Which Disney Princess is the best role model for little girls? As a father of a three-year-old daughter, I have devoted a lot of time to this question over the past year. Based on sales alone, Disney knows that a huge percentage of little girls love the Disney Princesses. Disney also knows that many little girls, either knowingly or subconsciously, look to the Disney Princesses as role models. But the question remains as to which Disney Princess is the best role model for little girls?
Original Disney Princesses are not Good Role Models for Young Girls
Sorry Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. You’re all out! None of the original Disney Princesses are good role models for young girls. These girls are timid, passive, and fall madly in love with total strangers. These Princesses do not stand up for themselves or push the plots forward in any real way. They are reactive rather than proactive.
Cinderella allows herself to be treated as a doormat. She allows herself to be locked in her room. She allows her sisters to rip apart her dress. She does not stand up for herself and must be rescued by a total stranger.
Snow White spends her time cleaning and cooking for the Dwarfs, and seems to be entirely content in that roll. She occasionally sings and kisses them on their foreheads. Snow White acts like a mommy to adult men, which is just weird.
Sleeping Beauty acts as the main character in her movie simply by being present. She passively allows things to happen to her. She is cursed, after all. What can she do? These Disney Princesses are not good role models for young girls.
These Disney Princesses are Better Role Models for Young Girls
The new generation of Disney Princesses is certainly superior to the originals. Ariel is independent and inquisitive. She is also bold and proactive, saving Prince Erick from drowning. Still, she falls in love with Prince Erick immediately, before they even talk with one another, and she deceives her father, so there is certainly room for improvement. Finally, there is the matter of her skimpy outfit.
Princess Jasmine also has an independent streak, and also wears a skimpy outfit. She is smart enough to realize Aladdin is Prince Ali, but is not very proactive in the film. I view her as being similar to Ariel.
Pocahontas is strong and smart, but still falls almost immediately in love with John Smith. Also, her body is ridiculously perfect, including but not limited to her long legs and hair cascading to her waist. My daughter has already said she wants “Pocahontas hair.” These three Disney Princesses are better role models for young girls, but not quite the best.
So which Disney Princess is the Best Role Model for Young Girls?
Belle and Mulan are both strong role models for young girls for various reasons. But which of these Disney Princesses is the best role model?
Belle is smart and independent. She is not afraid to be different. She is an unabashed bookworm. After watching Belle, little girls might realize that reading is cool! Belle also does not wear her heart on her sleeve. She rejects Gaston, widely considered the best catch in town. She also does not immediately fall in love with the Beast. She eventually develops feelings for him as she gets to know him as a person, and is even able to overlook the Beast’s ghastly appearance. Belle is beautiful but does not show an excessive amount of skin.
Mulan is intelligent, brave and unwilling to accept unfair rules that are trust upon her (take that, Cinderella!). She only defies her father to save his life. She risks her own life to pose as a man in the Chinese army. Further, she fights bravely in battle, saving her comrades on numerous occasions. Mulan also shows a sense of humor, ranging from her disgusted reaction to the horde of naked male soldiers running to the pond to her embarrassed, “Oops!” as she meets the matchmaker. How many other Disney Princesses are actually funny?
In the end, I think Mulan is the best role model for young girls among the Disney Princesses. All of the Disney Princesses are beautiful and kind, but Mulan adds the elements of bravery and humor, traits that are frequently reserved for male characters. I’m glad my daughter picked Mulan as her favorite princess.