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The Student News Site of Elkhart High School

The PENNANT Online

The Student News Site of Elkhart High School

The PENNANT Online

Disney Princesses: Docile Or Daring? Isn’t There Room For Both?

Disney Princesses: Docile Or Daring? Isnt There Room For Both?

Should present culture–Disney, in particular–be changing the personalities of princesses of the past to make them more independent and self-sufficient? Princesses were an integral part of so many young girls’ lives growing up, but is it possible that they were doing more harm than good?

Recently, there has been a trend of taking older movies–especially movies with hyper-feminine, gentle, and nonviolent female leads–and morphing these females into something completely different, often becoming out of character, and fiercely independent. While some embrace this trend, there are clearly mixed opinions on the impact of altering the role models of young girls and boys in this way.

In the case of the new Snow White movie, the once docile Snow White becomes a fierce warrior who doesn’t need a prince to save her. In the original, however, finding true love was the theme, rather than proving that one doesn’t need a partner–and that’s a perfectly acceptable message. Wanting to have a family is just as important and understandable as wanting to go to battle, or have a job, or defeating a dragon. But, should we dismantle the message of the original storylines or create new stories with new messages to add to the old?

According to Lenniya Howard, a junior at EHS, altering the personalities of princesses causes more harm than good. “Young girls don’t need to be fighting in wars or slaying dragons to be strong,” she asserts. “The trend of changing the personalities of Disney princesses is extremely destructive for the growing minds of young girls. There is power in femininity and gentleness, and it’s important for little girls to know that.”

On the other hand,  some espouse the exact opposite stance. Many believe that altering a princess’s nature to one that is more independent and self-sufficient is key to helping young girls gain confidence. Recent trends in movies have shown a princess who isn’t in trouble and doesn’t need to be saved by a prince. There are those who believe that a more independent and confident role model is beneficial to younger girls, and that all princess movies should follow this trend.

Daryauna Rollins, also a junior, believes that altering a character’s personality and making them more important is vital to a more progressive society. “It’s so important to show young girls that they are more than just a wife, or someone who always needs to be saved by a man,” she maintains. “It’s good to show all women that they can do so much more than what old and outdated roles say we can do. Changing the personalities and characteristics of princesses of the past is a small step in the right direction, and helps young girls realize their true potential.”

But, as Cinderella proved, however, life is not a one-size-fits-all. Thus, maybe the moral to this story is “wear” the message that fits–remembering that women’s roles do, in fact, come in all shapes and sizes. And, maybe–just maybe–there is room to present multiple messages.

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About the Contributor
Zaria Stevens
Zaria Stevens, Staff Writer
Hello! I'm Zaria Stevens, and I'm a junior here at Elkhart High School. This is my first year writing for The PENNANT. Growing up, I have always loved reading, writing, and engaging with others. Reading books and writing stories has always been an important part of my life, and I’m so excited to share my opinions through The PENNANT. I decided to join Student Magazine, not only because I’m excited to write, but because I am eager to meet new people this year. I hope that in my time working on the Newsmagazine, I can affect or inform at least one person.

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    Stephanie IavagnilioMar 20, 2024 at 11:54 am

    This is such an interesting topic! I agree with the last paragraph, we should have a mix of both as life is never identical to anyone else’s and every life path should be deemed as acceptable. If we try to “fix” the princesses who just want to settle down with a companion and replace them with a brave warrior, then what does that tell the people who would rather live that quiet life with someone they love? Creating new characters while letting the old still thrive, will bring multiple lifestyles into perspective and allow kids to be their own individuals.