The Rise and Fall of the Animated Prince

Let's take a moment to talk about princes. Why princes? Because they never really had a chance. At their best, they are seen as a coveted accessory for princesses, and at their worst, they are seen as promoting unhealthy sexist ideals to vulnerable children that women are unable to take care of themselves. Because of the latter setback, princes have gotten the short end of the stick in recent animated movies, whether it's being portrayed as useless in Brave, evil in Frozen, or completely nonexistent in Moana. Sadly, Disney had just started to improve their prince formula around the time that this brutal take-down of chivalry took place. Why can't we have the best of both worlds?

The reason for the lack of developed male characters in animated films hearkens back to the very first one, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Initially, the nameless Prince was supposed to be a much more important character. Most of his scenes were cut from the film because the studio had so much tr…

How Sofia's Controversy Created Elena of Avalor

With the Realm of the Jaquins special coming up this weekend, now is a good time to discuss the origins of Elena of Avalor. It started last year as a spin-off of Sofa the First, and thus far, it's proven to be little more than a mere shadow of its predecessor. Elena's premiere was celebrated with an elaborate coronation ceremony at the Disney theme parks, viewing parties, and shout-outs all over the media. Sofia got none of these things. Why? You may not like my answer. Nearly all of the attention focuses on Elena's heritage as a Latina princess, not the quality of the show or the character. I am in no way denying the importance of diversity and representation in the media, but let's take a quick look at how Elena of Avalor came to be.

In 2012, Sofia the First premiered with a special entitled Once Upon a Princess. It went on to become a regular television series airing on Disney Junior in 2013. Princess fans watched the series with great anticipation, and they were n…

The Burning Question: Is Mulan a Princess?

Mulan is a wonderful animated feature that was released by Disney in 1998. Showcasing a young woman who broke tradition by disguising herself as a male soldier and saved all of China in the process, it is, in my opinion, one of the most empowering films for girls on the market. Yet, with my reputation as a self-proclaimed princess expert, there is one burning question that people are always asking me: "Is Mulan a princess?" She was not born to a king or queen, nor did she marry a prince, so why is her visage so often plastered alongside the other royal heroines? The short answer is that she's not a princess, but she is a Disney Princess. Why aren't the two mutually exclusive? The answer to that is a bit more complicated.
When the Disney Princess line was launched in 2001, it initially focused on the main six--Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, and Jasmine. However, since Jasmine was the only heroine of color in the line, it expanded shortly thereafter to in…

Queer Princesses

Queer fairy tales could not have existed until fairly recently sue to social stigma. Gay and transgender princesses are rare, but they are out there and will only grow in number as the LGBT movement gains momentum. Since Disney is still testing the waters, we need to look to Japan, with its progressive culture of yaoi and yuri. Queer characters are fairly common in anime. When it comes to fairy tale tropes being turned on their head, there's no better example than Revolutionary Girl Utena.

Utena's gender and sexual identity are rather complex. In some ways, she is very feminine with her long pink hair and gentle voice. She got caught up in the mysterious rose duels in the hopes that she would be reunited with a prince who comforted her when she was a young girl. Yet, Utena rejects social norms by wearing a boy's uniform to school, wielding a sword, and telling everyone that she wants to become a prince. She isn't exactly transgender, but she could be gender fluid. Her …

Are All Queens Evil?

In my "Animal Princesses" post, I mentioned that Lauren Faust was coerced by Hasbro to change Queen Celestia into Princess Celestia because little girls see queens as evil and princesses as good. Why is that? Surely, there were many benevolent queens throughout history and mythology. Have the Disney Princesses taken over the world so much that people believe that princesses ran the monarchy? I think it's more complicated than that. Wicked queens are usually stepmothers who seduce the king to gain power. Most princesses don't have mothers, and the few that do are very loving. What is the root of the problem behind all the queen hate?

The Evil Queen from the ever evolving tale of "Snow White" strikes fear into children's hearts at the mere mention of her name, if she has one, of course. Since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first animated feature film ever, it had the side effect of setting the groundwork for certain archetypes in animated fairy t…

Are All Princesses Good?

Yesterday, I explored the stigma that all queens are evil. Today, I'd like to follow up with an analysis of the stigma that all princesses are good. In the 1985 movie, Legend, Princess Lili gets seduced by Darkness and transforms into a "dark princess" in a revealing black dress, implying that her innocence had been taken away. Does being a princess and wearing a white dress automatically make a character sweet and innocent? The creators of Child of Light, which I referenced in my "Video Game Princesses" post, had some fun with this concept by disguising a wicked princess to look like a good one. Ironically, the word "princess" is often used as an insult. Why? No one embodies the reasons behind that better than Princess Morbucks from The PowerPuff Girls.

Despite her name, Princess is not actually a princess. She is the spoiled daughter of a very rich man who gives her everything she wants. Thus, she possesses all of the princess traits that are frowne…

Do Disney's New Theme Park Costumes Go Too Far?

I mentioned in my "Theme Park Princesses" post that the Disney Princesses get occasional updates on their costumes every few years. However, the updates for the European princesses were much smaller than the changes Disney has made to their ethnic princesses as of late. I was one of many princess fans who was quite shocked by how much they had altered Jasmine's costume. Mulan and Pocahontas's signature dresses have been changed quite a bit from the original movies as well. Were these changes about political correctness, or were they genuinely trying to improve the outfits from these classic animated '90s movies? Let's take a look.

