Are Disney Princesses Bad Role Models?

Should We Blame Disney For Their Lack of Positive Role Models?

Linnea Sundquist, Entertainment Section Editor

Disney is primarily known for their Disney Princess Franchise and over the years has had negative feedback from parents and other fans for not being positive role models for children. While Disney princess movies are a great source of entertainment for children, they also bring negative stereotypes on screen and tend to lack diversity. So do Disney princesses serve a good purpose for young children to learn from?


Modern Disney princesses have definitely evolved over the years but Disney still has a lot of work to do with making their princesses good role models, especially for young girls. The lack of diversity and representation for minorities and lack of body positivity can lead to young girls thinking they have to look a certain way or think they have to fit a certain “role” to fit in with society. 


 Disney doesn’t have the best role models, probably from their classic trope of women being rescued from their “prince”. A great example of this is from Sleeping Beauty or Aladdin which show the “rescue trope” pretty heavily in those films. The “rescue trope” is a stereotypical way of showing a woman in need being saved by a man she barely knows. This could be harmful in many ways, one being that girls may think they can’t be independent or make decisions for themselves. Now with modern Disney films out such as Princess and the Frog and Frozen, they do show strong female figures that focus on their dreams rather than only focusing on finding their true love. 


Even though Disney is still trying to work on getting more diverse characters in their films, they haven’t been exactly body positive either.  Most of the princesses shown throughout the company’s history have shown very similar, if not the same, body type for each princess. Disney should be promoting their brand as “every body type is beautiful” rather than promoting that one specific “type” is more beautiful than the other. The content children consume when they are young can stick with them for a while, and with Disney only having princesses with society’s expectation of the “ideal body type” could lead to girls thinking they aren’t pretty or that their bodies aren’t up to par with society’s standards. While Disney is starting to add more diversity into their storylines, they need to continue adding more body diversity into their cartoons. 


Another bad habit Disney keeps promoting is princesses running away from home. More times than not the main heroine in the story usually runs away from home to go on an adventure or to help the main conflict within the story. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, most parents don’t want their children to run away from home to be like their favorite Disney characters. 

I don’t necessarily think that Disney princesses are trying to be bad role models, but I do think that the company still has a lot of work to do with making more inclusive princesses. With the new live action movie Little Mermaid coming out and plenty others, I do think that Disney is on the right path to making their princesses better role models for this generation’s youth.