Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Dater's Guide to Disney Princesses

Ask anyone, even a guy, who their favorite Disney princess is, and there's a good chance they'll have an answer for you. Chances are, they'll have a well thought out answer. According to the official Disney Princess home page, there are currently 10 Disney princesses in the line up. Each of these fictional, animated characters shares the common thread of being featured in one or more films. But each was also created to have her own unique personality. These unique personalities have made it possible for people to choose their favorites over the years.

So how do people choose a favorite? Is it how they look? What dress they're drawn in? Singing ability? Willingness to frolic with tiny woodland creatures? What follows is my guide to just how datable each of these princesses really is. If the Disney princes had had this primer before their movies premiered, some may have had second thoughts. Others would probably think, Yeah, I picked the right one! So here they are, in order of their appearance in popular culture...

Snow White
Everyone knows who Snow White is, right? I mean, if you haven't seen the Disney classic, there's a good chance you saw one of the two movies that told the story last year: Snow White and the Huntsman and Mirror, Mirror. And then there's the current TV show Once Upon a Time, which puts a modern spin on things. What do we know about the first Disney princess? According to Christopher Finch's The Art of Walt Disney: From Mickey Mouse to the Magic Kingdoms, Snow White is a 14-year-old princess whose parents are dead. A magic mirror claims that she's the fairest in the land, whatever that means. Turns out that's enough to set off her psychotic step-mother in a jealous, homicidal rage. So Snow has to run away from the castle to become a housekeeper for a group of miners. This isn't much of a change for her since the queen was using her as slave labor.

Should You Date Her?
Absolutely not. For one thing, she's 14. I don't think that's ever mentioned in the movie, but it's in a book that chronicles the history of Disney animation. That means that someone somewhere made a decision to make Snow White a 14-year-old girl. That's just way too young. Also, that information really paints the queen in a much more evil light. Who tries to murder a 14-year-old girl? But let's pretend she's old enough to date. She lived with seven dudes at the same time. That denotes a questionable morality at best. It may have been completely platonic, but still... seven guys just seems like too much. Add to that the fact that some of her best friends appear to be birds and rodents, it just seems sketchy. They help her clean house. That doesn't scream "clean" to me. Prince Charming should probably just move on.

Another tragic story of a poor little rich girl. Raised in an aristocratic home, she lost her mother at a young age. Dad felt that she needed a mother figure in her life, so he remarried and brought a couple step-sisters into the mix as well. I've got to ask, where did her father meet this woman? Did she just pretend to be nice until the old man died? Because, as we all know, Lady Tremaine forced the girl into slave labor (I'm sensing a theme). Luckily, Cinderella had a fairy godmother that decided to give the girl a magic date night with a prince. Unlike Snow White, she wasn't born into royalty. Spoiler alert: she marries into it, giving her that "happily ever after" that these princesses all seek.

Should You Date Her?
I'm gonna say no to this one as well. While she is noticeably older than Snow White, she still has that issue of consorting with vermin. While the mice of the sprawling mansion seem to be fantastic seamstresses, I'm not sure I'd trust them to put together a proper dress. What's worse, she talks to the mice and they talk back. Someone may have some issues with hallucinations. This becomes more apparent when a "fairy godmother" magically appears and turns her rags into a gown and a pumpkin into a coach. Assuming the fairy godmother's magic was real, Cinderella relies a bit too much on that magic to make her happily ever after come true. Although, she and the step-sisters are the only ones we see vying for the prince's affections. That being the case, Cinderella is the only logical choice, with or without the glass slipper.

Ah, Sleeping Beauty. I'll admit, this was one of my favorites as a kid. Maybe it's because they did a lot to flesh out the villainess, Maleficent, this time around. She just seemed like a really cool bad guy. Aurora, on the other hand, doesn't get a lot of screen time. She's only around as a speaking character for the middle third of the film. At the beginning, she's an infant. For most of the end, she's asleep.

Should You Date Her?
Probably not, no. Don't get me wrong, she's cute and all. And she's got more of a rustic appeal than the previous princesses had. It helps that she was raised in a cabin in the woods, away from her royal palace. But that's an issue in itself. She's got family she doesn't know. That's going to cause a significant identity crisis when she goes back home for her 16th birthday. Also, she's only 16. Also, she's another one that talks to animals. I'm starting to think it's almost understandable to have conversations with these woodland creatures, though. Snow and Cindy were slaves, so they didn't get a lot of social time. Aurora only hangs out with three old women. I'd probably find myself talking to mice and squirrels too. Throw all that out, though. She apparently has a problem with narcolepsy. She and Prince Phillip get married, they settle into their own palace and Phillip might be feeling a little frisky, as husbands sometimes do. All he ever hears from Aurora? "Not tonight, dear, I'm tired." Red flag, Phillip. Red flag.

