YMMV: Disney Princess

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: The characters offer loads, especially as told by this one writer:
    • Snow White yearns for more than Prince Charming to rescue her. She wants love, understandable given that she lost her parents. Her household chores when coming upon the dwarves' cottage are voluntary: she empathizes with what she thought were parent-less orphans.
    • Cinderella is trying as much as she can to buck the system in an abusive environment: one that isolates her from others and in an era that doesn't offer much opportunities for women other than housekeeper and governess. Her sarcastic rant at a bell ringing, the fact that she frees mice from traps and dresses them, and her arrival at the ball are acts of rebellion.
    • Aurora is a victim of social conditioning: naive and isolated by understandably over-protective guardians that haven't allowed to develop outside of the idealistic persona they've held her up to.
    • Ariel is an outcast yearning to go somewhere where others will understand her, she's plenty interesting, and willing to stand up for herself (she did kill the eels of Ursula).
    • Belle doesn't suffer Stockholm Syndrome and is a proud non-conformist who is brave enough to stand up to the popular town misogynistic hunk and a beastly Prince. Her actions show Gaston (at least to the audience), just how bad he is and encourages change in the Beast.
    • Jasmine being allowed to pick a suitor to be married to, was progressive for their time and place. She is intelligent, courageous, witty, and kind; she doesn't easily give in to Aladdin's/Prince Ali's courting of her so easily. She is also a terrific actress.
  • Base Breaker:
    • The classic princesses—Snow White, Cinderella, and Aurora—are often criticized in fandom (and media) that believes they are terrible role models, boring Mary Sues, shallow characters, and bad examples of feminism. Alternatively, many others see them as having perhaps aged not quite well, but still good characters that were limited by the time period they were in and made in, or even refreshingly different in their gentler personalities than the type of heroines usually made today.
    • Ariel. Fans are a bit divided on whether she's "an idiot for throwing her life away to be with someone she doesn't know" and should be regarded as poorly as the previous three Disney Princesses (who haven't aged well), or she should be commended for being "the first Disney female lead to have an actual personality and be the one to save her prince first."
    • In a similar pattern to Ariel, Merida is criticized for her impulsiveness and general teenage attitudes. Some find her to be refreshingly normal and realistic for her age as well as a certified badass, others find her to be just an insufferable brat with a remarkable callous streak.
  • Broken Base:
    • Over the inclusion of characters who do not seem to fit with the line as easily as characters like Aurora or Rapunzel; that is, Pocahontas, Mulan, and Merida for being too athletic, not girly enough, and/or not a princess.
      • Similarly, if Elsa joins the line-up, a lot of people feel that it is insulting somehow to being her queenship.
    • Disney fans in general often feel this way about the princesses, particularly fans of the heroines. The Disney Princesses receive more merchandise and materials for children *and* adults than any other characters. Some perceive this favoritism to be adversely affecting their own favorite characters.
  • Critical Dissonance: Despite its critics, the franchise is one of Disney's biggest and most profitable.
  • Fanon: Honey Lemon fans believe she could be part of the lineup, even saying she's probably related to Rapunzel to confirm her royal blood.
  • Girl-Show Ghetto: "Little girls know them. Little girls love them." This being said of movies that opened to the acclaim of young and old and man and woman alike.
  • Girls Need Role Models: Initially when the line-up was created this was a large factor behind it. Certainly all of them are in possession of admirable "role model" traits, particularly for their era. This is generally how Disney defends the inclusion of non-princesses, citing that its their quality of character that makes them a Disney Princess. That said, a good many of them have come under fire for allegedly not fulfilling their role model status well enough.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: For a long time the franchise attracted a certain amount of (mostly) friendly Fandom Rivalry online from Star Wars fans who would jokingly contrast Princess Leia's Badass Princess Action Girl characterization with the stereotypical view of Disney Princesses as super-girly damsels who sing to small forest creatures. Fast forward to late 2012...Disney acquires Lucasfilm, the Sequel Trilogy is announced shortly thereafter and suddenly Leia Organa technically is a Disney princess. Artists and humorists have gotten plenty of mileage out of Disney!Leia (with a lot of overlap between the two) since the merger.
  • Internet Backdraft:
    • Ask which one is the best. Or worse, which one is the "more feminist" and the "best role model for little girls". Cower as you're bombarded the almost-inevitably toxic discussions on Values Dissonance, misogyny, Slut Shaming, gender roles, whether Belle suffers Stockholm Syndrome or not, What Measure Is a Non-Badass?, etc.
