Man Explains Why The Disney Princesses Are Great Role Models For Young Girls

The times have changed, and Disney Princesses are stronger now than ever before.

Brett Miller talking about the Disney Princesses TikTok

Shannon McNamara is a TikToker with a podcast titled “Fluently Forward,” and in one of her most recent episodes, she brought on another TikTok content creator, Brett Miller, and talked about why they believe that the Disney Princesses are actually positive role models.

Subject to an endless amount of controversy over the years, the Disney Princess movies — or even more simply, just movies with female leads — are some of the most successful and popular movies to ever exist in the animated film industry.


But for many, Disney Princesses were great role models for little girls.

McNamara opened the floor for the conversation, saying how she thought “it was kind of nice that there’s a franchise where the princesses are the main characters and the guys always come second.”

Miller responds, “Right, and that’s why it’s so funny when I hear this narrative, kind of, talking s--t about the Disney princesses and saying like, they’re so one-dimensional — especially some of the earlier princesses.”

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“But I always — I mean, as a little boy, those were the characters I looked up to the most and got the most inspiration from. I thought the men were boring and one-dimensional, so I always kind of [rebuked the] notion that the princesses are so anti-feminist.”

This is a critique that has plagued the Disney Princesses for years — and honestly, it isn’t unfounded. The earlier Disney princess films especially have some glaring issues with them and portray women in the typical “damsel in distress” manner.

Regardless of the fact that most of them are based on fairy tales not unique to Disney’s storytelling, they used their artistic license to perpetuate the same stereotype that women need saving or that romance is the ultimate goal, among other damaging tropes.


But Miller sees it differently and believes that the Disney princesses were powerful role models. He calls them his “girlies” and refers to them as his allies because of how strong and inspirational they were. He claims that he always viewed men as bullies and related to the women far more, making it impossible for him to “hate” them and instead gears his content to picking apart the men in the movies.

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The role of Disney Princesses has changed over the years, and they could be considered strong feminist role models today.

The Disney Princess movies took a turn entering the 21st century with Mulan, and have kind of stuck with the formula ever since. Yes, Mulan has a lot of patriarchal tropes and she does eventually find love in the end, but boy was she a bad--s.

She was the best soldier in the all-male army and saved China from the big scary bad guy — Captain Li Shang was just a sideshow.


Moving on, we have princesses like Rapunzel and Merida being thrown into the mix. Yes, Flynn Rider becomes Rapunzel's love interest, but he’s also a morally gray character who sits in the shadow of the strong-willed princess who’s trying to escape her horrible situation and become an independent woman.

Merida doesn’t need a man and actively fights against the “married off to a prince” trope, showing why she’s capable of standing on her own and embarking on a tale that’s more about her relationship with her mother than anything else.

Moana, Elsa, Mirabel, need I go on? The times have changed, and it seems like Disney has recognized their past mistakes and moved forward with trying to portray these women and girls as more powerful and independent people. There’s even a scene in the 2018 Wreck-It-Ralph sequel where Vanellope meets all of the Disney Princesses and they touch on it briefly.

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Vanellope hates the idea of being a princess, but joining the honorary list of Disney Princesses and being a strong female lead in her own movie (no it isn’t about Ralph don’t argue with me), the princesses question her about her backstory. At one point, Rapunzel goes up to her and asks the “million-dollar question,” “Do people assume all your problems got solved because a big strong man showed up?”

“Yes! What is up with that?” she responds, leading the rest of the princesses to shout in joy at the fact that she really is a princess. They’re constantly being brought down by claims that they were saved by men when in reality, many of them were in control of their own stories.

McNamara herself feels as though the discourse has gone a little too far, with people almost trying to find something wrong with the princesses in bad faith. “On a whole, do you think there was a bad intention?” These days, I would argue that there isn’t.


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Isaac Serna-Diez is an Assistant Editor who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics. Keep up with his rants about current events on his Twitter.