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What we can learn from the Disney Princesses


I’m going to go ahead and name myself GenTwenty’s resident Disney fanatic. With that being said, there is more to learn from the Disney princess films than how to fall in love or look fabulous at all times. The characters we all know and love can also serve a purpose to those of us in our twenties. We can watch the films that they star in, follow their journeys, and learn a lot from their experiences.

I’m the first to admit that Belle from Beauty and the Beast is my all time favorite of the Disney Princesses. Growing up, I always loved her because she looked the most like me (it’s true–during my last trip to Disney World, Belle herself said we could be sisters) but as I’ve grown into my twenties, I’ve come to love her for her knowledge. Belle is whom I now refer to as “the reading princess” because she loves to read and although in the film she is discriminated against for her passion, she knows the world that we women should embrace their intelligence. There is no need to dumb ourselves down for anyone!

Patience is a virtue and the classic tale of Cinderella has the ability to remind us that in our twenties. We all know poor Cinderella was abused at home but stayed positive as she continued to dream of finding the love of her life. You know, “a dream is a wish your heart makes” and all of that musical business. Yet, seeing Cinderella thrive in the end with Prince Charming reminds us that good things come to those who wait. As twenty-somethings, we’re all waiting for a piece to fall into place. Whether it’s in our love lives or our professional lives.

Princess Jasmine is the definition of ambitious. She’s supposed to be married off to a wealthy prince and live in a castle her whole life, but that’s not what she wanted! Jasmine is gorgeous and rich but refuses to be treated as a prize. She wants to explore the world and marry for love not money. She reminds us twenty-somethings that we can choose our own paths. We don’t need to follow a life someone else has planned for us, we have the ability to make our own decisions and follow our own dreams.

In my mind, Mulan stands out as the strongest and most brave Disney Princess. She sacrifices everything to save her father’s life. She defies gender stereotypes to become a soldier in her father’s place and ends up saving all of China! In our twenties we are trying to assemble our lives. By being brave, taking risks and breaking boundaries like Mulan did, we might just find that we’re capable of much more than we think.

Disney’s Tangled features a feisty, loving, adventurous version of Rapunzel. She is fascinated by the outside world and makes the decision to go off on her own adventure. She runs into all kinds of trouble during her excursion but by the end of the movie she has completely rediscovered who she is. Rapunzel shows twenty-somethings to get out there and explore the world. We need to make the choice on our own to get out there and learn about ourselves.

The leading lady of “The Princess and the Frog” is an example of a princess who has it all. Tiana is from the working class and has learned from a young age that while it’s one thing to wish for your dreams to come true, it is another to put in the hard work to make those dreams a reality. Tiana is probably the princess we can all relate to the most. The lesson she learns in her journey is that you need to work hard but also know how to enjoy life. She finds a way to balance all of her passions and make her own success, which is something that every twenty-something must do as well.

After turning twenty I rediscovered all of my favorite Disney films and found there was a lot to be learned from their messages. Which Disney Princess is your favorite? What princess’ journey has inspired you to change your own life?

Photo via CandaceApril

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