Evolution of the Disney Princess

Written by EliMarie

When someone says Disney Princess, the majority of people will think, damsel-in-distress. But it's very clear Disney has been shedding its damsel characters for more independently fierce heroines.

Can you imagine a nine year old girl sitting in front of the TV watching the 1937 Snow White? No, I didn't think so. Mostly because she would find the movie boring and unrealistic.

CLassic Era

Back in 1937 and the 1950s Walt Disney created Snow White, Cinderella and Aurora. They were the models of a perfect princess. They were beautiful, graceful and hopeful.

These princesses can be found in what most of the internet calls the Classic Era. This is the time when the princesses would sing their way out of misery, hoping for a better future. They didn't have to lift a finger. They didn't question the status quo, they didn't fight their way to freedom. They represented the thought that fate would work things out.

The Renaissance Era

Fast forward to 1989, which became The Renaissance Era. Now we are starting to see some princesses that can really kick butt (literally). They are adventurous and rebellious.

These princesses are; Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, and Mulan.

A princess which represents this era quite well is Mulan. Mulan completely shattered the image of a Disney Princess. She fought to protect her father's honor and saved China. Not to mention she disguised herself as a guy. Just like Mulan, we see Jasmine, Pocahontas, Belle, and Ariel ignore the rules to either protect or go after what they wanted. These are the gals who took action. They raised the bar and there was no turning back.

the Revival Era

Now we get into the Revival Era, 2009 to the present. These princesses have similar motives to those in the Renaissance era. Except they are much more independent. They are no longer the victim but the hero (even though the same can be said of Pocahontas, Mulan and Jasmine.). These princesses include; Tiana, Rapunzel and Merida.

Wait, but what about Ana, Elsa or Moana?!

They technically aren't considered Disney princesses. I know I'm just as shocked as you are. With Elsa, I understand because she's a queen. But I don't understand why Disney hasn't named Ana or Moana official princesses. 

In my opinion Merida is the Mulan for this era. She flipped the typical role of a classic Disney Princess on its head. Nowhere in the movie did she depend on a guy or any fairy godmother of sorts (well, except for the witch but I'm not sure she was any help). The main premise of the movie didn't involve a love interest and she didn't end up with one either.


Moana (2016)

Should Moana be an official Disney Princess?

I'll just briefly mention Moana. To me she is a princess no matter what.

Merida and Moana are the two Disney Princess stories that don't involve a love interest. I believe this reflects the independence most women want today. They don't want to depend on someone to save the day, they can do it themselves. I think they show sometimes you have to be alone in order to discover what you're made of and who you are.

Regardless of what the future holds I'm excited to see how Disney princesses will continue to evolve and change with the times.

- Written by EliMarie




EliMarie talks about things related to Disney, movies, TV shows, and just random thoughts. Fun fact: She did the Disney College Program in 2016!

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