Monday, 15 December 2014

Are Disney princesses good role models for young girls?

I think this is something many people debate over all the time, and some things are nearly always agreed on. Most Disney princesses have to go through some trauma before they can finally be with the man of their dreams. And that is always their reward. Some would say this sets a bad example, but then if you think about it, many of the princesses themselves work their way out of the situations, along with help from their prince charming. So maybe that sets a good example for real-life couples? Working together to overcome some sort of evil and then being able to live happily ever after?

Mulan is seen as a leap forward as she becomes the hero, but I disagree. The way she does become the hero is by becoming a "man". Yes at the end all is revealed and everyone still thinks she's great, despite being a woman, which to be honest is a bad thing anyway, however, I understand that that's the story of it and the issues behind it. And when there are issues like that in the real world, I don't think it can be taken out of movies because it's a real issue that can be addressed in films. This film says to me that womanly traits are bad and that to be taken seriously she has to become a man. Sorry, Mulan fans.

Most people then jump to Frozen, which happens to be one of my favourite Disney movies. I totally think it is going in the right direction. Elsa and Ana, although princesses, display qualities that totally normal girls of their age would. Maybe a little odd after being shut away in a castle for so long but the normality is there. Especially in the line "you can't marry a man you just met" basically making fun of all the other Disney films where it's love at first sight. Elsa has to fight her demons as many young adult women do (if only it was magical frozen powers we had to take control of *sigh*) and she doesn't even end up with a man at the end of it! I don't want to spoil anything for people who haven't seen it (if not why?!) but the main focus is the love between the two sisters and how they overcome their issues together. With a little help from Ana's love interest, who starts as a friend and you see them gradually fall for each other throughout the film. Although the film still has a love story in it, let's face it the majority of all films do, at least this time they got to know each other and it wasn't an unrealistic relationship.

No, I haven't forgotten the film that came before Frozen, one that many do forget, that is Brave. I don't think I even need to point out why it is one of the greatest Disney* movies of all time. It's the only Disney film where the main character, the princess, doesn't end up with a man. She goes against her parents' wishes for her to marry soon, she rebels against all the constraints on her and pulls through, without the help of any love interest. It's not a perfect film, there are some things I could pick out, however, I am not a film expert nor did I work on that film (or any of the others mentioned in this post... obviously) but my opinion is that Brave was a big step in the right direction.

I'd love to hear what more people think of this, it's a really interesting debate as there are lots of different opinions on the many different Disney films. It's an issue that is present in all films and real-life like I said, it's not something that even should be taken out of films until it's fixed in real life. I decided to focus on Disney films after a debate the feminism society at my uni joined in with that was titled "are Disney princesses good role models for young girls?". Well, do you think they are?

amber x 


  1. I feel like Disney was so much more innocent when I was younger, but maybe it hasn't changed, just as we mature we become more aware of whether they are good role models or not!

    Josie XOXO

    Fashion Mumblr

  2. I've never actually thought about this before, but you have got me thinking aha! I think I'm in the 1% of the population that has never seen Frozen before, but it seems like Disney is coming away from the whole, needing a man or in Mulan's case, needing to be a man. With Mulan, they were basing it on the poem legend thing, so I guess that isn't completely Disney's fault, but I agree with you with the other Princess' - they all seem to need a man/be rewarded with a man which doesn't set the best example, but do children really even pick up on this?

    Great post anyways, enjoyed reading it!

    The Velvet Black // UK Style & Beauty Blog

  3. Probably as we get older we notice more, as a child it was never something I was taught so I wouldn't have looked out for it. The problem is the messages that it sends children and they grow up thinking that's normal x

  4. Ah I didn't know Mulan was based on a poem/legend! Thanks for sharing that :) it's not something that children would probably consciously pick up on (although I swear at the moment some kids are doing more for the feminist cause than us grown ups!) but because it's portrayed as normal we grow up thinking...well that it is normal but we don't want society to think of women like that anymore which is why it's good that Disney is rolling with the times. Same with having their first black Disney princess in Princess and the Frog - next step lesbian princess couple! xo

  5. If I'm being totally honest... a film is a film and it's to be enjoyed. I rarely think about the underlying workings of characters and such because it just doesn't interest me. When I think about the lessons that TV and films apparently teach, I don't recall being taught anything really. I never have or will have a roll model, not a princess, my parents or some other historical member of society. I just like to watch TV ;)

  6. That's good for you then that you are able to have that sort of attitude to it and not be affected by it. For me, and many others though, it just normalizes the oppression of women and men's entitlement. Even if it didn't affect me, and it didn't affect other women I would still stand up for it and fight against the issue. I am still able to enjoy watching them, while still thinking about how it could be better and looking at it critically.

  7. I see you point, absolutely. Sometimes I just think we read too much into things and sometimes we don't read enough into them. This is one of those times for me. Sometimes it's nice to look at things critically, I completely agree. Though, it can get a little tedious.
    Although, if the issue affected no one, then it would no longer be an issue?

  8. True, it's hard to get the right balance. I read into everything a lot and it gets stressful! Haha not sure why I said if it didn't affect other women, in my head i was thinking me and women I know who are similar to me. Because it could be an issue for a different reason etc and I would still stand up for it then, that's more what I meant aha x

  9. I love Brave! Apart from Merida being my style icon and because I completely want her hair, I loved the story line and the fact that she pursued her own interests. And there was cute bears! Ok I'm rubbish at film reviews but you get the picture!
    Kate x

  10. Haha I think that was a great film review ;) all the important points were there! :P xo