fictional characters These Disney Princess Were Absolutely Terrible Role Models  

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The Princesses in Disney films are some of the most popular characters in the world. Little girls everywhere have at one time or another wanted to grow up to be one of the princesses, from singing songs with cute forest animals to marrying Prince Charming while wearing their amazing wedding gown. Snow White, Belle, Jasmine, Cinderella and the rest are considered role models, but has any one taken the time to look behind the dough eyes and catchy songs? Could it be that these adored characters are nothing more than anti-feminist propaganda? This list will show some reasons that you might not want your little girl to grow up to be a Disney Princess.

The Disney Princesses used in this list are the current lineup of "official" Disney princesses. Other Disney heroines like Alice (Alice in Wonderland), Princess Kida (Atlantis: The Lost Empire), Nala (The Lion King), etc. have not been reviewed, so please do not feel slighted because Megara or Esmeralda did not make the list and you believe they are worse role models than those present.

And just in case you think it couldn't get any worse, check out Ranker's list of Racist Disney Cartoons.
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Princess Ariel


Ariel is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list These Disney Princess Were Absolutely Terrible Role Models
Photo: Freebase/Public domain
Anyone who says that Ariel is her favorite Princess is usually either a bitch or a redhead. Or both. Anyone who thinks that Ariel is a good example of what a woman should be probably hasn’t seen the movie or doesn’t really understand what "independent" means. Ariel certainly is strong willed, but she is hardly independent. She wants to leave the sea, which is ruled by her caring, land-loathing father, to go on land to marry some guy she doesn’t know a thing about, who rules some little principality in whatever European country that the movie takes place in. Her station isn’t going to change.

It’s not like she wants legs to become a dealer of rare and collectible forks. No, she wants legs to try and bang some dude she doesn’t even know— who makes it a hobby of feeding on some of her best friends—in hopes that life on land will somehow be better than being the most beloved princess in the ocean. Hell, the whole message of "Part of That World" is about how her life is perfect under the sea, but that just isn’t enough for her. Further, to get those legs, Ariel has to sell her voice (the original Hans Christian Andersen story tells us mermaids don’t have souls) and the sea witch, Ursula, even tells her how useless a voice is for a woman in "winning" a man, anyway. Her body is supposed to be her key to his heart, not her thoughts or vocal ability (how was she to know Eric had a thing for sopranos?). It’s to be a romance based in nothing but how pretty each is to the other.

Now, if Ariel actually knew a thing about Prince Eric other than how he likes boats and how he's handsome, then I’d be all for their star-crossed romance. Instead, we’re given a heroine who tells her family (who all love and support her) to F-off and sells her voice to a witch to have a chance to be with some guy she doesn’t even know. All of this is definitely the message you want to give to your impressionable young children.

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Princess Aurora


Princess Aurora is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list These Disney Princess Were Absolutely Terrible Role Models
Photo: Freebase/Fair use
Sleeping Beauty is the last princess movie to have had Walt Disney’s personal hand on it. She’s a princess who doesn’t know she’s a princess and therefore has no aspirations besides meeting other humans—preferably male humans. After 15 years of seeing animals bang in the woods, Briar Rose sings a little ditty called "I Wonder" where she basically mourns the fact that all the lady animals are getting some from their male cohorts and she hasn’t laid eyes upon a man in the entirety of her life. In fact, the only other people she knows are 3 fairies masquerading as humans to take care of her.

She’s so lonely, in fact, that she creates an imaginary "dream prince" and the animals play along (the owl acting as the prince). While they’re dancing and singing, however, a real prince comes along and starts dancing with her. This startles Briar Rose until Philip’s smooth line of, "We’ve met before … once upon a dream," wins her over. Yeah, nothing like telling a poor, desperate girl that you’re her dream prince to get some. It actually makes me wonder if the entirety of Sleeping Beauty happens in Briar Rose’s head (and how awesome, albeit f**ked up, would that be?). A girl so desperate for love, she rather sleep and dream of imaginary princes than live a life on her own, be it within the forest or outside.

