Princesses Don't Have to Be Disney
I type the word "princess" into Google search. And, lo and behold, Disney dominates the search engine. It's not until I'm a quarter of the way down the page until I hit my first non-Disney reference. And it's not even for a person. Thank you Princess Cruises for being popular enough to appear in a "Princess" search.
Now, I'm a Disney Princess fan like many other women of my generation. I grew up with Disney. I idolized first Ariel from The Little Mermaid and, as I grew a little bit older, characters like Mulan, Belle, and Jasmine. They are beautiful. They have crazy good hair. And, they can sing like no other. Still to this day, my parents still have The Little Mermaid curtains I begged for as a little girl hung up in one of our spare rooms.
Disney Princesses have a few things in common. They're all incredibly thin. And kind. And great singers. They all focus on love. Even Mulan, who, by the way, isn't even a Princess in the movie or in history, has to have a man in her life to make the story complete. Growing up, if I wanted to watch a princess, these were the only representations of female power that I had. Of princesses that I had.
Now, I know. Anna and Elsa may seem different. But are they? Really? When you get right down to it, Anna, falls in love and has to have a male companion for the duration of her journey. Elsa, while strong and powerful, is still depicted as incredibly thin, beautiful...and wow can she sing.
I suppose I should just let it go. But I can't.
Girls deserve more and better representations of what a strong woman can be. This doesn't mean that she can't have a male companion or fall in love. But it does mean that instead of having the same character (predominately white or, at least white washed, beautiful, thin, god-like voice), there needs to be a different narrative. A different story to grow up on. And one that will pop up in a search straight away whenever "princess" is typed.
I'm currently writing a fantasy story about a princess. She's flawed. She doubts herself. And, she makes mistakes. But, she is also strong. And intelligent. And caring. She takes chances and pushes herself to become a better person throughout the duration of her journey. She is described as beautiful, but not thin.
Can I hear someone ask for a body positive princess?...Yes! (Click on the Link!)
It is time for a new princess to take hold. Now, I know the princess in my novel will probably never become a Disney Princess. She probably doesn't quite fit the Disney mold. And you know what? That's ok. I would rather create a character, a princess, for little girls to look to who is healthy, strong, independent, and visibly flawed. Someone that is realistic enough that they can believe that's she's a real person. Tangible. Someone they can idolize and not have to photoshop themselves to look like.
It's time for a princess who's comfortable just being herself. A warrior. A scholar. A princess.
What do you say? Do you want to join the princess revolution?