As a child, Disney fairy tales seemed like a miracle to me: beautiful girls, outfits, and music. I was fascinated by Cinderella, Snow White and Ariel. Who can resist the gift of fate in the form of a prince?
Now my oldest son is five years old. He knows everything about robots but loves Disney fairytales too. I hear many questions and exclamations from him. The princesses wear beautiful dresses! Is it possible to be friends with several princesses? Should I fight for them or not?
I realized I don’t know much about Disney princesses now. So I decided to watch cartoons and find out who is who. I have discovered it is hard to be a princess, and it could hurt your mental health.
Today I want to share my thoughts on Disney princess characteristics, their traits, and missions. I hope it will be helpful for you.
To begin with, let me remind you that we have 12 official Disney princesses: Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana, Rapunzel, Merida, and Moana.
Interesting facts about Disney princesses.
Virtually no Disney princess has a mother.
Perhaps if the girls had mothers, they would not get into all those troubles they usually find themselves in.
Beauty is essential.
Many Disney princesses are portrayed as beautiful, emphasizing appearance as one of the most essential qualities. It may reinforce the stereotype that appearance is the most important trait.
Sacrifice and vulnerability.
Some Disney princesses become victims of circumstance and must be rescued by men to achieve happiness. It can send the wrong message that women should be weak and dependent on men. Although who in childhood did not play knights and princesses?
The division into «good» and «bad» women.
This point seems very important to me. Many Disney movies portray princesses as good and other women as bad. For example, the stepmothers of princesses are villains. It may reinforce the stereotype that women can only be of one type: good or bad.
Some princesses, such as Jasmine or Mulan, are portrayed as exotic and mysterious. It may reinforce stereotypes that women from other cultures are “different.”
Disney princesses personality traits.
Snow White. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 1937.
The cartoon about Snow White is my favorite! Graphics, songs, and of course, a beautiful and windy princess.
- concerned about herself,
- likes being in the center of attention,
- attractive to men,
- at the same time, she is kind and trusting,
- she does not see enemies, even when they slip her a poisoned apple.
Let’s be honest. Snow White is overly self-conscious, which is a clear sign of a narcissistic personality. Remember how she invades the house of the seven dwarfs, enjoys their love, flirts with everyone, and overreacts to everything?
Snow White Lesson: be careful who you trust.
Thanks to Snow White’s mistake, everyone knows not to trust scary, old ladies in black hoods who give us free red apples. But we can take this lesson from the 19th century and apply it to our lives. The princess shouldn’t have trusted the lady with apples; we shouldn’t believe the men with drinks.
Cinderella. Cinderella, 1950.
I see her as a very obedient child and then a young girl. Let see!
- soft and submissive,
- intimidated by her stepmother and not receiving the necessary amount of love and respect to understand that she did not deserve such treatment,
- the main psychological defense mechanism is going into the world of illusions and waiting for a rescuer,
- sees her value only through caring for others
It is worth recalling that despite the cruel nature of the stepmother, Cinderella does not leave the family. She obeys her orders until the Fairy and the prince takes care of her. All of these point to dependent personality disorder.
Cinderella’s lesson: do not make others suffer because you feel bad.
Cinderella has a challenging fate: from the loss of her parents to the fact that she works for food and shelter. But she didn’t get angry at the whole world. But despite all this difficulty, she remains kind, honest and sincere.
Aurora, Sleeping Beauty 1959.
This princess has the least screen time, but I can definitely say a few words.
- a gentle and soft dreamer with a kind heart,
- she had to live in the forest with animals and fairies, but Aurora did not try to find out why,
- she dreams of a prince and a happy life but does nothing for this.
Just like Cinderella, Aurora prefers to go into the world of illusions and pick flowers in the clearings. Interestingly, a positive female team appears in this cartoon, and the prince falls in love with the heroine, not thinking about her status.
Lesson from Aurora: you can grow up happy with foster parents.
