Hiya! Last time, I told a story (true story, by the way) as to how I managed to get my very own (almost) brand new PlayStation 3 for free. I mentioned then how much I love it and how I can play Disney’s Tangled on Blu-Ray as often as I want. As a matter of fact, I absolutely adore all of the Disney Princesses! That’s why I find it shocking that there are a lot of people out there who, not only don’t like them… but hate them (gasp)!
It may seem a bit odd that a college girl like me still loves this stuff, but I do! For me, there’s always been something special about all of the Disney Princesses, especially the ones that came out starting with Ariel, The Little Mermaid. Most people say The Little Mermaid was the start of the Disney Renaissance era but even the princesses before that time were special in their own right.
Let’s take a look at the official Disney Princesses before the so-called Disney Renaissance. That would be Snow While, Cinderella and Aurora (more popularly known as Sleeping Beauty). The common complaint against them is that they act like the typical “helpless female” archetype. While that’s true for the most part, I’m fine with that.
You have to look at the time when these characters were created. Girls at the time were taught and raised to know how to do household chores and wait for “prince charming” to come to their rescue. So, of course, Disney made these characters to fulfill the wishes of every little girl at the time. Besides, no matter how independent a girl may be, there’s always going to be a small part of them that wants to be desired and want to be rescued by their dream man.
Now, let’s talk about the ones during the Disney Renaissance. These would be Ariel (The Little Mermaid), Belle (from Beauty and the Beast), Jasmine (from Aladdin), Pocahontas and Mulan. These were the princesses that were more rebellious that their predecessors. Once again, this was because of the time period. Gone was the image that the perfect woman would be just waiting for their prince to come. While they do still have a prince to fall in love with, these princesses are, more or less, in charge of their own destiny and they’re not just sitting around.
One of the major complaints actually involves my favorite Disney Princess, Ariel. A lot of people criticize Ariel since she just whines a lot. She whines about not being able to go to the surface. Even when she sings the most popular song in the film (Part of Your World), it’s just her complaining that she’s not satisfied with her life even though she’s a princess!
This song perfectly illustrates how a lot of girls (like me) felt when they were teenagers. When I hit my teens, this was the time when I wanted to be more independent. I wanted to go out to the mall with my friends. I wanted to go to parties and stay out late. But, of course, my parents wouldn’t let me since I was too young. I wanted to experience more things in life. I think this is what this song represents for me and why I identify with her a lot.
Independence plays a bigger role with the princesses of the post-Renaissance era. These would include Tiana (from The Princess and the Frog), Rapunzel, Merida (from Brave), and the sisters Anna and Elsa (from the most recent Frozen, which I love). What makes these princesses so astonishing is how little love is involved with their stories. And, once again, this is a product of the time.
Disney has done a wonderful job of mirroring what society wants in their heroines during the times they were created. While the attitude of the princesses of earlier times may seem archaic now, they were the symbol of what women were supposed to be at the time. We can see Disney adapting to society’s critical views that women should act more independent with their more recent films.
Really, how could anyone hate a Disney Princess? Especially since they reflect our own ideas on what a woman should be.
Anyway, since I talked about the Disney Renaissance so much, I actually like to talk about it more… next time!
What’s your take on the Disney Princesses? Do you like them? Do you hate them? Put your thoughts in the comments section below!