First up, we have Princess Jasmine, who used to wear a skimpy crop top in the vein of her outfit in the movie with additional bling. Jasmine's original costume was very similar to something a belly dancer would wear in her culture, not a princess. Still, the look was all the rage when Aladdin came out in 1992. The new costume ha…

The Princess Body Image Issue

Big-shot director James Cameron  recently made some controversial comments regarding the recent  Wonder Woman  movie, referring to her as "an objectified icon" and calling the movie "a step backwards." He used this as an excuse to pat himself on the back for his character Sarah Conner from the Terminator  movies. James Cameron is notoriously full of himself, so it's no surprise to see him bring down another movie in order to promote one of his own. His comments rubbed many people the wrong way , including Wonder Woman  director Patty Jenkins , who retorted with: "James Cameron's inability to understand what Wonder Woman is, or stands unsurprising as...he is not a woman...If women have to always be hard, tough and troubled to be strong, and we aren't free to be multidimensional or celebrate an icon of women everywhere because she is attractive and loving, then we haven't come very far have we. There is no right and wrong kind of pow

Does Race Determine Which Princess You Can Dress As?

Halloween is just around the corner. Did anyone go to any fun Halloween parties this weekend? Who's your favorite princess to cosplay as? Halloween is the one time of year that people can pretend to be someone else and to look and feel different from their everyday life. I dressed up as Emma Swan from Once Upon a Time this year. For me, Emma is a makes me feel empowered because she is more assertive than I am and has survived through many hardships in her past. It's fun to dress up in unique costumes once a year, especially if you've always wished you could be a princess. Recently, certain articles have been popping up on social media claiming that dressing as a princess who is a different race than you or your child is "cultural appropriation" and therefore wrong. As you can probably guess, I am of the dissenting opinion on this not only because I think kids should be able to dress as whatever they want for Halloween, but also because I believe that it goes agai…

Do Princesses Encourage Vanity?

One of the most common criticisms that princesses get from adults is that they encourage little girls to be vain. It's a separate issue from body image because it's about their delicate features and not their shape. In fairy tales, there is always an emphasis on the princess character's striking beauty. She is fair-skinned and raven-haired with big eyes and glittering jewels. Take for instance the '90s board game "Pretty Pretty Princess," in which the goal is to have all of the jewelry in the game and win the jewel-studded crown in order to become the princess. As we all know, being a princess is not just about jewelry. Newer Disney Princess movies tend to place more emphasis on inner beauty than many of the older ones.

Fairest is a book by Gail Carson Levine about a girl named Aza who wishes more than anything to be beautiful. It is a twist on the classic "Snow White" tale, changing her defining trait from physical beauty to a beautiful singing voic…

The "Damsel in Distress" Stigma

I recently saw a fantastic YouTube video analyzing the stigma that the title character from Disney's 1950 Cinderella is inherently weak despite enduring years of abuse and maintaining a strong survival instinct. It got me thinking about one of the most common criticisms people have toward princesses, which is that being a "Damsel in Distress" is a poor influence on girls. My issue with this is that it implies these characters somehow choose to put themselves in horrible situations in an attempt to be rescued by a prince. Why would anyone choose to be placed in such awful situations? They wouldn't. Just because many of the older princesses do find a way out of their unfortunate circumstances through the love of a prince (which is no longer the case) does not imply that they were the masterminds behind their own abuse. In fact, if they had intentionally put themselves in these situations, they would certainly have some extremely messed up psychological issues.


Are Princesses Only for Kids?

It's a little surprising this topic hasn't come up yet, but I suppose it was inevitable. A little while ago, I saw a Facebook ad for a Broadway Princess Party in which three women who played  princesses on Broadway will be performing a concert consisting of their favorite princess songs. Of course, I immediately bought tickets. The post continued to show up on my feed for the next few days because it was sponsored, and I eventually saw a comment from someone asking if the event was for little kids even though the ad said nothing implying it as such. To make matters worse, another person replied that they were confused because the concert is at night, which seemed late for a children's event. Considering that most Broadway shows have 8pm performances regardless of their target audience, I would say the time of the concert is irrelevant. The target audience is another story entirely, though. Is this directed at children despite featuring performers who most children would h

Is Anastasia Now a Disney Princess?

Have you heard? There's a rumor in St. Petersburg! Disney has bought out Fox for $54.2 billion earlier last week. They mainly did this to obtain ownership of what few Marvel properties they didn't own yet, but as an added side effect, they now own other animated properties including The Simpsons and everyone's favorite Don Bluth princess, Anastasia. Anastasia recently celebrated its 20th anniversary and is still going strong on Broadway. What does this merger mean for the many fans of the franchise? To be honest, probably nothing. However, there are those who are keeping their fingers crossed that this historically inaccurate redhead will be added to Disney's elite group of princesses. Could this dream become a reality once upon a December?

