I love Walt Disney and Pixar; I love Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and the other Princess stories. They pretty much have the same theme: A young girl having a rough time is rescued by a handsome prince. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with that as long as you keep in mind that’s not how things usually go.
Of course, these movies were released in 1937, 1950 and 1959; women’s roles were viewed differently then. The gals did become somewhat more independent later.
Ariel is spirited; she wants to experience life outside her own comfort zone. However, she’s still a dreamer who wants to marry a human man.
Belle is smart and independent; she isn’t out looking for a man. In fact, she does not accept the advances of a man who is chasing her. She does sacrifice her freedom for her father, though, and ends up marrying a prince.
Jasmine is adventurous and like some of the other young ladies wants to experience life for herself. She falls in love too.
Pocahontas is resourceful and independent. She is motivated by concern for her people, and she is another princess who ends up getting married.
Mulan is motivated by concern for her family, and she is another strong and independent character. However, she runs into trouble because of cultural views about gender roles.
Tiana is a wonderful character; she is compassionate and loves her family. But what does she end up doing? She marries a prince. (Is there a pattern here? There’s nothing really wrong with this, but are there not options other than marrying a prince?) 😉
Tangled was a fun movie. I liked Rapunzel a lot; she was a great character who wanted to get out on her own. Like those before her she falls in love.
Merida is probably the most independent of the princesses so far. She’s feisty, athletic and an excellent fighter. She doesn’t want to be forced to live up to what is expected of a princess. She isn’t interested in or ready to get married; she wants her freedom. Maybe it is possible to have a good princess film without the prince? 😉
Frozen is the first film to actually suggest that a girl doesn’t need a man to save her and that it isn’t a good idea to marry someone you just met. I think we need more films like this one. I got the images from Wikipedia.