Having read Natalie Montayah’s blog post "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let Down Your Hair," I have to say that I disagree with her argument.
To a certain extent what Natalie says is true – girls are encouraged to search for their Prince Charming and have fantastic hair – however, I found my prince and celebrities have the hair, not just Disney princesses, and so it must be possible somehow! However, this is only when you take Disney’s princesses on the surface – look deeper and there are many inspirational and independent princesses in the Disney films.
I also argue that in terms of Disney the term princess can cover any lead female character – irrespective of whether they are truly royalty. After all, do we not teach our young girls every day that each one of us is a princess in our own right?
Snow White, in her relationship with the Seven Dwarves, shows us that friends can come in all shapes and sizes, and that life can be happy no matter what situation you find yourself in.
Jasmine, in refusing to marry Jafar, is the iconic royal Princess who stands up to her father to fight for her own freedom and dreams.
Belle on the other hand, sacrifices her own freedom in order to give her father his, stands up for herself against Gaston and, in her relationship with the Beast, teaches us that it is what is on the inside that matters, not what we look like.
Ariel, in her search for a better life, leaves her family and then fights her father and Ursula of course, for the life that will result in her personal happiness.
Pocahontas, through her relationship with Captain Smith, exposes us to the fact that skin colour does not matter in the search for love.
Esmeralda teaches us that everyone should be treated equally regardless of their appearance or status in community.
Most inspirational of all, Mulan, in becoming a boy saves the lives of her father, her fellow troops and even the Emperor. In succeeding in this she shows us that girls can be just as capable and strong as boys.
You may say that this does not indicate an independent woman, as they all end up with their true love at the end of the film. This is true; however, I argue that not one of these women would be with their ‘Prince Charming’ if they did not love them. They have all conquered huge obstacles to live their lives as they wish. If these are not inspirational role models for young girls may I ask who is?
Girl Museum Inc.