Disney Princesses are perceived to be passive damsels in distress dependent on their prince or that knight in shining armor. The general opinion is that real women achievers are better role models. The perception is however, wrong as each Princess has something to offer. True, some lack in personality. Aurora does nothing but dance, sing, cry, sleep and dream about her prince. All Ariel wants to do is to get out of the water and chase her prince to win his love. Real women achievers are great role models but some Disney Princesses have that edge because ‘to err is human.’
Gender stereotypes go out of the window as Mulan takes her father’s place secretly in the army. She’s heroic, selfless but also vulnerable and careless. She inspires little girls to just be themselves yet achieve whatever they want to. Mulan might not be as heroic as a Joan of Arc but she’s another version of femininity.
Snow White has positive traits like kindness and optimism but her only ambition seems to be to be swept off her feet by a prince and live happily ever after. Compared to her, the seven dwarves seem more ambitious. Snow White might not be the brightest bulb but she definitely doesn’t lack in personality. Little girls are better off going gaga over her than Lady Ga Ga.
Cinderella is a positive role model. Not only has she inspired millions, but is worthy of admiration because of her life of struggle and her rags to riches story. Despite a life of hardship and abuse, she never loses hope. Nor does she behave badly with people. The only negative is she would have been helpless sans her fairy godmother.
Jasmine is the first non-European princess. She wants to marry for love and not for status. Jasmine is clever and has plenty of self respect as she does not center her life on chasing princes.
Belle refuses to marry the local town-hero as doesn’t want to be a ‘little wife.’ She dreams of adventure (a first for a Disney princess) and rides a horse to a spooky castle when her father is in danger. She’s willing to spend the rest of her life in a dungeon in order to save her father’s life.
Tiana is the first African-American princess but her USP is that she’s hardworking, loyal and independent with a specific dream of opening up her own restaurant.
Where Pocahontas stands out as a role model is personality. She refuses to abandon her family for love. She prefers to stay with her own people instead of returning to England with her love.
There are countless real women achievers. To name a few would be to belittle the others. But an achiever can also be a homemaker and a role model. Little ladies should be inspired from the positives of both Disney Princesses and real women achievers. It is sensible to take the best of both worlds.
About the Author:
Charu Swaroop contributes to Yellow Giraffe – a store for online shopping for toys in India. When time permits, Charu loves dreaming up and trying new dishes. She has been promising herself to get over her sweet tooth (since 2003), and to trek in Nepal (since 2009).