The Little Mermaid is another of my favorites. This is one that was new in my childhood. It probably really introduced me to the Disney animated musical. For the first time, we have a princess who has a very strong personality. She's assertive and rebellious and it gets her into a whole lot of trouble. Which is probably good because, otherwise, it would have been a boring movie. She's a collector of random surface-world items and happens to fall in love with a handsome prince. Don't they all?

Should You Date Her?
Absolutely not. I feel like I'm being really negative with these girls. And I like Ariel, I really do. She has a fantastic singing voice. But she was willing to sacrifice her greatest asset to a sketchy sea-witch. So right off you know her decision making skills are pretty poor. Also, she's a hoarder. I know, I called her a "collector" in the above paragraph, but I was being nice. Have you seen that trove of hers? Who needs 20 thingamabobs? I mean, really. Also, it's never enough. In a direct quote from Ariel's "Part of Your World" she says, "You want thingamabobs? I got 20! But who cares? No big deal. I want more." Prince Eric, look out. You could give her the world and it will still not be enough. It may seem simple to give her a lifetime supply of dinglehoppers with which she can brush her hair, but do you really want a palace full of useless forks? And, again, I feel the need to bring up the age issue. She's 16, which means she's probably old enough to date. But she is just 16. And she's kind of delinquent. Why is she signing contracts as a minor? I get it. She's a real princess. She's the possible heiress to the Seven Seas. But where's her mother? As the youngest of Triton's daughters, there's a good chance she's never had much of a maternal influence in her life. With only an angry merman to raise her and her six sisters, she's bound to have some serious daddy issues.

Beauty and the Beast is definitely my favorite of these Disney films. Sure, Disney took a lot of creative liberties with the story and there are tons of plot holes that one could spend hours, even days, debating over. But it's fun to watch. And sing along with. Go on, pretend like you're not singing with Belle when she walks through the village saying bon jour to the townsfolk.

Should You Date Her?
Yes. This is one of the good ones. She's well read and obviously educated. She's not shallow, otherwise she'd be with that lunkhead Gaston. She loves her family. Granted, the only family she has when we meet her is her father, Maurice. But she doesn't care what the people of the town say about her dad, she's there for him no matter what. And she sacrifices her own freedom for his after they first encounter the Beast. The Beast/Prince definitely comes out ahead in this relationship. Especially when she breaks the curse and all the servants become people again, meaning they have no furniture or dishes in the palace.

Her tale is told in the story of Aladdin. She's the daughter of the Sultan of Agrabah, giving her a significant amount of power herself, as the person she marries will eventually succeed the sultan as ruler. It seems a bit unfair to think that Jasmine herself isn't in line for the throne, only the guy she marries. Actually, that's really unfair. Come on, Agrabah! Let's try to rethink how the line of succession works in the future, okay?

Should You Date Her?
No. Don't get me wrong, Jasmine's gorgeous. And I think the name, Jasmine, is all kinds of beautiful. But she will probably always question why you're with her. Do you love her for her or do you love her for her father's throne? Yes, she's adventurous and courageous. Much more so than most pampered princesses who rarely see beyond the palace walls. And let's think about her family for a moment. The sultan doesn't seem to be playing with a full deck. And he's highly susceptible to hypnotic suggestion. Studies have shown that, in cases like these, the apple does not fall far from the tree. How long would it be before Jasmine started exhibiting signs of her own senility? That could turn into a long-term problem for Prince Ali.

The daughter of a Native American chief, Pocahontas was single-handedly responsible for welcoming the British to the new world and taught them how to fish and plant crops so that they wouldn't starve to death during the harsh winter. What? That's not really how it happened? Well, if Disney can rewrite history, why can't I? To be fair, it can simply be said that Disney fictionalized a story based on actual historic figures.

Should You Date Her?
Yes. In 1607, when the Jamestown settlers arrived in the New World, the real Pocahontas was only 12 years old. The movie portrays her as much older. Let's go with the movie portrayal so it isn't quite so gross. She's outdoorsy and knows her stuff. Also, she's wicked brave. She put her own neck on the line when attempting to save John Smith. Pocahontas is the kind of girl who is able to respect her family and their traditions, but she's also not afraid to stand up for something she believes in so she can follow her own path. I respect that.