The answer is a bit more complicated than you might think. Being a Disney Princess is not necessarily the same thing as being a Disney character who is a princess or in some cases, a popular heroine. What cannot be disputed is that …

How Princess Culture Affects Society

A few days ago, I saw a meme pop up on my Facebook feed listing a bunch of empowering adjectives to use for girls to replace the words "princess" or "beautiful." I admit I might be a little bias as the proud owner of a princess blog, but when I saw this, I couldn't help but think to myself "Those two things are not mutually exclusive!" In recent years, there has been a huge surge of princess-related content in the media that has not only changed what it means to be a princess but has also created an entire culture around it. Just like with all movements, princess culture enthusiasts were quickly met with a large opposition who focus heavily on the negative aspects what it means to be a princess. As a result, we end up with books like Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein, which claim that princesses may prevent girls from living up to their full potential.

Being a princess today means something completely different than it did 50 years ago, 1…

Mysticons Played Its Fans Like a Violin

When writing about shows that haven't ended yet, there is always a risk of analyzing something that may no longer be valid a few weeks later. This has happened to me twice with Once Upon a Time when I pointed out that Tiana did not appear to be a princess by birth in the series, which turned out to be false a couple of weeks later and later that their Rapunzel storyline wasn't actually about Rapunzel, whose storyline turned out to be covered the following week. Despite these minor incidents, though, I have never felt quite as duped by a TV show as I did with last week's episode of Mysticons entitled "Twin Stars Unite." You may recall my post about the new princess in Mysticons, in which Proxima, who had mainly been a background character up to that point, was revealed as Princess Arkayna's long-lost twin sister. The writers proceeded in having us believe this lie for an unprecedented five episodes, which translates to over a month in viewing time, before reve…

What Is Happening to the Disney Parks?

Change is not always a good thing. When it came to the Disney Parks of old, Walt only wanted to make changes that would support the advancement of technology, new movies, and the overall enjoyment of his guests. For a very long time after his passing, his philosophy seemed to remain in tact. In 2013, Walt Disney World did a complete redesign of their outdated Fantasyland in Florida. New Fantasyland was everything a modern princess could possibly want from a Disney park, with gorgeous real-life reproductions of locations from The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast along with stunning new rides featuring the latest in animatronic technology. Unfortunately, happy endings last forever, and many of the changes that the parks have made since then have not been for the betterment of the guests. Instead, they came as a result of business partnerships and corporate greed. These changes range from insane price hikes to the recent closing of my favorite restaurant in Disney's California…

Do Princesses Ever Get Angry?

As we all know, princesses are the most interesting when written as fully fleshed out characters with a wide range of personalities and emotions. However, some sources claim that princesses, or at least the ones from Disney movies, never experience any feelings other than happiness or sadness. Disney even made this jab at themselves in one of their own movies. In 2007, Giselle from Enchanted was shocked to learn that she was capable of experiencing anger when she left her animated fairy tale world for the grungy reality of modern-day New York City. The implication was that she needed to be a real person in order to experience real emotions. Do two-dimensional princesses really only experience two dimensions of emotion? Let's explore.

To be honest, I find such claims confusing because animated princesses get angry all the time. Ariel's motivation to become human in The Little Mermaid is cultivated by a heated argument she has with her father over whether or not she's old en…

Charming and the Decline of Femininity

I've been wanting to write about Charming, an upcoming animated movie for a long time. I first heard about it at the CTN Animation Expo in 2014. However, small animation studios like 3QU tend to have trouble getting their releases off the ground. That might explain why the movie trailer dropped over a year ago without any sign of a release date and then mysteriously disappeared without a trace until last month. According to IMDB, the movie is coming out gradually in various parts of Europe over the course of the next month or so, but there is still no mention of a release date here in America. Despite its limited release, the studio was able to cast some pretty big names, including Demi Lovato, Ashley Tisdale, John Clease, Tom Kenny, and Tara Strong. At first glance, Charming looks like it's just another princess parody from the producers of Shrek, but many of the comments on the trailer revealed some strong opinions that I would like to explore further. Watch it below and for…

Confessions of a Grown-Up Princess Fan

There's certainly no shame in loving princesses when you're older. However, ever since I entered my 30s, I noticed that there were certain aspects of princesses and fairy tales that I could no longer relate to. I still believe in fighting for what's right and following my heart, but I don't view the world with the same wide-eyed innocence as I did when I was a teenager. Most princesses are roughly 16, and they tend to act their age. When we're younger, everything is new and exciting, and there are infinite possibilities for the future. Our lives may not be the easiest, but we've never been let down or had their heart broken yet. The older I get, the more I understand why queens are often portrayed as dark or evil. Though I still relate to Ariel's passion and desire for freedom, I probably act more like Megara from Hercules or Kida from Atlantis. These animated heroines have been around long enough to see the world for what it is and don't feel the need…

Why I'll Never Do a Top Ten List

It's a fairly common thing for blogs or YouTube channels like mine to do rankings of the "best" characters, movies, etc. I put "best" in quotes because it's entirely subjective. I've seen plenty of "top ten" lists online before, and every time one of two things happen--I either agree with it or I don't. That's going to be the case for anyone who sees such a list. It's just one individual person's order of favorites, and it doesn't say anything about the quality of the movie or impact of the character. Now, if you were to ask me who my favorite princess is, I would have no problem answering that (Ariel), nor would I hesitate to tell you my runner-ups (Tiana, Mulan, Rinoa Heartilly, Anastasia, Sofia, Rapunzel, and Belle). I could even give you a list of articles I wrote about one hundred different princesses if you're having trouble keeping track of them all. The only thing I won't do is go through each runner-up for…

Is the Daughter of the Village Chief a Princess?

