Disney Empowering Princesses Everywhere!

20 Mar

3rd article in our 5 week series on Disney!

Since Walt Disney gave us our first princess in 1937, Snow White, numerous princesses have been created and brought into millions of homes all over the world.  We are going to look at how they have evolved and changed and what the future holds.

Snow White is a very kind, happy, optimistic princess, but she didn’t seem to do much except cook and clean. Cinderella is another very well known princess and was not created until 13 years after Snow White!  She too is very optimistic and caring, but was the cook, cleaner, seamstress, and doormat for her stepmother and sisters.  Following our rags to riches princess, we were given Aroura, commonly known as Sleeping Beauty.  She was created in 1959.  We know she is kind, talks with animals and is great at picking berries, but she sleeps through most of her own film.  Each of these princesses seems to need a prince to save them from their “doom”.  Maybe this was ok for the older generation, but as we have progressed as women, it seems our princesses need a bit of a makeover as well.

After Aurora graced our culture, it wouldn’t be for another 30 years that we would be introduced to our next generation of princesses.  Ariel is princess number fourth, followed almost yearly by Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, and Mulan.  11 years later came Tiana, Rapunzel, and soon to join the princess rank, Merida.[1]

The second generation of princesses seemed to take on stronger personalities: wanting to educate themselves, do more, be more adventurous, and take more action.  The third generation seems to have gone a step further and promote a stronger sense of self and independence.  There is still a prince involved, but he is not there to “save the damsel in distress.” He acts more like a partner and encourages the princess personal growth.

Despite Rapunzel being locked up for years, instead of staying shy and afraid to see the world, she jumps in feet first exhausting her partner in crime, Eugene.  She wants to see and do it all and she isn’t afraid.

Merida isn’t ready for a relationship quite yet and still wants to become her own person and get married when she is ready.  Despite her independence and physical strengths, she still has a bit of maturing to do.

 

It seems Disney is trying to give our daughters stronger role models other than those with beauty.  The video they created provides qualities of a princess both internally and externally.

What stood out to you in this video?  What do you think princesses will be like in the future?  How do you think this will affect young girls today and tomorrow, particularly when HW still pushes the very opposite?

Also see: Life of Walt Disney

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114 Responses to “Disney Empowering Princesses Everywhere!”

  1. parisienne March 20, 2013 at 12:57 PM #

    LB,

    Awesome video. I don’t think its Disney’s job though to teach young girls how to act. That’s the job of the child’s parents. Disney didn’t birth these girl. The man has been in a cemetary in CA for years. In regards to Aurora and all the other princesses, Aurora was the way she was because she was brought up in the middle ages. Their times were different than ours. Same goes for all the other princesses.

    • littlebells March 20, 2013 at 1:11 PM #

      I don’t think it’s Disney’s job either, but unfortunately some parents don’t parent. I do get that the older princesses were doing what their times were, but how does that explain Merida? I’m not arguing with you by the way, 🙂 but she isn’t our time either and she’s a lot more independent and fierce than the others.

      • parisienne March 20, 2013 at 8:45 PM #

        I know you’re not. We don’t argue. I think that Merida is a princess for our time. Not back then. Most girls today are taught to be independent, free thinkers. Unless they were raised in a cult a woman should be able to pretty much take care of herself.

        • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 9:28 AM #

          What do u think about this?

          “According to Pew Research Center, the share of women ages eighteen to thirty-four that say having a successful marriage is one of the most important things in their lives rose nine percentage points since 1997 – from 28 percent to 37 percent. For men, the opposite occurred. The share voicing this opinion dropped, from 35 percent to 29 percent.”

            • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 11:38 AM #

              Not to take anything away from LB’s wonderful article. However, I posted this article above to support the wonderful dialog and debate about how young girls view themselves today?

              In this article, some of the ideas about men and women competing in the work place and women not seeing men as their only way for security are big issues being discussed in the media. It would be interesting to know your thoughts after reading this article in helping me understand why the most bankable character for Disney today are princesses.

              • parisienne March 21, 2013 at 4:05 PM #

                OB,

                A princess will always be Disney’s bread and butter. Just like families will always be their bread and butter as well. That will never change. Ever. If they don’t have a fairytale story to pull one from they will make one up. Its what Disney does best.

                Regarding the article you posted, I must say I skimmed it. Honestly, I think women are just as capable as men in any capacity but our society has been taught that men are stronger and can do more things than a women ever could.

                • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 7:10 PM #

                  “our society has been taught that men are stronger and can do more things than a women ever could.”

