Snow White: Helpless. Persecuted by a vain woman. Considered extremely beautiful and desirable. Helped by the dwarves. Saved by the Prince.
Cinderella: Helpless. Persecuted by three vain women. Considered extremely beautiful and desirable. Helped by a magic fairy. Saved by a Prince.
Aurora: Helpless. Persecuted by a vain woman. Considered extremely beautiful and desirable. Helped by three magic fairies. Saved by the Prince.
Ariel: Less helpless, and brave. Considered beautiful and desirable. Helped AND persecuted by a vain witch. Attempts to change her own fate (for the sake of a man), but is still ultimately at the mercy of the Prince and her father.
Belle: Less helpless, and brave. Considered beautiful and desirable. Her prince saves her from the vain villain, and she saves him by falling in love.
Jasmine: Helpless. Considered beautiful and desirable. Saved by Aladdin. Her prince is aided by a genie. She is not the main character in her story.
Pocahontas: Brave. Helps herself. Advised/aided by a talking tree. Works as an equal partner with her love interest to save her village. Does not get a happy ending. Takes place in a specific time and setting
Mulan: Brave. Endangers her life to save her father’s. Advised by dragon guardian, but ultimately saves herself, her father, her captain (twice), her friends, the emperor, and the People of China using her brain and what she learned. Love story is second to her heroics. Takes place in a specific time and setting.
Tiana: Brave. Self sufficient. Only princess with skill as part of her character. Uninterested in love. Hindered by magic. Advised by a magic woman. Saves herself and vanquishes the villain. By the end she is an equal partner with her love interest. Takes place in a specific time and setting.
Rapunzel: Helpless: Saved by her prince. Persecute by a vain woman. Aided by/is magic.
Do you see any trends?
There has been a lot of valid criticism about how the WOC princesses have to, essentially, EARN their happy ending, and even then it’s not guaranteed. Pocahontas and Mulan both try to sacrifice themselves and neither of them even get the same kind of big romantic ending the rest of the princesses do.
Some people point to Jasmine and note that it is really around that time that Disney decided to make their princesses more self sufficient, and it was only because there weren’t WOC before that time that makes the difference.
And, yeah, sure. Jasmine is the only non-white princess to be treated like an actual princess, in the same way the earlier five are. But she’s also the only princess, WOC or not, who isn’t the main character.
Also, note Rapunzel. The most recent 2D princess, and she marks the return of Disney to white princesses… AND the same formula they used before.
While I think it’s great to have self sufficient female role models who aren’t dependent on men to make their lives better or give them meaning, when you apply that message to only ONE group of people, you’re sending a different message.
It appears that what Disney is saying is that WOC have to be strong and invulnerable and hard working, that they aren’t allowed moments of weakness. That they aren’t allowed help—- they have to save themselves.
Which is pretty fucked up.
I agree with most of this, but nobody saves Belle. Except Chip, I guess. But I consider her self-sufficient. She saves the Beast, not the other way around. That’s why I like her.
The Beast saves her from the wolves. Also, the Beast is ultimately the one who disposes of Gaston. That’s what I was talking about.
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