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Cinderella


Cinderella is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list These Disney Princess Were Absolutely Terrible Role Models
Photo: Freebase/Public domain
The coolest thing about Cinderella is that her stepmother’s cat is named Lucifer. But this list isn’t about awesomely named animal sidekicks (though that list will surely come), so back to the princess at hand: Cinderella. So, she meets the prince, whirlwind romance, midnight strikes and she flees the scene. We all know the story. But the thing that I never understood about the story is those damn glass slippers: why didn’t they return to whatever matter they came from? The carriage returns to a pumpkin, the princess is once again a bumpkin, and yet the glass remains in slipper form. And what kind of a woman wears a glass slipper? Standard heels scare me enough, the chance that I might slip and it’ll shatter and tear my Achilles tendon does not do anything for me, but I’m obviously no princess. But neither was she, until she got a little help from a fat, old blue fairy woman.

Aside from constantly cleaning the house, putting up with three bitches and having rodent friends, Cinderella’s life wasn’t too bad. She lived without any sense of eminent danger, and she has a Fairy Godmother. Though, Cindy doesn’t know that until she wants to go to the royal ball. Seriously, where has that tart been all her life? "No, Cinderella, I wasn’t here because cooking and cleaning without talking back are all necessary skills you will need in life." But once that wicked stepmother cock blocks Cinderella from meeting Prince Charming? You better f**king believe the Fairy Godmother is going to appear and bibbity-bobbity-boo the f**k out of the situation to ensure that Cinderella gets her chance at some royal sausage. Again, girls, do your chores and get married. Aspire to nothing else. At least she and Prince Charming had some fine conversation for, what, five minutes at that royal ball, right? Enough to leave an impression that separated her from the other fine vixens of the kingdom.

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Belle


Belle is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list These Disney Princess Were Absolutely Terrible Role Models
Photo: Freebase/Public domain
Belle is the number one princess of choice among intellectual women. She reads, she thinks, she has a strong relationship with her father that isn’t on the borderline of creepy. She seems like a well-developed character, which is what makes her story the most destructive of them all. Belle is a woman who longs for adventure and yearns to make her life better. She wants to leave her small town to find a life worth living and a man worth loving, because that he-man misogynistic hunk of a hunter named Gaston just doesn’t cut it for her. Sadly, her plans are derailed when her father, in hopes to make their lives better, leaves her to enter his wood-chopping machine into the fair. After leaving for a few hours, his horse, Philippe, returns without him. Worried, Belle has Philippe take her to him. They find him locked in a cell in an otherwise seemingly abandoned castle. When accosted by the Beast, she suggests that her life be traded for her father’s. The Beast agrees, and that’s the end of Act 1.

Act 2 is dedicated to everyone in the castle trying to make Belle fall in love with the Beast, so she can break the spell. It’s basically a manipulation game where the Beast tries to act civilized to win the heart of the cultured peasant. And he wins, but in winning he is also changed—not just physically from a monster into a man, but within. At the beginning of the film, The Beast and Gaston are exactly the same person. They are both chauvinist assholes who don’t care about anyone but themselves and wager a woman’s worth based on her physical attractiveness. It is the Beast’s ability to change or, rather, Belle’s ability to change the Beast that turns him into the character that we love. And that is the problem with Belle and the movie itself: It teaches women that they can effectively change the man they love into the person they want him to be; or, conversely, that women should change to be with the person they love.

While I’m all for men not being assholes and becoming decent human beings, the message that it’s a woman who causes the change is definitely dangerous. Using a woman who is awesome and interesting as the vehicle of this message is additionally dangerous, as any woman who thinks herself deserving of a decent man but has a propensity for dating assholes may believe they can follow Belle’s route of changing men. But unless her person of interest has a horrifying curse affecting him, the change isn’t likely going happen. So, in the meantime, love the one you’re with and don’t expect change. You’re not a Disney princess and your life isn’t scripted in the manner of a fairytale.

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