Being a princess can mean different things to different people. Being a Disney Princess gets a little more complicated. There's a joke from Disney's 2016 Moana about what makes a Disney Princess when Moana tries to tell Maui that she isn't a princess, and he claims that if she wears a dress and has an animal friend, she is, which is pretty much on par for Disney standards. Even though Moana isn't listed on the official Disney Princess page due to her movie being recent enough to market off its own name instead of the Disney Princess name, she was still included in the Wreck-It Ralph 2 trailer. Moana is pretty clear about how she sees herself is in the song "I am Moana" in which she states "I am the daughter of the village chief." The lovely Auli'i Cravalho who lends her voice to the spirited protagonist is also rather vocal vocal about how she considers Moana more of a heroine than a princess. Of course, with the way princess culture has evolved…

Is Hollywood Out of Ideas?

I was thinking about writing a review of Netflix's sequel to A Christmas Prince, but it really speaks for itself. It's a cheap sequel to an already low-budget movie that isn't worth anyone's time. A better thing to discuss is why Netflix bothered making a sequel to A Christmas Prince at all, especially after they already contributed a low-budget movie to the princess-filled month of November, which, while not exactly original, was at least not a sequel. Netflix produces a ton of content. Even Disney Legend Glen Keane is working for them now! Even though everything they produce is not guaranteed to be a high-quality blockbuster, this unwanted and unnecessary sequel is just the tip of the iceberg. A bigger problem lies below the surface. The best new princess show Netflix has made is actually a reimagining of something from the '80s, and almost every Disney movie in production right now is either a sequel or a live-action remake. Are there truly no more original idea…

No, "Kiss the Girl" Is Not Misogynistic

If you haven't heard the news yet, there was a recent controversy about an all-male a capella group from Princeton University called the Tigertones, who were pressured into removing the song "Kiss the Girl" from Disney's The Little Mermaid from their set list. This comes right on the heels of another controversy regarding the holiday classic "Baby, It's Cold Outside" getting banned from various radio stations for similar reasons. Supposedly, both songs counteract the #MeToo movement because they are about women being coerced into situations that they have not consented to. The jury may be out on "Baby, It's Cold Outside," but as far as my favorite redheaded Disney heroine is concerned, this preconception is straight-up wrong.

"Kiss the Girl" takes place after Ariel has given her voice up to Ursula in exchange for legs under the terms that Prince Eric must give her the kiss of true love to prevent her from turning into one of Ursu…

What About Kairi?

*The following post contains spoilers for some of the final cutscenes in Kingdom Hearts III. For a less spoilery post, please refer to the review I posted last week.

Kairi is the only original Princess of Heart in the Kingdom Hearts series. She has been there since the very beginning when we saw her playing on the Destiny Islands with Sora and Riku. While Sora and Riku demonstrated enormous growth since the first game, Kairi still remains very much static. It's been 13 years since the first game, but her role still follows many of the same outdated tropes as much older video game princesses. While being a damsel in distress is not necessarily as bad as it's cracked up to be, a princess character does need to have some sort of redeeming quality to make up for her lack of physical prowess. For Cinderella, it was her unwavering loyalty to her stepfamily and her late mother despite the tragic events of her life that would have turned anyone else into a bitter cynic. For Snow White

Sequels and Remakes and Trailers, Oh My!

Is Disney ever going to slow down? You would think with all the live-action remakes and sequels that they are releasing this year, they would want to save something for the next year or two, but you would be wrong. It isn't enough that 2019 is jam-packed with live-action remakes and animated sequels because Disney announced last week that they are pushing up the release date for a sequel to one of their live-action remakes. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, the next chapter to their 2014 flick that told the story of Sleeping Beauty from an new perspective, is coming this October. To be fair, Maleficent is different from Disney's other live-action remakes because it is not an unapologetic carbon copy that is doomed from to be inferior to the original from conception. With a script by the Disney Princess of screenwriting, Linda Woolverton, the movie puts a feminist spin on a fairly outdated tale about a damsel in distress who needed true love's kiss to restore her vitality. With…

Has Rapunzel Gone Goth?

It would be impossible for me to write this post without spoiling the latest episode, so go ahead and watch Rapunzel and the Great Tree if you haven't seen it yet before reading on. I was surprised that this hour-long episode was not promoted as a major special at all as far as I could tell. Rapunzel and the Great Tree was a crucial turning point in the plot and should have been treated as such. It brought back all of the things that we have been waiting since the season premiere to learn more about, such as the character of Adira, the significance of Varian's father, the meaning of the moon symbol next to the Sun Drop symbol on Adira's scroll, and the black rocks, which created the events that kicked off the series from the very beginning. Rapunzel and her friends are traveling to a place called the Dark Kingdom, which is where the mysterious rocks originate from. If that doesn't sound foreboding enough already, Disney also took some pretty big risks in the latest spe…

