How Disney princesses shattered traditions!

Disney Wonder of Princess
Disney Wonder of Princess /

Ah yes. Princesses. When picturing a Princess, you might immediately think of the basics like tiaras, dresses, castles, fancy shoes, jewelry, and of course…mmm…chocolate! Okay, maybe that last bit was just for residents of Arendelle. But still, you get the idea.

For years, children and adults alike had the traditional image of what a princess should look like, that is, until Disney came crashing in with new ideas and completely blew tradition out of the water (sorry Ariel).  Let's take a look at some famous animated Disney Princesses known for going above and beyond the pretty dresses and chose to go beyond the reef-I mean walls!

Rebellious teenagers!

Once Ariel introduced the idea of going against her father’s wishes, Disney Princesses changed forever! No longer content with trusting that their parents knew what was best, these Princesses decided to start blazing their own trails!

There is the mermaid who wanted to be with her crush. Jasmine, who rejected every prince her dad introduced her to, waited for a real prince to come along. Pocahontas decided her heart knew what was better for her rather than her father’s wisdom. Mulan left home to spare her father’s life. Rapunzel kind of counts for disobeying Mother Gothel’s greedy desire to keep her in a tower. Merida completely rejects her parent’s proposal for a marriage in which she has no say. Elsa finally takes off her gloves and shows the world what kind of beauty she hides. Finally, Moana ignores her father’s demand to stay on their island, and crosses the ocean to save the world! Phew!

Let's honor heritage!

Not all princesses wear those poofy Halloween gowns you find once a year in October. In fact, quite a few Disney princesses didn’t wear gowns at all! Jasmine, the first to represent princesses of color, was also the first to not wear a gown in the movie! Pocahontas quickly followed pursuit, loosely representing Native American culture. A mere three years later we see Mulan take the stage from China, with her beads of jade, silk robes, and many other traditional and culturally important pieces. Tiana sails in on her steamboat to a Mardi Gras in New Orleans, intent on buying her own restaurant, while Merida rides off on her Shire Horse, Angus, to find a will-o’-the-wisp that can help her find her path. We can NOT forget Moana the “not princess” who taught herself wayfinding, stole a wa’a kaulua to find the demi-god, Maui, met Te Fiti, and restored her people to their voyaging traditions!

New and previously unseen features!

So, Disney gave us princesses who were very independent and didn’t always wear poofy gowns. What else did they give us? Introducing new features! Elsa, and Rapunzel were special in their own rights, each possessing their own internal magic (and yes, Elsa was a princess when it started). Rapunzel with that long, long, very long hair (hint: that’s not the magic part), and Elsa with her frozen fingertips! Ariel completely shatters traditional images by having fins! Snow White and Cinderella can speak with animals (I suppose Ariel can too). Tiana was completely transformed into another animal (not my favorite part, to be honest). Princess Vanellope von Schweetz isn’t even from our planet, and Merida broke the biggest Disney tradition of all – she doesn’t sing!

Long gone are the times of fancy parties and cookie-cutter pretty princesses. Let us ring in an era of individuality and happiness for all! Princesses included!