Through some of Disney's latest animated works with female protagonists, such as Moana or Raya And The Last Dragon, it can be seen that they are trying to shape the new princesses to represent different cultures.
This article will take a look at the old and new Disney Princesses, the countries/cultures they represent, and make a few theories about the characters that might appear in the future.
Review of Disney princesses
Snow White - Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
Snow White's story is based on story number 53 in the anthology Grimm's Fairy Tales, published in Germany by the Brothers Grimm in 1812.
It can be said that Snow White represents the culture of German-speaking people in particular and European culture in general.
Story of Cinderella first appeared in Italy in 1634, in a collection of fairy tales collected by Giambattista Basile, then published in France in 1697 in Charles Perrault's collection of fairy tales, and finally in an anthology Grimm's Fairy Tales as we know it today.
Because there are so many different versions in countries like Germany, France, Italy, Greece, in general, Cinderella represents the common culture of Europe.
Aurora - Sleeping Beauty
Similar to Cinderella, the story of the sleeping princess in the forest was published chronologically in Italy, France and then Germany, also by 3 authors in the Cinderella section.
The first known version is a small part of the Perceforest, a work describing the legendary origins of Great Britain, dating from 1330 to 1344 in the Low Lands in what is now the Netherlands. The first official version, the most widely recognized, was published around 1459 - 1460, written by David Aubert as a gift to the Duke of Burgundy (now part of France). A small fact is that Aurora in Disney movies has a British accent.
So it can be guessed that Aurora partly represents the cross-culture between England and France.
Ariel - The Little Mermaid
The story of the mermaid first appeared in Andersen's collection of fairy tales, published in 1837 in Denmark. Unlike the folk tales collected by the Grimm brothers, the mermaid story was composed by Andersen (possibly with inspiration from many folk tales).
Speculatively speaking, mermaids represent the country of Denmark, or more broadly, Nordic culture.
Belle - Beauty And The Beast
The story of Beauty And The Beast was born in 1740 by the French writer Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve. This is the first Disney princess confirmed to be of French origin in the movie: in the scene where Belle goes to the morning market, everyone greets Bonjour.
Pretty obvious, this is a French princess.
Jasmine - Aladdin
The film was inspired by the story of the same name in the anthology of the One Thousand and One Nights, a collection of Middle Eastern folk tales. The name Jasmine was created by Disney, because in the original story, the princess character has no name.
In short, Jasmine is the representative of Arab culture in the Middle East.
The character Pocahontas was based on the true story of an American Indian girl (also known as Native American) born in 1596. She belongs to the Powhatan tribe, living in eastern Virginia, so the set her clan had several encounters with the British colonists at Jamestown.
Pocahontas represent Native Americans.
Mulan was inspired by the Chinese folk tale of Mulan. Mulan's first appearance was a folk song version called Mulan Tu (Ballad of Mulan), born in the Northern Wei Dynasty (557-589), in the context of constant war between the Northern Wei Dynasty and the Northern Wei Dynasty the Nhu Nhien nomadic tribe in the north.
In the film, Mulan is a representative of Chinese culture.
Tiana - The Princess and the Frog
The first version of the story of the frog prince comes from Grimm's Fairy Tales. Then, Elizabeth Dawson Baker, an American children's writer, took inspiration from that and published The Frog Princess story. And from the story of the frog princess, Disney has continued to refer to and make the movie The Princess and the Frog. In the film, Tiana is a black American girl living in the city of New Orleans, where more than half of the population is black.
So Tiana will represent the African American community.
Rapunzel - Tangled
The story of the long-haired princess Rapunzel was first popularized in Grimm's Fairy Tales. Going back in time, the Brothers Grimm collected this story from French author Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de La Force's Persinette. Further, Persinette's work is heavily influenced by versions of the old Italian folktale, Petrosinella, collected by Giambattista Basile.
Like Aurora or Cinderella, Rapunzel represents the European culture in general.
Merida - Brave
The story in Brave is set in the Highlands region of present-day northern Scotland.
Since this is a region steeped in Celtic culture, specifically the Gaelic-speaking Celts, so, Merida would be considered the representative princess of Celtic culture.
Moana film has many characteristics of the sea and island culture and Polynesian culture. Polynesia, also known as Multi-Island, is a region in Western Oceania, covering about 1000 large and small islands, with some typical islands such as New Zealand, Hawaii, and Tuvalu. The ethnic groups here live fragmented and disjointed on islands far from each other, but they have quite similar cultures, languages and beliefs.
So Moana will be the face of Polynesian culture.
Raya - Raya And The Last Dragon
As Disney's most recent animated production, the film draws inspiration from different cultures in Southeast Asia. Through 5 dragon tribes, Raya And The Last Dragon has simulated the characteristics of many Southeast Asian countries, such as temple architecture, wet rice civilization, interlaced river terrain, and busy ports performance, martial arts, cuisine, etc.
Raya will be a Southeast Asian piece in the family of Disney princesses.
Some conjecture about future princesses
It is an ancient and huge civilization without a specific representative. It is very likely that a future Disney princess will be Indian, because the Indian market is huge, and their national pride is also very high.
Mongolian culture is distinguished by their history of conquering the world. Imagine a movie about a 13th-century Mongol female general, living a nomadic life with the tribe, side by side with Genghis Khan to conquer all kingdoms large and small, sounds very promising.
Historically, Tibet has always been a culture that lived separately from the surrounding countries thanks to the difficult-to-invade Tibetan plateau. Tibetan culture is now a bit lost, maybe Disney will try to make it more known?
Quite similar to Tibet, the Japanese history has rarely been influenced or invaded by foreign countries. It created a unique and distinct culture (although still with some Chinese influence). Maybe Disney will target this market, competing with the already popular female characters in the Ghibli anime.
Latino includes people from Latin America, that is, from Mexico down to South America. Disney already has a Coco movie about Mexican culture, so there's a good chance there will be a Latino Princess.
After all, Tiana only represents African Americans, black people in America. Maybe Disney will follow the path of Black Panther and release an African princess.
Slavic culture in Eastern Europe, with Russia in particular, has not been featured in Disney's works for a long time. Maybe in the future, Disney will have a princess of Russian origin?
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