We Need to Talk About Princesses and Racism

I can't believe I need to post about this again. The response to my post about the actress chosen to play Ariel in the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid was quite frankly appalling. In fact, Disney removed the post announcing her casting from many of their official Facebook pages yesterday. People are judging Halle Bailey solely by the color of her skin when many of them have never seen her act. None of us know what she's going to look like in the film after her hair, makeup, and costumes are finalized, which is why I didn't have much to say about the casting choice yesterday. Anyone judging this movie at such an early stage is basing their decision on a racist mindset to at least some degree. As a natural redhead myself, I understand why many people were hoping that Ariel would have red hair in this version, and I look forward to seeing if she will when the time comes for them to reveal her final image. Besides, it isn't like we've never seen a non-white pr…

Five Times Disney Race-Bent a Princess and Nobody Complained

With all the controversy over Halle Bailey getting cast as Ariel, I wondered why nobody made such a big deal out of all other times Disney race-bent a fairy tale princess. This is not intended to be another post about why we should support Halle but instead an analysis of all the other times this happened in a Disney production. This is such a hot button issue right now that people are talking about it when they don't even have all the facts. ABC's The View aired an episode in which Whoopi Goldberg claimed that Halle was voicing the character for an animated production, and other people are making videos where they claim that Ariel isn't a princess or that she had green skin in the original fairy tale. Let's take a moment to get our facts straight while we explore how this is something that Disney has been doing for over 20 years.
Cinderella - 1997
This is the one that people remember the most fondly, and for good reason. Whitney Houston's passion project to produc…

Review: Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs

There are a ton of cultural discrepancies involved in the production and distribution of the recent "Snow White"parody movie, Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs, and I mean a ton. It was produced by a Korean animation studio called Locus Animation. Despite having been around for roughly a decade according to their website, they have never produced an animated movie before this one. Even though the main characters look vaguely Korean and one uses ofuda talismans as an attack, the movie has a full cast of American voice actors. You may have heard of Red Shoes from the controversy it caused at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, where numerous people complained about a billboard for the movie featuring a skinny and fat version of Snow White with the tag line "What if Snow White was no longer beautiful and the 7 Dwarfs not so short?" This billboard sparked anger from the western world about the princess body image issue over to the implication that being skinny is equivalent to…

Thoughts on a Live-Action Snow White

Disney recently announced that they will begin production on the live-action remake of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This announcement was a long time coming, beginning with plans for a movie featuring Snow White's sister Rose Red from the fairy tale "Snow White and Rose Red" before ultimately deciding to go back to their standard route of lazily recreating something they already made. This wouldn't be the first live-action portrayal of Snow White for Disney. Ginnifer Goodwin starred as the fair-skinned princess for six seasons on ABC's Once Upon a Time, which was owned and shamelessly plugged by Disney. In my opinion, there are very few actresses who can convey the same combination of innocence, spirit, and altruism that Ginnifer brought to the character. In 2012, there were two live-action adaptations of "Snow White"in theaters from competing studios, neither of which were Disney. Still, this announcement marks the first time that Disney is remaki…

Never Mess With a Princess

Betrayal has been a common theme among princess shows as of late, and I think that may be something worth exploring a little further. I incorporated an act of betrayal into my own story, The Stolen Jewel, even before it appeared in three of my favorite princess shows. The betrayal of a princess by someone she cares about is a big trend among Disney properties within the past five years or so. It began with the popularity of Frozen which had a novel twist for a Disney movie in which Anna's true love turned out to be using her for power and tried to kill both her and her sister. Once Frozen became the cultural phenomenon that it did, Disney decided to duplicate the formula with varying results. In my opinion, the most effective of these was Cassandra's betrayal of Rapunzel. The Tangled series gave us over two years to feel as close to Rapunzel's lady-in-waiting as she did, which made it sting that much more when she stabbed her in the back during the previous season's fi…

Hey Disney, Are You Okay?

I know I rant about Disney a lot here, and while that isn't meant to be the purpose of my blog, the massive conglomerate of fantasy and dreams seems to be on a downward spiral with an exponentially increasing velocity. There were several new announcements over the past week which provided further confirmation things are not likely to improve any time soon. Last week, I posted about their forced revival of The Princess Diaries franchise. Even though it's unnecessary, at least it's not another remake, right? Plus, with all the remakes released so far, there has only been one sequel produced. I've found it in my heart to forgive Maleficent 2 due to the fact that it takes place in an alternate universe from the original Sleeping Beauty and never could have existed in the animated universe anyway. That is not the case for the new Aladdin, which was a pretty good remake but a fairly literal translation of an animated franchise that already has twosequels and a series. At lea…

Can Andrew Lloyd Webber Modernize Cinderella?