                  That’s what’s sad. Women would be stronger and could do more things if one hand weren’t tied behind their backs. I personally believe if men need to marginalize women to eliminate the competition then they are only making the competition creatively stronger and worse for themselves in the long run. However, I am glad to hear u say u think women are just as capable as men. I wish more people felt the way u do.

      • Open Book March 20, 2013 at 10:14 PM #

        What about the future like Princess Leia in Star Wars? I like Princess Leia.

        • parisienne March 21, 2013 at 4:05 PM #

          What about her mom Padme Amidala? She kicked some butt too.

          • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 7:12 PM #

            Oh! Yes, I loved Padme too.

  2. Comic Relief March 20, 2013 at 8:55 PM #

    LB,

    Thanks for writing this article; I have frequently wondered about this topic.

  3. Open Book March 20, 2013 at 10:06 PM #

    Hi Everyone-

    LB-Great article and I like the video it’s very empowering for young girls. Yeah! I don’t think its Disney’s job to raise young girls but I think all big corporations have to be socially responsible for the products they put out. Given the fact they are in the dream and imagination making business the images they produce for girls need to empower just like they do for boys. The video up above is a move in the right direction. However, why do little girls want to be princesses today anyway? Why not doctors, scientist or presidents? What’s wrong with being a leader a innovator?

    • littlebells March 21, 2013 at 8:21 PM #

      Again looking at this from a different angle, with so many kids exposed to so many varieties of media, it makes sense that Disney is doing its part to encourage young girls to be their best selves instead of skanky hos, like most media. For a lot of children, this may be the only positive exposure they get! K, separate post for part two. 🙂

      • ozzie20 March 21, 2013 at 8:46 PM #

        I loved the video for the same reason as OB. Yes it shouldn’t be Disney’s job to raise kids but today’s world is complicated. You have parents who are content to let their children be raise by the TV and not teach them anything. You’ve got parents who are busy working and trying to raise them at the same time. Some lessons get lost along the way in the rush of life. Then you have parents who are fortunate enough to be there for their child without having to work extra time or taking 2nd or 3rd jobs to survive. Even then they can’t control everything that breeds negativity. So anything that can help is a good thing.

        • Open Book March 22, 2013 at 5:47 PM #

          Ozzie- Your comment reminds me of a story I heard awhile ago. “Two men are in a boat. One of them notices the boat is sinking. Guy one ask guy two to plug up the hole next to him. Guy two ask; What for the hole isn’t under me?” The point of the story. Just because something doesn’t impact u directly it still effects your environment. Anyway, its nice Disney is trying, maybe other media companies will follow.

          • ozzie20 March 22, 2013 at 9:06 PM #

            I like that story!

  4. littlebells March 21, 2013 at 6:50 PM #

    Hi everyone!

    I have to run to the library to get next month’s book, so I will be a little late, but I WILL BE HERE!!! Lots to add and say. 🙂

    • parisienne March 21, 2013 at 7:11 PM #

      Hi Everyone!

    • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 7:12 PM #

      Hi LB & Paris!

      • parisienne March 21, 2013 at 7:15 PM #

        Hi OB! How are you?

        • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 7:15 PM #

          I’m great. How are u?

          • parisienne March 21, 2013 at 7:19 PM #

            I’m great!

  5. Open Book March 21, 2013 at 7:20 PM #

    I must say I’ve worked with great men who don’t feel threaten by over achieving women or feel they need to marginalize them to get ahead.

    • parisienne March 21, 2013 at 7:24 PM #

      That’s great! Why do you think they felt non-threatened?

      • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 7:37 PM #

        Sorry, I had to think.

        Hmm! I don’t know? I wouldn’t be the best person to ask but I grew up with brothers who always challenged me academically and professionally. I guess this made me not shy away from challenges or hard work. I guess because of that they don’t feel threatened.

        • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 7:46 PM #

          I meant to say. I guess because I don’t feel threatened men don’t feel threatened. Does that make sense?

          • parisienne March 21, 2013 at 8:20 PM #

            yes!

  6. Open Book March 21, 2013 at 7:25 PM #

    Everyone-

    I know we’ve discussed this before. However, What are some characteristics u find attractive other than the way a person looks?

    • parisienne March 21, 2013 at 7:28 PM #

      their intelligence. I like to be able to carry on a conversation with someone/

      How the person makes you feel is important. One doesn’t want to feel look down upon or overbearing.

      • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 7:44 PM #

        Yes! ITA with all the above.

      • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 7:50 PM #

        I’m sorry I keep getting pulled away. I will be right back.

      • littlebells March 21, 2013 at 8:16 PM #

        Don’t forget sense of humor!!!

