Disney Princesses Best Modern Trend Fixes An Animated Classic Mistake

Classic Disney princess movies like
Snow White, Sleeping Beauty
, and
Cinderella
make a mistake that a modern trend has fixed. While princesses from Disney’s origins in the early twentieth-century show admirable traits like kindness and sympathy, they tend to be overly trusting and rarely stand up for themselves. Most early princess movies give the impression that women can only achieve a happy ending by marrying handsome princes, who save them with kisses and thwart the plans of
malicious 
Disney Princess villains
. While these storylines align with early twentieth-century social values, attitudes have changed and Disney princesses have evolved with the times.,Older Disney princesses often patiently wait to be saved rather than facing challenges. Lacking survival skills, many are almost completely unable to help themselves and others. Snow White helplessly runs through the forest, and can only support herself temporarily by cooking and cleaning for the dwarves. Cinderella needs magical help from the Fairy Godmother to save her from a life of drudgery, and Aurora is totally unable to help herself from the second she pricks her finger and falls asleep.,Related: Every Disney Princess Who Isn’t An Orphan,As such, it’s perhaps wise that the trend for modern Disney princesses like Mulan from
Mulan, Merida from
Brave, and Raya from 
Raya and the Last Dragon is to make them more capable than their predecessors. The defiant Scottish Pixar princess Merida breaks many Disney princess rules, and is the better for it. Merida is far from helpless, as she bests all her potential suitors in a shooting match to preserve her independence as a single woman. Mulan and Raya are even more heroic as they protect themselves, their families, and their people. These warrior women are a far cry from the passive heroines of Disney’s earlier period, as they are headstrong, capable, and courageous, establishing that being a Disney princess isn’t synonymous with being a damsel in distress.,Although they are armed and largely unafraid of conflict, it’s worth note that none of the princesses are cruel or violent. Although Mulan killed hundreds of men by ingeniously causing an avalanche, this is arguably justified, as they left a trail of devastation and burned entire villages to the ground. Like Merida, Mulan breaks Disney princess rules and shows considerable skill with a weapon, but she remains merciful and kills only when it is absolutely necessary for the protection of her people. In her showdown with Shan Yu on the palace rooftop, she shows mercy to the tribal leader when she could easily choose to dispatch him with his own sword. Her dragon companion Mushu eventually kills Shan Yu with a firework.,Raya similarly shows mercy to her arch-nemesis Namaari. At the end of the movie, Raya even manages to forgive Namaari and trusts her to save the world. While this sends a questionable message about the earning of trust and contradicts a classic Disney trope, Raya’s ability to contain her anger and resentment is praiseworthy. Despite their formidable fighting skills, Raya and Merida never kill or harm other characters. Both princesses succeed in calming tensions between various kingdoms and clans which threaten violence against one another, and both bring about peace and unity. Healing the wounds of the past and repairing their bonds with others, Raya and Merida learn that conflict can be overcome without the need for violence, ensuring that their less passive nature still leads to an important moral lesson.,Disney’s modern warrior princesses have the kind-hearted nature of their early twentieth-century predecessors, but avoid past mistakes by showing girls that they do not have to depend on men to protect and save them. Mulan, Merida, and Raya are kind characters who desire peace, but are also capable of defending themselves and others while still holding the role of the
Disney princess. Encouraging girls to stand up for themselves, Disney’s modern princesses have started a trend that promises to provide impressive role models for twenty-first century girls.,Next: All Former Disney Princesses Explained (& Why They No Longer Count)