Princesses and the Power of Forgiveness

There has been a growing trend among princess shows over the past few years. Princesses always forgive the ones who hurt them the most. Though the Warrior Princess archetype has grown more popular now than ever before, it is still an inborn characteristic of a princess to choose the path of the lover over the fighter unless she is given no other option. The parallels between the endings of Tangled: The Series and She-Ra and the Princesses of Power this year are so prominent that they could have been written by the same person. Both shows feature a princess who is betrayed by her best friend and end with the two frenemies working out their differences and confessing their love for each other with the fate of the world at stake. Even though both Cassandra and Catra chose to lash out against their former princess allies with violence, Rapunzel and Adora proved to be the bigger person by refusing to fight back because violence only leads to more violence. This is an important and powerful message that we can all learn from, especially today.

Adora forgives Catra

I don't consider myself a political person, but the events that have been taking place all over the world in recent weeks are impossible to ignore. A terrible act of violence was committed by a police officer in Minneapolis, who was rightfully punished for his crime. While some people have responded to this with peaceful protesting, others have taken advantage of the situation by robbing and murdering even more people than the ones they are trying to defend. I believe that if this had happened in a fairy tale princess's kingdom, she would have stood up for the rights of everyone who was hurt and taken a stand to protect her people so that no one, regardless of race, gender, or sexuality, would be hurt again. I was shocked to see how many people have spoken out in favor of the violence, claiming that it is the only way for their message to be heard. Yet, the message has been loud and clear among anyone using social media without any need to place more lives at risk.

Last week, I binge-watched Sofia the First on Netflix and noticed a pattern in the final season. Sofia faced off against numerous villains throughout the first three seasons, some of whom seemed too powerful for a little girl to fight on her own. Yet, thanks to her friends and her magic amulet, she always prevailed. With the fourth season rolled around, there were countless comebacks from each of these former foes. One by one, Sofia took the time to listen to their stories about why they had tried to hurt her and her friends in earlier episodes. One by one, she forgave them and allowed them the opportunity to see beyond their cruelty and violence and evolve into a better person. Cedric, who had plotted against her since the very beginning, was the most obvious example. Throughout the show, we learned about his neglectful father, toxic raven friend, and sister who never forgave him for a single mistake from his childhood. Little by little, Sofia won him over with her innocence and kindness until he no longer cared about taking over the kingdom. She did the same for Miss Nettle, Princess Ivy, and even Prisma, who caused her a great deal of trouble in The Mystic Isles special.

I've heard the word "privilege" thrown around a lot lately. Princesses come from a place of privilege by nature, but they do not let it define who they are. In fact, many of them don't even like being princesses. Instead, they choose to use their power to help those who don't have the same advantages as them. Ideally, we would live in a world where everyone is treated as a prince or princess and is given an opportunity for their dreams to come true through hard work and good decision-making. We are closer to this today than we ever were before. Yet, we are approaching a crossroads in the path of humanity, and it is my hope that we choose the right one. Just as Grandmother Willow told Pocahontas, "Sometimes the right path is not the easiest one." If Rapunzel gave into Cassandra's anger instead of taking the time to listen, the kingdom of Corona would have been taken over by Zhan Tiri. If Adora allowed Catra to be consumed by hate, Etheria would have been destroyed by the Horde. These are the lessons being taught to the next generation of female leaders and entrepreneurs.

I support black lives, peaceful protesting, and justice against those who have been wronged. I do not support violence, riots, hatred, looting, or lashing out against innocent people. The world we live in is not a fairy tale. That is what draws me to idealized fantasy worlds led by powerful and kind-hearted women who selflessly offer forgiveness to those who have wronged them in the past. We must learn from our fellow princesses to be patient and convince those who act in anger that the path of hatred is not the right way. It is only then that we will be able to save our beloved kingdoms. This is the path I choose. Where do you stand?


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