        • parisienne March 21, 2013 at 8:19 PM #

          Yes! that’s a must have.

        • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 8:19 PM #

          Oh yes! What kind of humor do u like best? Dry, Bathroom or Slapstick?

          • littlebells March 21, 2013 at 8:23 PM #

            A little of everything but mostly dry/sarcastic. But it depends on how the other person delivers and how I interpret it. 🙂

            • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 8:28 PM #

              Yeah! I like dry too.

              • ozzie20 March 21, 2013 at 8:48 PM #

                I’m going to add integrity to the list!

                • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 8:59 PM #

                  Ooooo! Yes, this is a must.

                  How about humility?

                  • ozzie20 March 21, 2013 at 9:10 PM #

                    That’s a good one too!

                    • Open Book March 22, 2013 at 5:52 PM #

                      I also listed some more along with everyones great list of characteristics below.

  7. Open Book March 21, 2013 at 8:01 PM #

    Paris-I’m back. Sorry!

    Your statement made me think of my favorite quote. “Watch your thoughts; for they become words. Watch your words; for they become actions. Watch your actions; for they become habits. Watch your habits; for they become character. Watch your character for it will become your destiny.” Its by Frank Outlaw

    Do u have a favorite quote?

    • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 8:10 PM #

      Here’s another one of my favorite quotes:

      “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” By Helen Keller

      • littlebells March 21, 2013 at 8:13 PM #

        Absolutely! That’s one of the reasons I love Brave: because of her immaturity, Merida made a choice that would affect her entire family if she wasn’t willing to make necessary changes.

        • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 8:24 PM #

          I also like Brave for the same reason u just mentioned. Great observation BTW. Love it!

    • parisienne March 21, 2013 at 8:10 PM #

      I’m stealing that one. Its sooo true.

      • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 8:12 PM #

        Go ahead steal away. I like to share. BTW Which one are u referring too?

        • parisienne March 21, 2013 at 8:18 PM #

          The one by Frank Outlaw.

          • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 8:25 PM #

            Yes, that’s my fav.

  8. ozzie20 March 21, 2013 at 8:02 PM #

    Hi everyone!

    Looks like a fun topic! Just got to catch up. 🙂

    • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 8:07 PM #

      Hi Ozzie!

      How are u?

    • littlebells March 21, 2013 at 8:11 PM #

      Hi Ozzie!

      • ozzie20 March 21, 2013 at 8:23 PM #

        Hi OB and LB!

        I’m very tired with a headache that doesn’t seem to want to go away, grrr! So I’m probably be really slow at replying and writing nonsense when I do, LOL!

        How’s everyone else?

        I love the article LB! 🙂

    • parisienne March 21, 2013 at 8:18 PM #

      Hi Ozzie!

      • ozzie20 March 21, 2013 at 8:23 PM #

        Hi Paris!

  9. littlebells March 21, 2013 at 8:10 PM #

    Well that took longer than I expected.

    Ok I am going to spin this in a different light. Since I have a 4 1/2 year old daughter I see why little girls are drawn to princesses. They look at them through innocent eyes where the princess can do great things, wears pretty dresses and they can pretend to live in a castle or ride horses while shooting arrows or swimming with fish. Does that make sense? I’m just glad we are getting more “go-getter” princesses. 🙂

    • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 8:16 PM #

      Yes, it makes sense. How did your little one respond to Merida? Who’s her favorite princess?

      • littlebells March 21, 2013 at 8:25 PM #

        She loooove a her. We have five different sized dolls and one Elinor that fits into a bear. We have the movie. She also loves Ariel and all she draws are mermaids. When she plays make believe she is always a fairy. 🙂

        • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 8:30 PM #

          How sweet LB!

          • littlebells March 21, 2013 at 8:35 PM #

            Yeah it’s funny how each princess is used in different ways. Haha!

            • ozzie20 March 21, 2013 at 8:49 PM #

              Awww, bless her!

      • Comic Relief March 21, 2013 at 8:25 PM #

        Hi everyone.

        • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 8:27 PM #

          Hi CR!

          • Comic Relief March 21, 2013 at 8:28 PM #

            Hi, OB.

          • ozzie20 March 21, 2013 at 8:29 PM #

            Hi CR!

    • ozzie20 March 21, 2013 at 8:27 PM #

      What you said LB reminds me of this!

      One of my favourite parts of the movie, lol!

      • littlebells March 21, 2013 at 8:28 PM #

        Seriously awesome movie. Totally deserved its Oscar.

        • ozzie20 March 21, 2013 at 8:50 PM #

          I agree!