Is Mulan really a princess? She doesn't come from a royal line that I'm aware of. And in the end, she falls in love with her superior officer. I don't think that means she's a princess. She's admirable, yes, but not a princess.

Should You Date Her?
No. For one thing, she's lying about being a princess. For another, she seems kind of gender confused. I understand that her reasons are noble. She's saving her elderly father from having to go off to war. This means she has strong family ties, a plus. But she's dressing like a guy. For most of the movie. I mean, if that's the kind of thing she's into, that's cool. I guess. But it seems to me that would be problematic in terms of having a relationship.

Tiana is another one who married into her title. Sorry, hope that's not a spoiler. I've only seen The Princess and the Frog once, so I'm not as familiar as I have been with some of the older movies.

Should You Date Her?
Yes. Like I said, I'm not terribly familiar with Tiana's story. But here's what I know about her that makes her datable. She's a very hard worker. The girl's working two jobs when we first meet her, all to save up money to make her dream of owning her own restaurant come true. This causes her to become a little obsessed, but she's able to move beyond that obsession soon enough. She's willing to work for what she wants, but isn't oblivious to the fact that what she wants is not always what she needs. Another plus, she's faced with temptation and an easy way out of her predicament, but turns it down. She's ready to do what's right for the right reasons. She's a keeper.

Poor girl. Lived a sheltered life 'til she was 18. Locked away in a tower for "her own good." The woman that raised her kept her away from the world because it wouldn't be safe for her if people knew about the magical properties that her hair possessed. The truth of the matter was that Old Lady Gothel wanted that magic for herself, just to stay forever young. But Rapunzel, as it turns out, is not the kind of girl to just sit back and play the damsel in distress. Sure, she's a little naive as we start the story, but she goes on this whirlwind adventure and discovers that the woman she's called "Mother" all these years has been lying to her. And then, the fury begins. Just a whirl of wind and arms and fingernails. And hair.

Should You Date Her?
Absolutely. Rapunzel's the kind of girl who obviously does not need some guy to come along and save her. Well, she does. But not for the traditional reasons. Flynn Ryder shows up and just happens to be in the wrong place at the right time. Rapunzel's looking to make an escape from her tower and Flynn's arrival just happens to be serendipitous happenstance. I'm sure I used that phrase all wrong. Anyway, she manipulates him into helping her leave home for the first time. She's excited and a little jumpy at first, but she quickly learns how to take care of herself in the real world. In no way does she let herself become a lesser character than her leading man, standing equal with him throughout the film. And, in the end, she's the one who saves his life, not the other way around.

According to one source (Wikipedia), Brave's Merida will be added to the Disney princess roster later this year. I won't go into why she's datable, but she gets my stamp of approval. Mostly because she doesn't take any crap off anyone and can handle a bow and arrow like a champ. Also, I think Disney should consider adding Princess Leia to the line-up as well. Disney now owns the rights to Star Wars, and Leia is a princess. But I wouldn't date her. She says she likes nice guys, but she's really attracted to the bad boy. Also, she kissed her brother. Not a peck on the cheek. Full on lip lock. I'm just sayin'.

There you have it. If you're a guy, which of these princesses would you hypothetically date? If you're a girl, which of these princesses would you like your son to hypothetically bring home?


  1. I always identified most with Belle. Bookish and brown eyed, etc. She's always been my pick, but some of the newer princesses (Rapunzel and Merida especially) are pretty awesome too.
    Also, Flynn is by FAR the best of the heroes.
    I TRIED to watch Snow White when it came on not too long ago, and honestly, knowing that she's only 14 helps a little because DANG she was an annoying little drama queen.

  2. I read this the other night, but forgot to comment.

    I'm glad you think Belle is datable, b/c she's da bomb. Smart, brown eyed (just like the above commenter - give brown eyed girls a chance) and not into guys with overly chiseled chins.

    Plus, not many girls can pull off a yellow gown.

  3. Do queens count? Elsa gets my vote. If not, then definitely Belle.

  4. You can even work a two-toned effect: pink on top and lavender on the bottom with a thin white stripe or pretty lattice pattern marking the separation. castle bunk bed

  5. You can even work a two-toned effect: pink on top and lavender on the bottom with a thin white stripe or pretty lattice pattern marking the separation. castle bunk bed