These princesses are taken from the official list according to this official Disney website (list on unofficial Disney princesses will come another day).
I love Disney and sometimes I still feel like that little girl who their films inspire and empower every day. Are they all perfect? Far from it. They do make a difference though, and here's some of the characters I believe make the most impact.
She is the original Disney book nerd. If she were around in modern times, she would write fanfiction, live on goodreads, and run a #bookstagram account with flocks of followers. The first time I saw her as my four year old self, I recognized my people. She's loyal, classy, and smart. This beauty stands up for her truth instead of falling in line with everybody else. And, despite many Stockholm Syndrome theories out there, I see it as more taking whatever situation she's in and turning it into something good (she made a home in her little town's only bookshop and made a family out of the talking inanimate objects of Beast's castle).
This woman epitomizes focus, determination, and business savvy. She may be an artist in the kitchen, but she doesn't let that creative spirit stop her from finishing what she starts. I was not expecting to fall in love with this character as much as I did the first time I saw The Princess and the Frog in theaters. The movie's moral may be that she takes her ambition overboard, but she still has a rock solid relationship with her mother and her childhood friend throughout. Tiana offers hope that somebody can have it all with enough hard work and a good team behind you.
This list wouldn't be complete without my favorite late-bloomer who finds herself in the last place she'd ever think to look. Her biggest asset is her ability to adapt to get what she wants. Finding unconventional ways to get the job done is how she uses the unique way she sees the world. Sure, her strengths may not make her the best fit for the society she lives in, but she defies those expectations for the best of causes: family and self-discovery (and to defeat...the huns...hooa!).
Honorable Mention: Merida
My heart will always belong to my hand-drawn Disney classics, but Pixar stole a good chunk of it with this red-headed badass and her mommy issues. It told a uniquely Celtic-Scottish tale of a hero who makes a deal with the supernatural and the beauty of differences coming together through the power of true communication. Merida always aspires for freedom and her mother's balancing perspective crafts her into a revolutionary future leader. And let's be frank, anyone who can wrangle three evil-genius toddlers like her has super-powers.
If you hate Disney's whole princess push, I can't blame you. They're not for everybody and some of the marketing decisions behind them can be awkward sometimes (Wreck It Ralph 2 and everything involving Amy Mebberson are both amazing and do not fit into that category). Regardless, I hope you enjoyed the list. Go ahead and leave your own thoughts!
Do you take joy in Disney as much as I do? Who are your favorite figures from their movies (royal or otherwise)? Are there any non-Disney media you wish were highlighted more?
Brie Tart writes fantasies in which she draws the mythical from the mundane. She spends the rest of her time dabbling in languages and prepping for her next adventure.