  10. Comic Relief March 21, 2013 at 8:23 PM #

    LB, (or everyone)

    Does anyone think it is sign of progress that none of the princesses after sleeping beauty became one by marrying or building relationships with men of royal blood?

    Snow White (became a princess due marriage or likely marriage with men of royal families)
    Cinderella (became a princess due marriage or likely marriage with men of royal families)
    Aroura (became a princess due marriage or likely marriage with men of royal families)
    —————————————————————————————————–
    Ariel (a princess by birth)
    Belle (doesn’t literally become a princess, yet most believe she might likely become one)
    Jasmine (a princess by birth)
    Pocahontas (a princess by birth)
    Mulan (a princess by birth)
    Tiana (princess by warm and complimentary metaphor)
    Rapunzel (a princess by birth)
    Merida (a princess by birth).

    • littlebells March 21, 2013 at 8:27 PM #

      Yes I do because I think it tells each girl you ARE a princess. You are of noble birth and don’t need someone else to give you that honor.

      • Comic Relief March 21, 2013 at 8:33 PM #

        Wow it’s almost like we planned that.

    • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 8:38 PM #

      Yes! Its progress. However what about the way men are being depicted for boys? Some complained the men in Brave were depicted as idiots.

      • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 8:45 PM #

        Here are two more quotes.

        “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power. ” Lincoln

        “If a man has any greatness in him, it comes to light, not in one flamboyant hour, but in the ledger of his daily work.” B. Markham

      • littlebells March 21, 2013 at 9:00 PM #

        You are right OB. Most if not all were depicted as idiots. I don’t think we need to make men look weak to make women appear strong. Same thing as Eugene in Rapunzel: a thief.

        • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 9:09 PM #

          Exactly, we are doing the same thing to men that men are doing to women. That’s not cool at all. Why do u think that is so popular? For example Holmer Simspon, The Family Guy are all idiots. Its terrible.

          • littlebells March 21, 2013 at 9:20 PM #

            Devil’s advocate: it gives us comic relief. haha! I just caught what I wrote! But it does give us that laugh we need.

            On the other hand, it is sad and I wonder if we will ever empower young boys in a non-female domineering way.

            • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 9:26 PM #

              Exactly, women can admire intelligent men and not marginalize them.

              • ozzie20 March 22, 2013 at 9:15 PM #

                That’s one aspect of hardcore feminism I don’t like. The whole “Women are goddesses! We don’t men. We are better!” really annoys me. Until science comes up with a way to fertilise eggs without sperm, we need them. And vise versa for them. I just believe in equality for all. No one gender/race/sexuality etc is better than the other.

                • Open Book March 23, 2013 at 9:33 AM #

                  Ozzie-ITA with all u said. If I may add. I think its a form of self hate. Two wrongs don’t make a right is really true. Meaning if we marginalize men intellectually, physically and spiritually we are in fact endorsing and supporting women being marginalized in the same way. Also, being a feminist isn’t about getting revenge or it shouldn’t be anyway. Plus, we need to respect each others differences and stop putting limitations and stereotyping people in general. Individuality isn’t a bad thing.

    • parisienne March 21, 2013 at 8:39 PM #

      CR,

      Snow White and Aurora were princesses at birth as well.

      Snow White’s father (the King) married the Evil queen.

      Aurora’s parents were King Stephan and his Queen.

      Snow White married her Prince who happened to be riding by and heard her singing.

      Aurora was bethroved to Prince Phillip at birth. He happened to be riding by in the woods and heard her singing. He thought she was a peasant girl and was ready to give up his throne for her. She wouldn’t speak to him because she was taught never to speak to strangers seeing as Malificent could take on any form.

      He only figured out she was his Princess when Malificent captured him and told him. Then the three good fairies rescued him and took him to the tower to wake her up so they could get married.

      Sleeping Beauty is my favorite movie.

      • Comic Relief March 21, 2013 at 8:45 PM #

        Paris,

        Thank you so much!!!!!!!!! I was worried about accuracy even after looking them up.

        Yet I agree with LB, I’m glad that Disney as put a lot less emphasis on looking for financial gain or a fortune by marriage,(rather than love).

      • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 8:50 PM #

        “Sleeping Beauty is my favorite movie.”

        Wow I’m impressed by your princess knowledge. I love u Paris. SB is a sweet story but I have some aversion to it for my own silly reasons. Why is it your favorite movie?

        • parisienne March 21, 2013 at 8:51 PM #

          The dress. I’m telling you my wedding reception dress is going to change colors while i’m dancing.

          • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 8:55 PM #

            Hahaha! Oh! Yes I forgot sorry. Well I want an invite.

