys Can Do
Disney princesses are no longer relegated to just playing the damsel in distress. Mulan is perhaps the best and most outstanding example of a Disney princess proving her worth against the men. But Merida’s abilities with a bow and arrow also rival – and surpass – those of the men around her. And Pocahontas is as physically tough as they come.
3. They Are Intelligent
Not only are princesses intelligent, they are unapologetically so. Belle is a prime example of this. She is well read and isn’t afraid who knows it. She even gets a zinger in on “primeval” Gaston, though he’s not bright enough to understand he’s been insulted. Rapunzel by her own admission also enjoys a good book, as well as chess, puzzles, and assorted crafts like candle making, pottery, and paper mache.
4. They Are Concerned About the Environment
Disney princesses care about the world around them. And while Ariel was quite literally in touch with the ocean, Pocahontas remains the true environmentalist of the bunch. She also tries to impart this knowledge and concern for the flora and fauna of the world on John Smith, introducing him to the beauty of nature, so she could quite possibly be considered the first activist Disney Princess also.
5. They Work Hard
Disney princesses know how to put in an honest day’s work. Cinderella may be unrivaled in her ability to work based on the fact that she maintained a large home while having to clean up after her lazy stepsisters. On the other hand, Snow White’s cottage may have been smaller but she had seven housemates to clean up after. And Mulan not only trained hard to blend in with the men, she also fought in battles. Disney princesses know how to roll up their sleeves and get the job done!
6. They Are Brave
Bravery may be a trait that some would associate with princes more than princesses, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Mulan’s bravery in facing battle is well known, and Merida is so brave that it’s even the name of her movie. But other Disney princesses display this attribute as well. Belle is extremely brave in facing confinement with the Beast, not to mention facing talking furniture, and Anna couldn’t have been braver in putting herself between her sister and danger.
7. They Don’t Give Up On Their Dreams
Disney princesses tend to be optimistic and have great hope for the future. But their perseverance in the face of great odds is one of their most wonderful characteristics. Rapunzel has a dream to one day get out of the tower and go see the lights in the sky, and even sings about it. Tiana has an even more tangible dream, to open her own restaurant, and she works hard her whole life to make that dream a reality.
8. They Believe in True Love
Disney princesses know the power of true love, and true love is a recurring theme in nearly all of their movies. And while some of them jump a little too quickly into love – we’re looking at you, Anna – they nonetheless recognize its beauty and power. Belle sees through the Beast’s exterior and loves him for who he truly is, saving him in the process. Anna saves Elsa’s life because of the power of sisterly love. Snow White knows that she has to be patient, but that true love will come into her life.
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9. They Understand Sacrifice
Good things often come at a cost, and Disney princesses are no strangers to this concept. Some of the decisions that they make are truly selfless. The entire reason that Mulan has to work to blend in with the rest of Li Shang’s troops is that she took her elderly father’s place in the army to spare him from going to war again. Pocahontas is willing to sacrifice herself to save John Smith. Ariel sacrifices her voice for a chance at love with Prince Eric. Anna sacrifices herself to save Elsa from Hans’ sword strike. Disney princesses truly epitomize the concept of giving something up to help someone or to achieve a noble goal.
10. They Are Independent
Disney princesses stand on their own two feet. Merida is bold and adventurous, wandering the forests of her kingdom alone. Tiana pursues her dream of owning her own restaurant by working and raising money on her own to see that it happens. Jasmine doesn’t want to be defined by the man she will marry, but instead wants to make the choice herself. She isn’t afraid to speak her mind and isn’t afraid who hears her. Even Aurora grows into a confident and independent young woman away from royal life and under the guidance of her good fairy “aunts”.
With so many wonderful traits and attributes, Disney princesses are worthy of the admiration and devotion of the children and adults who love them. Which Disney princess is your favorite and what is your favorite thing about her?
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