    • The Disney Princess design of Merida had multiple issues people drew from it:
      • First, fans perceived the dress to be entirely new, a "girly" version of the adventurous gown she wore in the majority of the movie. This is not strictly true, as the dress is actually a version of what she wore at the very end of the film, albeit more sparkly.
      • Second, was the cut of the dress. There was back-and-forth regarding whether the neckline was lowered.
      • Third, whether she was posed to look seductive or not.
      • Lastly, any changes to Merida's face and body, which was the most contentious. One the one hand, some people were claiming she was paler, appeared to be wearing make-up, her hair was more stylish than wild, had features altered to seem more attractive, and that her breast/waist ratio got wider. On the other, some people felt that much of that was simply a result of the 3D-to-2D transition. Still, there was no getting past Merida's waist getting thinner.
    • Disney has since claimed that this design was always intended to be a brief change to welcome Merida into the line-up, and hasn't used the Disney Princess designs since.
  • Les Yay: The Periphery Demographic of older fans includes a fair number that like pairing the princesses up with each other instead of with princes.
  • Periphery Demographic: While the franchise started out targeting young girls exclusively, Disney eventually realized the untapped market of *older* fans who had grown up with the princesses and wanted merchandise for themselves who had always been there to buy some of the more reserved dolls or prints. Now Disney has whole lines catering to them, to expensive fashion dolls, women's clothing, and more.
  • Purity Sue: Many of the Disney Princess are beautiful, kind, a Friend to All Living Things, instantly beloved by anyone who isn't an inveterate Jerkass, and generally flawless. In particular Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Belle, Pocahontas, and Rapunzel who lack any stand-out flaws.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: The extra merchandise and sequels are loaded with saccharine morals, songs and messages that tends to be unpalatable to anyone but very young girls.
  • Testosterone Brigade: The especially Ms. Fanservice characters—Ariel, Jasmine, and ostensibly Pocahontas—invite a lot of male fans, but many little boys grew up with crushes on one of the princesses that stuck.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks:
    • Many of the girls coloring and style is changed for the merchandise, such as Aurora's lighter hair, Cinderella's dress changing from silver to blue, her hair changing from strawberry-blonde to bright blonde and so on.
    • After Disney unveiled new hairstyles and dresses, some people weren't very happy about that.
  • Values Dissonance: One justification of the Real Women Don't Wear Dresses criticism. Not only were the original fairy tales written centuries ago, but the time periods in which the earlier Disney Princesses were made had the "demure-but-hard-working" type as the epitome of womanhood in mainstream America. Naturally, this flies up the head of many modern fans who just peg them as "weak" and "whiny".
  • Unfortunate Implications:
    • Aurora and Tiana graced the wrappers of some dipping candy. Aurora got the packet of vanilla-flavored sticks. Tiana got the packet of watermelon-flavored powder. This was met with some amount of controversy.
    • The new designs attempted to homogenize the general look of the Disney Princess line and the different art-styles, which led to everyone either getting paler or darker, the brightness being turned up to max, and some of the efforts to make the art seem more detailed really failed to the point where dark-eyed characters seemed blue-eyed. The homogenization of art style, however, led to the faces looking more Caucasian than anything. This sparked a pretty big backlash even outside of regular fandom circles.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Badass?:
    • All of the Disney Princesses are treated as such. The older princesses receive the most disdain, as the time period their movies were made from put them in the passive role that would not be acceptable in a female role-model today. Even the modern princesses are often closely scrutinized and found unworthy, particularly Ariel. While there is some truth to the criticisms, the biggest criticisms lobbied at the girls tend to twist the actual events of the movie. For instance, the common criticism that Ariel gives up her life at home for a man isn't exactly true—Ariel clearly desired to live with humans long before she knew who Eric was (her famous musical number was even all about it!), he just was the catalyst to actively going out, as well as blaming Snow White and Aurora for "not saving themselves", despite the fact that both were under spells against their will and could do nothing about it.
    • Disney draws a lot of ire from the older fans when Mulan is put in a feminine dress (particular the pink one with make-up that she felt uncomfortable in). However, as with the above case, even those criticisms are often twisted—Mulan is also clearly uncomfortable wearing armor and hiding herself that way, and did like looking cute in the pink dress even if she disliked the prospect of an Arranged Marriage. The happy medium is usually the far more practical (and plain) dress she wears at the end of the film.