            • parisienne March 21, 2013 at 8:58 PM #

              ok!

  11. Comic Relief March 21, 2013 at 8:54 PM #

    LB,

    You discussed hoe influential this princess characters have been. I was shocked by how many bad princess cites there are.

    http://weprideny.com/2012/04/30/monday-funday-modern-disney-princess-edition/

    Why do you think witches are so frequently chosen to be their arch enemies? How come they never choose dude adversaries as they might be in the real world?

    • Comic Relief March 21, 2013 at 8:54 PM #

      I just saw OZ the great and powerful.

      • Comic Relief March 21, 2013 at 8:55 PM #

        was = saw

        • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 8:57 PM #

          I corrected it for u.

          • Comic Relief March 21, 2013 at 9:59 PM #

            Thank YOU!!!!!!!! But if you’re in a correcting mood you might want to grab some earlier flubs also.

            “….became a princess due marriage”

            That should have been “became a princess due TO marriage.”

            I’m tired and need to go to bed. I’m not as far as OZZIE but on this side of the world it’s late.

      • parisienne March 21, 2013 at 8:58 PM #

        What did you think of it?

        • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 9:04 PM #

          I know u asked CR. But I saw it with him. I enjoyed it. I loved the little China Doll. I thought how demanding is this little thing. Hahaha! No seriously, I liked how it influences kids to believe in themselves and to not run away from conflict etc…

          • parisienne March 21, 2013 at 9:05 PM #

            I liked Finlay and the China Doll and the Wizard’s message that you have to believe in yourself.

            • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 9:13 PM #

              Yes! That was the best. What did u think of James Franco as the Oz?

              • parisienne March 21, 2013 at 9:15 PM #

                i thought he was good. I don’t follow James Franco so I can’t compare anything.

                • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 9:19 PM #

                  In the beginning of the film I was bored. It moved too slowly. What really made me pay attention when he went to Oz. Also, did u notice the Hot air balloon drop down the waterfall? I want that in my Oz ride.

                  • littlebells March 21, 2013 at 9:23 PM #

                    I seriously do not know how your body can handle free falls! HAHAHAHA!!!

                    • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 9:30 PM #

                      I’m adaptable. Hahahaha!

        • Comic Relief March 21, 2013 at 10:05 PM #

          If you think you need a prequel to the “Wizard of Oz”, it was an adequate, I thought it missed the bar in many respects.

    • littlebells March 21, 2013 at 9:09 PM #

      “dude advesaries”. HAHAHAHAHA!!!!! I love it!

  12. parisienne March 21, 2013 at 9:19 PM #

    Everyone,

    I’m going to go for the evening. Take Care!

    • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 9:20 PM #

      Goodnight Paris. It was fun.

    • littlebells March 21, 2013 at 9:20 PM #

      Good night!

  13. littlebells March 21, 2013 at 9:21 PM #

    I’ve often wondered what “Happily Ever After” would be for Snow White, Cinderella and Aurora. You get a sense of the relationship Rapunzel and Eugene will have because of their “courtship” and personalities. Makes me wonder how prince Charming (who names their son that!?), Prince Philip and Prince what’s-his-name would interact with their princesses.

  14. littlebells March 21, 2013 at 9:22 PM #

    OB,

    You have to share why you aren’t a huge fan of Sleeping Beauty!

    • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 9:28 PM #

      Oh! Hahaha! I thought I did in a different post. U want me to repeat it? It’s silly.

      • littlebells March 21, 2013 at 9:30 PM #

        Oh no, that’s ok, I’ll go find it!

  15. littlebells March 21, 2013 at 9:25 PM #

    Ok, my last question for this evening:

    Disney has given a great video on empowering young girls. What do you think should be included if they were to do one for boys?

    • Open Book March 21, 2013 at 9:32 PM #

      LB- AWESOME question but I will have to answer it tomorrow. I have to go for the evening everyone. Great article and discussion.

      TC!

      • littlebells March 21, 2013 at 9:37 PM #

        See you later everyone! Hope you feel better soon Ozzie! 🙂

        • ozzie20 March 21, 2013 at 9:43 PM #

          Thanks LB! Hope you and your family are doing well too!

          Night everyone. 🙂

    • Open Book March 22, 2013 at 5:33 PM #

      Hi LB-

      Great question. If Disney were to do a video for boys it might include examples of intellect, humility, courage, compassion, respect for others less fortunate,imagination, integrity and team work.

      • ozzie20 March 22, 2013 at 9:19 PM #

        That’s a good idea! I’d like to see that video as I’m all for equality. Why should boys be left out?

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