As a child, my goal was to be a Disney princess. I wanted the beautiful hair, the perfect skin, the detailed gowns, and for Prince Charming to whisk me away on his white horse. As I have grown up, it has come to my attention that Disney princesses, whom I had based my childhood goals upon, are not the best role models for girls. In most older, and a few more recent Disney films, princesses rely on their beauty and charm, instead of their brains and abilities, to solve their problems and nab Prince Charming.  A prominent and more recent example of this can be found in The Little Mermaid. In the film, Ariel agrees to give up her voice and her ability to effectively communicate in exchange for legs so she can be closer to Eric, her prince.
In the older “Cinderella”, Prince Charming only dances with the aforementioned heroine at the ball because she is beautiful. The two do not even talk to each other to determine if they are compatible. Prince Charming decides that Cinderella is perfect because of her looks.
Just about every girl watches Disney Princess movies and fantasizes about her own fairytale. But these movies tell girls that the ultimate goal in life is wealth through marriage, and that the only way to achieve that goal is through looks. This message, promoted by Disney for over 70 years now, is simply wrong. It’s true that many of the studios’ more recent films put a greater emphasis on the heroine’s  strengths, rather than her ability to get married, with 1998’s Mulan an excellent example. But antiquated “princess” stereotypes still dominate the studio’s popular image and  merchandising.
At SWSG,  girls are encouraged to recognize their unique talents and abilities. Among the strengths participating girls possess are proficiency in math, artistic skills, athletic prowess, and being a great friend. These are the traits that Disney and other  producers of children’s media should be emphasizing. Disney Princesses should not be required to fall back on their beauty to solve problems and ultimately get men. It is critical, especially in today’s society, to let young girls know that their self-worth is not dependent on their attractiveness, rather, their future success is only dependent on their own unique talents and abilities.
How do you feel about Disney princesses? And what strengths would you like to see portrayed for girls on film?