February 22, 2015
As times and ideals changes, entertainment follows suit. Entertainment companies will change, adapt, and rewrite stories based on audience preferences. One of the best examples of this change is the evolution of the Disney princesses; each princess represents the standard for teenage girls of their time. The thirteen princesses can be broken up into three major categories: The Original Three (Snow White, Aurora, and Cinderella), The Renaissance Princesses (Ariel, Mulan, Jasmine, Pocahontas, and Belle), and the Millennium Princesses (Tiana, Rapunzel, Merida, Elsa, and Ana). As time progresses differences in personalities, issues, and relationships have changed in order to better reflect teenage girls of that particular period, these changes are easily identifiable by analyzing Aurora, Mulan, and Elsa.
The Original Three princess movies came out between 1939 and 1959, sleeping beauty in particular was released in 1959 making her the most current of the Original three. This movie was released in a time period where women were not seen as independent and the greatest thing a woman could be was a wife. Sleeping beauty had no real character traits, and even the gifts of song and beauty that were given to her by the good fairies were shallow and only served to make her more appealing. At the age of sixteen she dreamed of marrying a prince, who would make her happy. Aurora’s ambitions were simple and she was obedient making her the perfect girl to fall in love with. She, like the Snow White and Cinderella was a damsel, unable to defend herself from the evil Maleficent who was trying to kill her. Prince Phillip was forced to save Aurora and the rest of the kingdom, while she was comatose during the climax of her fairy tale. She was saved only by a true love, which was a cure all in the tales of the Original Three. Before falling victim to Maleficent’s curse Aurora had only met Phillip on one occasion but they were able to fall in love at first sight, which is another trend of the original three. The love they shared faced no threats or trials but was pure and believed to be fated. Like Aurora Prince Phillip was also perfect, he was handsome and chivalrous, ready to defend her at any time. They were what couples of that time period aimed to be, beautiful with a husband taking care of his wife and family while she smiled and loved him unconditionally.
While the Original Three focused on true love the Renaissance Princesses focused on freedom. These movies were released between the 70’s and 90’s a time where woman begin to focus more on themselves. These princesses all had a rebellious streak. Mulan in particular rebelled not only against her family but also against China by impersonating a man so that she could go to war in place of her aging father. Mulan was by no means perfect, she was clumsy and believed she could “never pass for a perfect bride, or a perfect daughter” no matter how hard she tried or attempted to change herself. Even while in the military she was told to go home on several occasions but persevered and became one of the best soldiers there. Ultimately through rebelling she was able to save China. Like girls of this time period Mulan faced many external and internal struggles in order to gain what she believed to be her freedom. By gaining this freedom Mulan was able to find love. She and Shang did not fall in love at first sight, only after going to war and defeating the Han were they able to recognize their feelings for one another. Shang also was not perfect; he was awkward while trying to express his feelings for Mulan and had to grow as a person before he truly saw her as his equal rather than