The sight of Disney princesses coming together in Ralph Breaks the Internet brought people to a frenzy. Finally, the well-known women were in one scene and actually interacting. Of course, there were a couple of snubs but many just dismissed it since the popular princesses are all there.
What you might not know is the underlying detail as to which of them is an official Disney princess and the criteria they have to meet to be “crowned.” You’d be surprised.
1. Have a primary role in an animated movie
2. Be human, or become human (like Ariel in The Little Mermaid)
3. Don’t be introduced in the sequel
4. Be royal, marry royal, or perform an act of heroism
So far, all 11 princesses check out, including Mulan who is the only non-royal in the list. In fact, “act of heroism” was added later in the fourth rule to officially crown the savior of China.
The Film Theorists also suggested two more rules: wearing a dress and having an animal sidekick. But, of course, that’s not true and they were being fun with it.
That said, though, many can’t help but wonder why Moana and Pocahontas were snubbed. Their royal circumstances may be different but they both did acts of heroism.
This is where the unspoken rule comes in: the movie should be a box office hit, but not too successful. Her Campus notes that Tinker Bell was once a Disney Princess but she was removed because her character became a franchise. This is also true for Frozen‘s Elsa and Anna, who are actually part of a royal family.
For as long as we can remember, Disney has made it a point to inspire kids to look up to these women and to dream big like they did. But when you also have badass females, especially those of color, that Disney doesn’t put in the forefront because they don’t meet certain standards, what message does that send? “Anyone can be a princess—but for the right price,” probably.
You can be a princess even when you’re not the main character—Vanellope von Schweetz’s scene with the Disney Princesses tells you as much. Every character in these movies are seen as heroic in some way and we don’t want the women to be the after-thought or just be the leading lady.
We don’t have to argue which of the 11 deserved her spot because they all got that fair and square. We just want to see more of Disney’s women up on that pedestal.
Art by Marian Hukom
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