This lesson seems obvious to adults, but staying with strangers is scary for kids. Plus, the fairies, while sweet and caring, seem to be quite overbearing foster parents, and they lie to her about her identity and their magic. But Aurora still proves to be perfect despite not knowing her birth parents until she was 16 and living with three real, albeit annoying, fairies.
Ariel, The Little Mermaid,1989.
Ariel grew up like a black sheep among her sisters and constantly got into trouble.
- she is curious and impatient,
- dissatisfied with appearance and tries to change it,
- gravitates towards rescue and dependent relationships,
- often wishful thinking,
- likes to go against the system to prove her independence.
This young girl is no longer an amorphous princess. She has a dream, ambitions and uses every opportunity to achieve her goal. Yes, Ariel does this without calculating everything in advance, and the prince saves her from trouble, just like she did him. Together they prove that two worlds can live in friendship.
Ariel Lesson: you can’t hide who you are.
Ariel becomes such a mess when she changes her voice to her feet and many cherished lessons flow from that ordeal. I’m sure she shouldn’t have traded her unique voice for legs to be with a guy. But it’s also important to note that she can’t keep her mermaid identity a secret forever. Everything ends well in a Disney fairy tale, but people aren’t guaranteed that understanding when they reveal the truth about you in real life.
Belle, Beast and Beauty, 1991.
This love story tells us that an ugly appearance does not mean someone is unworthy of love.
- book lover and white crow,
- thanks to her pure soul, Belle was able to “unravel” the prince and help him return to his human form,
- also, she tends to sacrifice herself because of a feeling of pity,
Belle is an example of a victim of Stockholm Syndrome. A young girl is kidnapped and held captive in an old castle but eventually falls in love with her captor.
Belle’s lesson: you can say no.
Beautiful Belle leaves us with precious insights into the world of dating. The golden rule is pretty simple: disagree. Gaston is infatuated with Belle and repeatedly makes unwanted hints, but the girl feels something is wrong.
Jasmine, Aladdin, 1992.
After the appearance of Jasmine, the world of racial diversity of princesses began to expand, reminding viewers that there are other nationalities. And Aladdin was not a prince at all.
- she is sure that life is simple and easy.
- cheerful and witty, loves adventure, travel and spontaneous dating.
- chooses the wrong life partner – infantile, avoiding responsibility, looking for shortcuts.
Also, the princess is impulsive, prone to risky behavior, and does not think about the consequences of her actions. In the cartoon, Jasmine jumps on a flying carpet with a stranger, runs away from home, and steals apples. She rejects potential suitors, talks to her tiger, and occasionally cries. I think she is so funny!
Lesson Jasmine: money is not all that is needed.
But remember that she is still very young and rich. She does not need to worry about feeding or supporting herself. Also, from the beginning, Jasmine is never happy to be loaded and royal and cares more about her freedom and having a good time. Pay attention, ladies!
Although Pocahontas was one of the most daring Disney heroines, she too can be diagnosed.
- brave, bold,
- able to see a person’s true nature at first sight.
- unwillingness to obey orders, especially from outside.
The story of Pocahontas shows the critical problem of seizing foreign territories. For the first time, a white man is not blameless. He does evil, even if he believes it will bring good.
Pocahontas lesson: the nature of love.
The lesson is to be open to other cultures because you never know what part of the world your soul mate lives in. Pocahontas taught us to respect each other’s differences while at the same time accepting ourselves, as well as differences in culture, beliefs, and skin.
Mulan does not want to be a submissive wife and decides to restore the family’s honor by joining the army.
- brave, purposeful and bright in soul.
- for her father’s sake, the girl went to war without clearly understanding how it would all end.
- she feels different from all the girls; she has problems with identity and self-acceptance.
- she gains some confidence only towards the end of the cartoon.
The Mulan example shows that girls are forced to go to great lengths to be on par with men. There is nothing magical here, everything depends on willpower, and this character trait of Mulan is pumped over. And there is less and less childish naivety in Mulan.
Lesson from Mulan: you can thrive in a world of men.
