Things That Work For Disney Princesses and Things That Don’t

I was going to do another ranking, but then I realized that every point I made can be summarized into a few main points. Reminder – while I do list princesses with each trait, I have not seen every movie so I may leave some out, or may incorrectly list some. Feedback is appreciated.

What I like in Disney Princesses:

Motivation Outside of Love

And not because of some SJW need to have girls have actual role models that do their own thing outside of love (not that that isn’t, you know, extremely important), but because characters that only do things out of “love” are so boring. Like seriously. Like I said in an earlier posts, I want to be inspired by fiction.

Princesses that have this trait: Moana, Mulan, Rapunzel, Elsa, Anna, Tiana, Belle, Merida

A love For Others

Moana love for her people is a reoccurring trend in the movie. Mulan takes her fathers place in the army. And they may be the two most likable characters.

Characters that don’t show any regard for others come across as shallow and unlikable. However, even though pretty much every princess (except Rapunzel, who doesn’t spend much time with her actual family) fights with their family, many show caring traits to their family. Others show compassion in general. This is especially necessary in those born into leadership roles like Elsa and Moana.

Princesses that have this trait: Moana, Mulan, Rapunzel, Elsa, Anna, Belle, Merida, Tiana, Ariel

Actual Leadership Skills (You know, because princesses tend to become queens)

As I said above, princesses become queens, so seeing a princess without basic leadership skills is kind of scary. Also, good leaders tend to make good characters.

Princesses that have this trait: Moana, Mulan, Pocahontas

Actual Achievements 

Characters that set out to achieve something and actually achieve that something are a lot more interesting and very inspiring. Also, this is an important trait to show in role models for little kids.

Princesses that have this trait: Ariel (ish), Rapunzel, Moana, Mulan, Pocahontas (ish), Merida (ish), Tiana, Belle, Anna (ish)

Not Hood Ornaments but Not Needless Rebels

Basically, hood ornaments are characters who don’t advance the plot, and they are extremely boring. On the other hand, we have needless rebels like Ariel, who go against perfectly reasonable rules (like not changing your body for a man you’ve never even talked to).

Princesses that have this trait: Rapunzel, Moana, Mulan, Tiana, Belle, Pocahontas, Anna, Elsa

Reasonable Love Stories or Lack of Bad Love Stories

Because bad love stories are both horrible to watch and bad examples for kids (remember, kids watch these movies, and they don’t know that the love doesn’t work as it does in the movies. Actually, most adults don’t either). A good love story can work well, and no love story is always a nice refresher.

Princesses that have this trait: Rapunzel, Jasmine, Tiana, Merida, Mulan, Elsa, Anna (not counting Hans), Moana

Animal Companions

This isn’t a list of admirable character traits – its a list of things that work well in Disney movies. And this works well.

On a different note, who’s still disappointed that the pig in Moana didn’t have a bigger role?

Princesses that have this trait: Ariel, Rapunzel, Moana, Jasmine, Aurora (I think), Belle (ish), Tiana, Cinderella, Snow White, Mulan (ish), Pocahontas, Anna (ish)

A Pivotal I-Can-Do-This Moment

Especially when accompanied by song. This is inspiring, and fiction is supposed to be inspiring.

Princesses that have this trait: Rapunzel, Moana, Mulan, Pocahontas, Merida, Tiana


What I don’t like in Disney Princesses:

True Love After One Meeting

Because people, especially kids, don’t know that it doesn’t work this way in real life, this can be dangerous. And to those of us that do know it doesn’t work this way in real life, this makes the princess seem somewhat naive.

Princesses that have this trait: Ariel, Jasmine (ish), Aurora (ish), Cinderella, Pocahontas, Snow White

Anna doesn’t count because Anna/Hans was portrayed in the movie as naive and I admire the fact Disney had the guts to make fun of itself

Complete Disrespect For Every and All Authority

Disrespect for authority is not a bad thing when handled properly. Moana went against her father’s wishes, but she did it to save her people. Mulan went against her culture to save her father. Rapunzel was tired of being treated badly by an abusive mother.

But then there’s going too far, and that is a serious problem.

Princesses that have this trait: Ariel, Merida (ish; she had a reason to rebel but turning your mom into a bear is just going a little too far)

No Responsibility

Dear writers: don’t call your characters royalty and not give them responsibility! The two go hand-in-hand, but a lot of fiction breeze over this completely.

Princesses that have this trait: Ariel, Jasmine, Merida, Elsa, Anna

The Stupid Love’s-True-Kiss-Thing

AKA the most cliched and predictable thing in the Disney world.

Princesses/movies that have this trait: Ariel, Rapunzel (ish), Aurora, Tiana


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