This post was inspired by a reader of my blog who informed me of an upcoming new Cinderella musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Modernizing the story of "Cinderella" is more complicated than rebooting a franchise like The Princess Diaries because Cinderella has already been reinvented countless times. Some of these reimaginings are better than others. The most obvious problem with creating a stage musical of "Cinderella" is that the Rodgers and Hammerstein version has evolved into a timeless classic since it was first performed by Julie Andrews on live TV in 1957. The most recent revival of the production added a modern twist by making Cinderella a revolutionary who takes advantage of her close relationship with the prince to help the peasants overcome a housing crisis in their kingdom. Was this element a necessary addition to the story? Not really. Yet, it offered something new to take away from a tale we've already heard hundreds of times. If Andrew Lloyd Webber …

COVID-19 Updates from the Kingdoms

We've been locked in our towers for weeks now with no word from Mother Gothel on when we can go back outside. This is a hard time for everyone, including fairy tale princesses. If you've been too stressed to keep up with the ever-changing schedules for upcoming princess movies and events, don't worry. I've got you covered. As we all know, the Disney Parks are now closed indefinitely around the world. However, Disney cast members are being placed on furlough so they can still get paid during these uncertain times. Movie productions have been delayed as well. The live-action Mulan, which was supposed to come out in theaters on March 27th, is now set for theatrical release on July 24, 2020. Another upcoming princess remake, The Little Mermaidstarring Halle Bailey, has also halted production indefinitely. The project was supposed to start shooting earlier this month in London. There are photos circulating of a boat set in Pinewood Studios that has been temporarily abandone…

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…

Three of the Most Messed Up Princess Tales Ever

Many people like to talk about how much darker the Brothers Grimm stories were than their movie counterparts. Yes, we all know Cinderella's stepsisters had their eyes pecked out by birds, and Snow White's stepmother was forced to dance in burning hot iron shoes until she died. However, I find medieval punishments for wicked deeds far less disturbing than glorifying or rewarding characters for malicious actions. Did you know that in the story of "Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp," Aladdin wins the princess's hand in marriage by teleporting her into his bed on her wedding night and teleporting her new husband outside to sleep in the cold? Author A.G. Marshall wrote a fantastic short story about this aspect of the fairy tale called "The Princess and the Lamp." Women being treated as property is quite disturbing by today's standards, but here are three examples of even more disturbing stories where princesses are rewarded for downright wicked behavior.

Does Tiana Deserve Better Than a Splash Mountain Revamp?

The internet has been buzzing today with news that the classic Disney Parks ride, Splash Mountain, will replace its animatronic characters from Disney's forgotten 1946 feature Song of the South with new ones from their 2009 classic, The Princess and the Frog. The announcement was made right on the heels of massive civil unrest in the middle of a pandemic that forced closures of Disney parks around the world. It would seem that Disney was keeping this project in their back pocket for over a year as they waited for the right time to announce it to the public. They could not have picked a better time to reveal an attraction dedicated to the first black Disney Princess than this very moment. Yet, the timing seems almost too coincidental after so many complaints masses about a ride featuring a movie that has been virtually deleted from the Disney library for generations. Is this really a tribute to the fantastic reimagining of "The Frog Prince" that Disney released a little o…

Why the Cinderella Trope Doesn't Work in Modern Settings

After I shared my post about Hallmark princesses, I went ahead and watched every Hallmark movie I could find that involved royalty. Let me tell you; there are a lot. Sitting through one low-budget romcom after another, I found that the overwhelming majority of them have the exact same plot. A quirky American career woman falls in love with a mysterious stranger who turns out to be a prince from some obscure nation. She goes to live with him at the castle, finds that she doesn't fit in, runs away, and eventually, the prince comes back to her and proposes. At first glance, these movies appear to be attempts at modernized versions of "Cinderella," but upon closer inspection, they are vastly different. The protagonists in these romcoms are not being oppressed by abusive family members, nor are they living in a time period where the only way for a woman to get ahead in the world is by marriage. In fact, most of these women are doing just fine long before the dashing love inte…

Feminism vs. Femininity

When the first Women's Rights meeting was held in Seneca Falls in 1848, some people were opposed to the concept of feminism because it was not considered feminine. By today's standards, it seems silly to even consider a world where women wouldn't be allowed to vote. Modern girls are encouraged to grow into powerful women who can do anything they put their minds to, pushing boundaries and breaking stereotypes. However, what is left to break when the stereotype they are fighting becomes obsolete? Through the years, Disney Princesses have represented the ultimate ideal for what it means to be a woman. During the Disney Renaissance era of the '90s, that ideal shifted from a damsel in distress to a rebel fighting to break free from the restrictions of her society. Today, a Disney Princess represents a young woman who has already reached the strength and potential of a queen and is simply waiting for her time to rise to power. In the 1998 version of Disney's Mulan, the t…

Netflix, Are You Kidding Me Right Now with This Winx Reboot?

It's official. Hollywood is dead . If the Mulan  remake wasn't bad enough, even our non-Disney childhood favorites are being turned into gritty soulless live-action shadows of their former selves. Remember when things like this used to be a joke? Those days are over. Now we have hyper-realistic Riverdale spinoffs that aren't actually realistic because they feature teenagers with superpowers. They are just realistic enough that all of the whimsical fantasy elements that we loved as kids are now gone, but not so realistic that they are beyond things like vampires, werewolves, or seances. What sort of world are we living in when a show about faery princesses  does not even portray its fairies with wings? I suppose you can argue that maybe they didn't want to reveal the wings in the trailer, but isn't that the entire point of Winx Club ? See for yourself. Does this look the Winx you remember? So yeah, this is Fate: The Winx Saga , which is coming to Netflix on Januar

Is Once Upon a Time Getting Rebooted?

