A few days ago, I was scrolling through the internet. It was my spring break and I was relaxing on my bed without a care in the world. I was in a fantastic mood until I came across an article titled, “Here Are All Your Favorite Disney Princesses, Ranked From Least to Most Feminist.” I instantly felt disgusted. As a feminist who grew up on Disney films and princesses, it was almost as if someone had stabbed me in the heart. Nevertheless, I clicked on it, hoping and praying it was satire. It has to be, right? Sadly, it was an actual list ranking and critiquing each of the princesses based on if they were deemed feminist enough.
I’m just gonna say it; this is complete and utter bullshit.
In this new day in age, the concept of feminism is one that has caused much controversy. Many believe since women got the right to vote, they have nothing else to fight for and they are equal. That is hardly the case with unequal pay in various careers, rape victims not being heard or respected and girls getting threatened or killed for trying to pursue an education. We still have so much to fight for and so much to gain from forming a tight bond together as feminists. And it is a toxic mindset like the one above that teaches girls and boys to actively search for differences in women and make judgements about them.
Feminism in meant to encourage women, no matter our differences, to fight for equality and make her own choices. It is not meant to tear them down for not being perfect. While things such as white feminism needs to be addressed, attacking a Disney princess because she likes to cook and clean is not one of them. No one seems to remember Snow White is a 14 year old who is dealing with her own mother trying to have her killed and that she remains positive and kind-hearted throughout the whole movie.
Do the Disney princesses make questionable choices at times? Yes. Do they have flaws that are reflected in said choices? Of course. Does every person go through that as they grow and mature? YES. So why are we nit picking them for it?
Also, this is totally ignoring their story lines and the undertones of each princess. For example, the article says, “There’s nothing like running away with a rich guy you just met for, like, 15 minutes, and who (although he can’t even remember your face) has a fixation on your feet to pull you out of poverty,” in regards to Cinderella. Cinderella is the story of a kind and hardworking girl who overcomes and escapes her abusive household. Despite the obstacles in her life, she never loses hope that things will get better. So, she loses feminist points because she “runs away with a rich guy,” and ends up with Prince Charming? Cinderella creates a positive change in her life and gets to leave behind the people who have caused her pain for years. That’s pretty heroic and badass if you ask me.
Disney princesses are meant to provide examples for young girls. Each princess has a certain set of characteristics that make her unique, just like women in real life. They teach us valuable lessons that we carry on into our own lives. Moana teaches us to follow our hearts and choose the path that is right for us. Tiana teaches us to work hard for our dreams to become a reality. Rapunzel teaches us to seek out adventure and new experiences. That’s why they shouldn’t be ranked against each other; they are all completely different!
It doesn’t matter if a woman is a housewife or a doctor. They both are feminists. Whether or not a woman does activities that are considered more feminine does not mean she isn’t for equal rights. This is setting a horrid example for young kids when looking to the princesses as role models. Each princess demonstrates a new challenges and shows how she overcomes it through her own beliefs and choices. Feminism is about giving girls the choice to be whoever they want without the oppression of others. Mulan and Snow White are both amazing princesses despite two drastically different story lines. And that’s okay!
It’s time we stop teaching women that they have to be carrying a sword and leading the charge to be a strong feminist. Every action, both big and small, can be the most powerful and make you a strong, badass feminist.
You, too, can be a feminist just like a Disney princess.