It is a well-known fact that Disney movies evolved according to the times – starting with the soft and delicate Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty, the nowadays movies changed substantially!
I mean, a pretty obvious example is Merida, from Brave, who is a feminine character that, for the first time in the history of Disney movies – and humanity – doesn’t want to get married and decides to be her own hero.
But let’s take it easy and discuss it properly!
The women empowerment movement
Obviously, Disney movies are also influenced by the concept of women empowerment – I know I’ve cried my eyes out when Moana saved Te Fiti and the entire island of her tribe from the darkness that destroyed their food.
Besides Moana, who is, in fact, the first Disney princess that hasn’t a conventional aspect and represents a minority – namely the Polynesian tribe – there are others characters that have gradually supported the creation of this ultimate character. Mulan, Tiana, Merida, Rapunzel, Ana, and Elsa – all of them are great non-conformist princesses.
Mulan is the first Asian character that manages to overcome the social pressure of getting married and respecting the norm and goes to war in order to protect her father – many Asian people said that most likely Disney wasn’t even aware when creating Mulan what a tremendous shift they brought.
Not only the Asian race is represented in the Disney world, thus allowing the little girls to identify themselves with the strong and beautiful Mulan, but they are also encouraged to find their voice and actually use it!
The so-called ”true love’s kiss”
We all remember this cliche line – most of the time, the princess needed to be saved and the prince kissed her in order to wake her up or simply cure her.
Well, I was stunned by how fast Disney producers adapted to the idea that ”true love” has multiple shapes. In Frozen, Ana is not saved by a kiss from one of her male suitors, but from her sister Elsa. And this totally makes sense!
I mean, why is it necessary for true love to only be romantic? Isn’t the love between sisters – like the one between Ana and Elsa – or the love a woman feels for her people – like Moana and Mulan do – just as important as the romantic affection?
More than that, the fact that Elsa, Mulan, and Merida stay unmarried until the end of the film educates young girls and boys that staying single is alright, that a relationship doesn’t define one!
The working condition
While Snow White and Sleeping Beauty are full-time princesses, Tiana, Mulan, and Moana actually work for what they desire – Tiana even has a classical, human job!
We may think the way in which the heroines are represented has nothing to do with reality, but the fact that they have gradually metamorphosed into independent and strong women, who don’t need a romantic interest to feel complete, who find solutions by themselves is definitely a reflection of the current changing times!
The struggle is pretty common for Disney movies – all heroes and heroines encounter oppressive situations, but equality is finally visible! It is ok for Elsa to be an unmarried queen, it is alright for Merida to refuse every one of her suitors and to compete for her own hand!
But this is possible because former princesses have already walked this path – it wasn’t as easy for Mulan to embody the change, to stand up for herself, but all girls and women are so grateful nowadays for her courage!
How about you? Do you enjoy Disney movies?