Journey through the Evolving Independence of Disney’s Princesses
From “true love’s kiss” with Snow White to “shooting” for your own hand in marriage with Merida, these diverse princesses evolved from being rescued by a man to rescuing themselves!
Snow White started it all in 1937, represented as an independent Bavarian woman who meets a prince. The evil witch condemns Snow to a lifeless sleep where “true love’s kiss” wakes her up; the first in a series of films idealizing a woman being saved by a man.
Single women: True love’s kiss is coming, just make sure you’re ready; otherwise, you’ll miss the magic.
Fast forward to 1950, where a French step-sister is bullied. She is a hard worker but given the chance to find true love, she attends the royal ball. The prince fancies her for her beauty and when the clock strikes midnight he does nothing to pursue her. Her beauty is his only desire.
Single women:Stick to your work ethic and you’ll meet a guy who appreciates that as well as your beauty.
Another example of the classic damsel in distress, fallen into a listless sleep, comes to us from Sleeping Beauty’s Aurora. Set in England, this 1959 Disney animation epitomizes a man saving a woman.
Single women: RESCUE YOURSELVES!
Originally, Ariel was created by Hans Christian Anderson as a Danish mermaid. She was adapted by Disney into a beautified mermaid turned person in 1989. Poor Ariel, in order to be with the man she rescued (mad props to her!), has to trade her voice for human legs and the man of her dreams. Seriously?
Single women: Don’t trade or change anything – your morals, possessions, body image, personality, and/or sanity – for a guy. The guy who is meant for you will love you for all of you, insane moments, freckles, loud hiccups, all of it!
Oh Belle, lovely, naive Belle! Disney’s 1991 film depicts a shy, French librarian madly in love with a heartless beast. There’s just one problem, Belle thinks she can change the beast into a respectable man even though he imprisons her.
Single women: Don’t try to change a man, we’ve all tried, it never ends well. The man who is your one and only someday will need no changing. Nobody’s perfect, but to you he will be!
In 1991 this Native American woman begins the progressive era for empowering women. Although her father wants her to marry a prideful tribesman, Pocahontas rescued her love interest and went against her father’s wishes to be with the enemy, an Englishman.
Single women: Chart your own path in life and love, follow your heart, listen to your parent’s advice, listen to your inner voice, and be who you are.
This Middle Eastern beauty made her Disney debut in 1992. After getting her guy out of poverty she is sexualized by the evil Jafar but makes it clear that she is not a prize to be won.
Single women: You are no man’s “trophy”; you are far more than your sexuality and appearance. Aspire to push past society’s perceptions.
The year 1998 brings us Mulan, a Japanese spit-fire who aspires to be seen for more than being a woman. Over the character’s development, she saves her male counterparts, proving that a woman can be just as strong and resourceful as a man.
Single women: Stand by your physical and mental strength. Do not let a man, especially a potential love, undermine these attributes.
Princess Tiana is the 9th official Disney Princess and the main protagonist of Disney’s 2009 animated feature film The Princess and the Frog. She is a waitress and aspiring restaurant owner living in the French Quarter of New Orleans, USA during the Jazz Age. Anika Noni Rose, the actress who voiced Tiana in the movie, said of Tiana, “She’s a strong woman who doesn’t need anyone to do things for her…She wants to do things for herself.” Her originally arrogant Prince Naveen, looked down upon Tiana because of her occupation as a waitress, only to be proven there’s far more to her than meets the eye.
- Single Women: The work pays off; you can’t get what you want just by wishing for it.
Rapunzel from 2013’s “Tangled” may just be the epitome of damsels in distress, as her German mother locks her away in a tall tower. But all those years alone in that tower made her a true independent. She is comfortable being alone and can defend herself (with a frying pan, her hair, and a chameleon) against an intruder.
Single women: Be okay with being alone. You will discover who you really are and what you want in a relationship and from a life partner. And even when you are in a future relationship, you can’t be by your partner’s side every waking or sleeping moment. The ability to be alone and autonomous is an attractive quality to possess.
Brave’s firey Redhead Merida might be the best Disney Princess of them all; a true heroine in 2013. Against her royal Scottish family’s wishes, she decides to shoot for her own hand in marriage; meaning no marriage. Merida lives her life on her terms and embodies true courage.
Single women: Be brave like Merida, don’t marry for potential or for money or due to outside pressure. Marry a man who enriches your life. Marriage can wait for the guy who truly deserves you!
2013:”Frozen” is set in Scandinavia and portrays a spunky girl named Anna. What sets Anna apart from the rest of the Disney Princesses is that she tries to marry a stranger she just met. On top of it, her “love is an open door” prince turns out to be in it for his own gain (the throne).
Single women: Like Anna, realize a guy who woos you with words and little to no actions is not a keeper. Trust actions. Not lust-dripping, “I love you,” “You’re beautiful” words.