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.
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