Disney is breaking barriers with the introduction of their first African-American princess, Tiana, in the upcoming “The Princess and the Frog.” First introduced in 1937, Disney princesses have had a long standing tradition as role models for young females.
Each princess has her own unique personality, and has faced some type of adversity in order to make it to their respective happy endings. Here are some of the princesses that are most notable for their strong personalities and their perseverance in order to reach princess status:
Originally introduced in 1937’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” Snow White set the mold for the typical Disney princess. Snow White is depicted as a gentle soul who sees beauty in everything but is a bit naïve. She spends the majority of her days singing to the woodland creatures and basking in the beauty of the forest. She is an optimist and she never loses faith that one day her wish for true love will someday come and take her away. She overcomes the plight of her stepmother, The Evil Queen, and is able to find happiness in the kiss of her prince and the aid of her seven dwarf friends. The plight of Snow White shows that by being a kind, gentle soul, everything will work out in the end.
Introduced in 1992’s “Aladdin,” Jasmine is a free-spirited princess who doesn’t necessarily follow any of the guidelines set aside for her, sooner risking her life to hang out with a “street rat” than marry a prince.
“What I like about [Jasmine] is she’s really independent. She won’t just settle down because other people tell her to. She wants to be happy and follows her heart,” said Caitlin Cegavske, an 18-year-old freshman Psychology major.
Introduced in Disney’s “Pocahontas,” Pocahontas is not like the other princesses who are born into royal families. Pocahontas’ father is a Native American Chief, making her the first Native American Disney Princess. Pocahontas is displayed as a noble, free-spirited and highly spiritual young woman. Pocahontas follows her heart and it leads her to John Smith. John Smith is one of the British settlers who has come to colonize the “savages” and seek out gold. Unlike his peers, Smith doesn’t see the Native Americans as savages. Pocahontas also doesn’t see British as evil. Both John and Pocahontas risk their lives for love, but in the end decide it is better to part ways. Pocahontas’ story shows that loving someone is the ability to accept who they are whole-heartedly.
First portrayed in Disney’s 1998 “Mulan,” Mulan doesn’t fit the previous Disney princess mold. Mulan is portrayed to be braver, more self-reliant, and doesn’t focus as much on marriage as past princesses.
“She breaks the Disney princess stereotype. She is tough, independent, unselfish, and does what’s best for her family,” said Holly Aesquivel, an 18-year-old freshman English major.
In order to protect her family and prove herself, Mulan goes undercover as a soldier in the Chinese Army. While pretending to be a man and with the help of her spirit guide, Mushu, Mulan is able to successfully infiltrate and gain the trust of the men in the Chinese Army. After successfully hanging out with the army men, Mulan is figured out as a woman. Despite being figured out, Mulan is still able to save the day and wins the heart of her love, Shang. Mulan shows that doing the right thing is not always easy, but by standing up for what you believe in you can become a hero.
The latest Disney princess, Tiana, is the first African American princess in the Disney cannon. Tiana was originally named Maddy and worked as a chambermaid, but her character’s name was later changed to Tiana and her job changed to a waitress.
“Princess Tiana will be a heroine in the great tradition of Disney’s rich animated fairy tale legacy, and all other characters and aspects of the story will be treated with the greatest respect and sensitivity,” said Disney spokeswoman Heidi Trotta.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Kenna Egbune at Ikenna.email@example.com.