Disney Feminism

(Who said fairy tales are boring)

Literature and the arts, including cinema, have been a vehicle to convey messages and reflect social perceptions for a long time in any eras.  So, if you want to learn about history, the most romantic way is to learn about literature and art.

As a movie lover, I am very interested in the topic of feminism. I have always thought that there is no better place to talk about feminism than Disney, where we have princesses who were, are, and will always be are images that have a profound impact on women since they were little girls.

Period: The 20-60s of the 19th century.

disney princesses

Credit : Disney


Activities to fight for women's rights in this period were still weak, mainly revolving around demonstrations demanding changes in the working environment, and fair pay rather than gender equality.

Cinema in this period was the kingdom of males and the concept of feminism in movies did not not seem to exist. The female characters appeared faint, mainly playing the role of "Goddess" with a beautiful, clear, eye-catching appearance that lacks deep content. To be precise, they were more like exhibits than actors. Disney princesses were no exception. The Snow White, Cinderella, and Aurora (sleeping princess) all have a pure, gentle, kind, and beautiful image. In addition, their story had no fighting message at all!


Later in the film industry (from the 60s to the 90s), feminist messages began to appear and became stronger.

disney princesses

Credit : Disney


At Disney, firstly we had the mermaid Ariel, who was tired and bored of living in the ocean, bravely overcame her pain, leaving everything behind to go to the new world. But to achieve that dream, she had to endure a lot of pain, which hurts her physical health and family emotions.

Then there was a beautiful Belle. The girl who was brave and loved reading books sacrificed herself for her father. She dared to live in the castle with the monster, and used her inner beauty to seduce him and fight to protect my love.

Jasmine, the princess who refused an arranged marriage, dared to give up her royal lineage to break free from bondage, to be free and to love a tramp like Aladdin.

Mulan might be the most memorable milestone because it contained many of the most powerful messages of this period. The film told the story of a girl who disguised herself as a man to join the army instead of her father. She became a strong soldier, and fought to protect her country. The funniest scene was probably when the men in the movie dressed skirts.

The message in Mulan in particular and the cinema of this period in general is also the primordial message of the feminist struggle, which is the affirmation that women are completely strong enough and can do well the jobs of men.


Since 2010 up to now, not only the explosion of 3D graphics effects, but also the feminist messages in the movies have grown stronger and become more diverse, deeper and more interesting.

disney princesses

Credit : Disney


At Disney, we first had Rapunzel who dared to escape from prison to achieve her dream of freedom, and adventure. Long flowing hair was the cause of prison, and it was a prison as the stereotype that girls who having a long hair to eventually cut off.

And in “Merinda in Brave”, first of all, she has removed all the standards that people usually imposed on a princess. She wore her hair disheveled, and got rid of the restrained dress. Her talent was not the same as other girls. It was archery and horseback riding. She was a strong girl who longed for freedom, to be herself, to do what she liked, to decide her own life. Moreover, the message throughout the film was about cherishing family love, not about any "white horse prince". Since Merinda's time, the princes have become more and more obscure at Disney.

disney princesses

Credit : Disney


The family love message was repeated to Anna, who told us that a princess did not need a kiss from a prince, but from her family member (sister). Family was true and unbeatable love.

Then Elsa was beautiful, haughty, strong, hidden with endless potential. Above all, Elsa was the first princess to become queen. Well, why dream of being a princess, when you can be a queen?

The most recent was probably Moana, who was beautiful, talented, strong, responsible, and ready to take on great responsibilities.

disney princesses

Credit : Disney


Bridging Disney's princess films, we'll always see cross-cutting but evolving messages about life, love, and feminism. That is the call, encouragement, advice, inspiration for girls who have become modern princesses to become more and more beautiful, confident, strong, free, happy and beautiful to achieve what they want.



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