In late 2019, ABC greenlit a new romance drama  produced by  Eddy Kitsis  and  Adam Horowitz  about Disney and fairy tale characters living in an enchanted forest. If that sounds familiar to you, that's because it is the exact formula that was used to create the 2011 ABC drama, Once Upon a Time , and by the same producers, no less. Once Upon a Time's seventh season was treated as a reboot of sorts and was, in many people's opinion, when the Disney-owned fairy tale drama finally jumped the shark . Why, then, would they think it's a good idea to do it all over again? Disney's  behavior in recent years  shows a dearth of creativity, as does  Hollywood in general , so it isn't all that surprising that they would want to recreate a show that already has a fanbase, just as they've been tirelessly recreating their classic movies . However, the question remains that just because they can, does that mean they should? From an objective standpoint, Once Upon a Time wa

Are Villains the New Disney Princesses?

When Disney released the trailer for their upcoming Cruella  movie a couple of months ago, the internet had a lot to say. I decided it would be best to stay in my own lane. After all,  101 Dalmatians  and its subsequent remakes are not Disney Princess movies . Then, it was announced last week  that a new movie featuring Cinderella's stepsisters, Anastasia and Drizella, is in the works. Suddenly, Cruella  didn't seem so irrelevant after all. It looks like villain-centered remakes are the next step in Disney's ongoing trend of poor decision-making  and the general dearth of creativity in Hollywood . Don't get me wrong; I thought Maleficent  was an excellent movie in its own right and quite innovative for the time period, but I wasn't expecting it to be the mold for a series of cookie-cutter screenplays about sympathetic villains after Disney ran out of animated classics to convert into soulless live-action remakes . I've seen tons of backlash for Cruella  from

Let's Talk About True Love's Kiss

Every so often, someone makes a silly complaint about a Disney Princess movie instilling poor morals, and I am always ready to defend it. The latest silly accusation stems from the opening of Snow White's Enchanted Wish  at Disneyland Park . This refurbished dark ride is a reimagining of the former  Snow White's Scary Adventures  with new animatronics  in honor of Disney's year-long Ultimate Princess Celebration . Amongst the new animatronic showcases is a pivotal scene from the classic 1937 animated film  in which the prince gives Snow White true love's kiss , reviving her from a deathly slumber so that she can be free to live out her happily ever after. A few days ago, two journalists from a publication called SFGATE released an article  complaining about this non-consensual kiss that has put the internet into an uproar. Let's discuss the moral ethics of true love's kiss. The concept of true love's kiss is not unique to "Snow White and the Seven Dwar

What It Means To Be a Disney Princess in the 2020s

The first post I wrote in this blog was called "How the Disney Princesses Stayed Modern for 80 Years."  The answer was a combination of creating new princesses to match the times along with branded promotional videos, events, and merchandise that combine the old with the new. The latest example is this year's Ultimate Princess Celebration , which is an attempt to celebrate all of the Disney Princesses, including ones that may feel outdated by today's standards, by releasing imagery that makes it look like they're all friends. This is a wonderful method of keeping some of my favorite childhood characters relevant , but it is also a shield used to cover up a darker truth that many of these characters would not be deemed acceptable by today's standards. We have reached a point in Hollywood in which traditional feminine traits are considered weak or problematic . As such, characters like Raya  are considered the only acceptable way to portray a woman in the medi

Did Disney Just Kick Laura Osnes Out of Her Own Concert?

When Disney announced this year's Ultimate Princess Celebration , they simultaneously teased a touring concert called Disney Princess: The Concert , which had way too many familiar names in it to be just a coincidence. It was later confirmed that this concert was none other than Laura Osnes's Broadway Princess Party , an intimate event that I had seen twice . I had a great deal of respect for the fact that it celebrated all princess musicals, regardless of which studio owned them, which is why I became concerned when I learned that the show had been sold to the mouse. Laura Osnes would not be the first wide-eyed innocent to sign a contract with Disney having no idea how it might affect her future and reputation. At the time, I seemed to be the only person who was skeptical about the possible negative ramifications of selling out. Now, it seems that Laura Osnes has paid the ultimate price for signing away the passion project that she started with music director Benjamin Rauhala

Why Are Princesses Always Targets?

This is a sort of follow-up to my post about "How Princesses Represent Hope."  Being a princess in a fantasy world often means having a neon target on your head. I do not want to use the word "victim" because that is separate from being a target. Modern princesses are more capable than ever of defending themselves , something that has changed over time  as a direct response to the "Damsel in Distress" stigma . Yet, the fact that princesses can defend themselves from threats has not changed the fact that they are constantly being threatened. Even in stories with male leads, it is usually the princess or female love interest who is threatened, not the hero himself. Take for example Megara's binding servitude to Hades in Hercules  or Frollo's relentless obsession with Esmeralda in The Hunchback of Notre Dame . There is a reason that princesses are coveted by heroes and villains alike.   I was inspired to write this post after being introduced to yet a

Review: Time Princess - Have You Seen Claudia?

The latest visual novel in the Time Princess app  revolved around a real-life murderer and sparked so much controversy that the developers had to edit some of the story's features the very next day after it was launched! Have You Seen Claudia? takes place in Chicago during the year 1893 and is about a young woman who gets wrapped up in a scandal involving the famous serial killer  H.H. Holmes . It plays out a murder mystery that will keep you guessing right until the very end. Though it in no way condones Holmes' monstrous criminal acts, many players were offended that he was listed as a companion in the game's Lantern section. In a hot update the following day, the developers removed him and one other character from that section. They also changed the clothing names and descriptions so they no longer reflected other famous killers and victims. This story beats Dancing On Ice  by leaps and bounds as the darkest one in the game, but the mystery element makes it that much mor

What the Heck Is Once Upon a One More Time?