She joins the army to save her father and is spotted by the Emperor of China! Mulan not only survives the military but also makes a name for herself by saving the life of Commander Li Shang. As girls watch Mulan’s story, they learn they can step into man’s territory. And as a result, there could be an unprecedented difference in one person’s life or an entire empire.
Tiana, The Princess and the Frog 2009.
Tiana is the first black princess, but apart from that, she is the first Disney girl with career ambitions. She thinks little about love and wants to open her restaurant.
- capable of dreaming and moving forward,
- hardworking and smart
- she is not embarrassed that no man is at her side.
- Tiana is a sober realist and rejects romance,
- at the same time, she is prone to overworking, so tension and stress appear.
Working Tiana is probably the most appropriate example for modern times. Although she lives in a magic world too – on the way to her dream, the girl does not resist the temptation to make everything easier by kissing the frog.
Tiana’s lesson: hard work pays off.
From a young age, the girl knows she needs her restaurant one day, so she works hard as a waitress to save enough money for her dream. Eventually, Tiana marries Prince Naveen and becomes a princess. Then they open a great restaurant with musical alligators and live happily ever after. Tiana’s years of hard work leading to her happy ending teach us to roll up our sleeves and get dirty for what we want.
Rapunzel. Tangled, 2010.
Rapunzel is interested in the mystery of air lanterns. And although she eventually marries Flynn Ryder, the heroine is in no hurry to fall in love at first sight.
- imprisoned in a tower, lonely and only able to dream,
- very naive, prefers to live with rose-colored glasses,
- Rapunzel is distrustful, believes that the world is against her,
- there is a lack of communication, and she can talk for hours,
- she feels guilty towards her parents for the way she wants to live.
In addition, Rapunzel was not afraid to openly go against her stepmother – also unusual behavior for a Disney princess. At the same time, like Belle, Rapunzel is a vivid example of Stockholm syndrome. Mother Gothel, who kidnapped the girl as an infant, exhibits emotional abuse towards the girl. Even after Rapunzel discovers Mother Gothel’s lies, she still feels guilt, love, and bitterness when she dies.
Rapunzel’s lesson: any trials can be overcome if love lives in the heart.
The tears of Rapunzel led to the fact that the beloved received his sight, and all because the tears of a loved one are life-giving. Sincere love conquers evil.
Merida. Brave, 2012.
Surprisingly, this girl had a mother, and the mom played an essential role in this cartoon.
- violent, dexterous, brave, and naughty; like every active teenager,
- she does not want to get used to the idea of a future government.
- the heroine grows up abruptly – as soon as her mother falls under the spell.
- Merida has a good connection with her inner child, and this helps her realize her desires.
Plus, Merida’s great motivation is her unwillingness to depend on a man. She can do everything herself – ride a horse, and shoot arrows. She also saved her mother on her own.
Lesson from Merida: she makes us all jealous of her gorgeous red hair and teaches us the importance of appreciating our moms.
Merida’s mother, Queen Elinor, magically transforms into a large black bear and risks being a bear forever. Life happens, people get sick, people leave, and if your mom is near you, don’t forget to appreciate her before it’s too late.
Moana. Moana, 2016.
I like Moana; she is adorable!
- thirsty for adventure,
- ready to risk her life, she believes the sun will rise from the horizon many more times.
- Moana is frivolous, can be late for meetings, often needs to remember everything, and quickly burns out.
- she can do something interesting for herself, and the same activity can get bored the next day.
Think about her physique; she is not thin and fragile. She has the body of a physically developed person, although her face is still very cartoonish.
Lesson from Moana: a princess will get a prince for herself when she realizes he is needed.
In the meantime, she is busy with her happiness. And this directly reflects the growing role of women in society.
I can not wait to see the next princess. I`m sure she will become a new reflection of the current time. And even if the princesses will be forgotten as a class, there is always an option to rewatch old cartoons.
Did you find this article practical? What is your favorite princess? Let’s discuss this in the comments.