I was going to take a longer hiatus from The Princess Blog while I adjust to life in my new castle and kingdom, but I recently found out about this atrocity and could not resist sharing my thoughts on it. As luck would have it, there is a new  fairy tale parody musical making its rounds to Broadway as if we don't already have enough of those with Into the Woods , Disenchanted The Musical , and Shrek The Musical . However, Into the Woods and Shrek at least put their own spin on the fairy tales of old instead of attempting to profit off the highly successful Disney versions. If the previews for Once Upon a One More Time are any indication, this new musical veers more in the direction of Disenchanted with blatant Party City Disney ripoff costumes mixded with the pop musical stylings of Britney Spears. Fairy tale and princess-themed musicals were once known for their beautiful and original songs performed by talented actresses . As princesses are introduced to the woke era, their m

Maya and the Three Is a Typical Modern Princess Show, But Is That Really a Good Thing?

When I first saw the trailer for Netflix's Maya and the Three , it looked like the most generic modern princess show I'd ever seen. Now that I've actually watched it... I feel pretty much the same. Though not produced by Disney, this show takes all the modern-age princess tropes  that Disney developed over the past decade leading up to Raya and the Last Dragon  and drags them out over the course of ten episodes. If you want to see what the media is currently pandering to the next generation, you need look no further than Netflix, the wokest streaming network around. Maya and the Three is produced by the same people who worked on the 2014 animated film The Book of Life  and shares many of the aspects that made it both memorable and not so memorable. Like The Book of Life , Maya has a unique and creative art style inspired by Aztec, Mayan, Caribbean, and Incan influences , making it a visual feast for the eyes. Yet, its story leaves much to be desired, and its modern influenc

Is Snow White Still the Fairest of Them All?

It's been a while since I shared my thoughts on a new Disney movie based on "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."  Since then, Disney cast their leading lady as Rachel Zegler , who starred as Maria in the 2021 remake of West Side Story , and there has been an influx of controversy revolving around this film that has gotten too big to ignore. Snow White's casting is the most innocuous of these controversies. I have already shared my thoughts about how any girl can be a princess . Sure, it's a bit odd for a Latina person to play a character whose defining trait is having skin as white as snow, but Rachel is a talented singer and actress who would fit well into the role of any Disney Princess. A more recent casting controversy is the removal of the words "and the Seven Dwarfs" from the title of this ambitious  live-action remake  as well as Disney's response to complaints  about the dwarf characters not being politically correct enough for today's sta

Now Is the Perfect Time to Release Disenchanted

If you haven't been keeping up with the news, a handful of production photos were recently released from Disenchanted , Disney's upcoming sequel to Enchanted . The film is rumored for a Fall 2022 release date, which could not be more timely considering how disenchanted the general public has become with Disney  and how many people want it to return to its fairy tale roots just like Giselle desire in this film. At first, I thought it seemed really weird for her to suddenly want her life to be more like the superficial magical realm of Andalasia after she already decided that she preferred Robert's grounded and cynical lifestyle and gave up her chance at a fairy tale romance with Prince Edward. However, as a grown-up princess fan , I have an intrinsic understanding of the temptation for a nostalgic time when everything seemed simply despite being aware that I still have to live in the real world. With everything going on at Disney right now , it seems almost ironic that the

Thoughts on WandaVision and the Multiverse of Madness

It's been a little over a year since the tragic ending of WandaVision , which presented some of the classic Disney Princess archetypes in an innovative and contemporary way . Ever since it ended, Disney has teased that the conclusion of Wanda Maximoff's story would be revealed in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness , which was released in theaters last weekend. I enjoyed this movie, but I will not be giving it a full review. Instead, I would like to open up yet another discussion about the direction the media is going with female characters in modern times . As the Disney Princess genre pushes more in the direction of superhero films with characters like Raya  and Elsa , Disney doesn't know what to do with those who exhibit traits of classic Disney Princesses like Snow White . Right now, the best solution they have is turning them into villains  like they did with the title character in Cruella  last year. I am under no delusion that the Scarlet Witch is not suppos

No One Asked for Another Cinderella, but Here We Are

There is no fairy tale that has been retold as many times as "Cinderella."  With a new jukebox musical on Amazon Prime  and West End stage show from Andrew Lloyd Webber , the story has no shortage of modern-day retellings. That's why I couldn't bring myself to get excited when I heard that Jennifer Lopez is developing a limited series  based on Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella  with Skydance Television  and Concord Originals . This version alone has had three made-for television films and a 2013 Broadway revival starring Broadway Princess Party 's Laura Osnes . Can you blame me for not feeling at least a little skeptical of yet another version of this rags-to-riches classic that the media has shoved down our throats for years? What's even more concerning about the announcement is that it is not another feature-length film, but instead a limited series with multiple episodes written by Rachel Shukert , who worked on Netflix series GLOW and The Baby-Sit


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