Disney Princesses delight their young fans with their beauty and adventurous lives. As they grew up, these same fans learned better than to fall for the antiquated stories of a helpless girl who needs to be saved by a man, not mention the unrealistic body image these characters portray.
Unfortunately, these beloved Disney Princesses are not just the subject of whether they are good or bad role models. Even in their own fairy tales, their actions don’t always make much sense. Whether they are joining the army and pretending to be a man or creating ice castles in Sweden, sometimes they have done some things that we all have chosen to ignore in order to either love them or criticize them for other matters.
No matter what we think of Disney’s leading ladies, whether we wish they were a bit curvier or more independent, we can’t help but wish them a happily ever after. Just because we wish them happiness, doesn’t mean we can’t have our fun and pick at the irrelevant details that we choose to ignore in order to root them on. *Here are 20 Things Wrong with Disney Princesses We Choose to Ignore.
20 Elsa’s power are left undefined
Magic can be an easy to way to cover a lot of plot holes without having to go into much explanation because…* it’s magic, not science. In Frozen, Elsa is born with magical powers that control and create anything ice-related. When Elsa accidentally hurts her sister Anna, she spends the majority of her life isolated and repressing her powers. Everything goes awry on Coronation Day when Elsa’s powers can’t be contained and she flees the kingdom and fully embraces her magic.
Everybody was on board with Elsa being the Ice Queen but nothing is ever explained.
Where do her powers come from? Does she have to practice to become more powerful? If so, how could she build an entire castle in seconds after years of repressing her magic? Some of these questions can be left unanswered but then in the culmination of Let it Go, Elsa creates clothes with her powers. Maybe they are ice clothes? That phrase alone boggles the mind. Can she just create anything as long as it’s part of a Winter Wonderland theme? Later on, Olaf and Marshmallow appear, with their own thoughts. Can Elsa create life? Perhaps we just have to remember, it’s magic.
19 Ariel trusts Ursula, a well-known witch
The redheaded mermaid is another example in a long line of Disney characters that reject their royal status, their parents’ wishes, and make everything worse. Ariel obsesses over visiting land and being part of the human’s world. This desire grows even stronger when she meets, or eavedrops, on Prince Eric. After she saves him from shipwreck, she is convinced she is in love with him and will do anything to become human in order to be with him.
After a row with her father, Ariel is convinced the sea witch, Ursula, will help her become human and meet her man. The only price she has to pay is her voice.
While it can be understood that Ariel was in a fragile emotional state and Ursula seemed like her only option, there are a few problems with this story.
Before The Little Mermaid takes place, Ursula was banished from Atlantica probably by the king, in this case King Triton. Ursula was probably banished because she was wreaking havoc left and right. Here’s the thing: why does Ariel trust her? Surely, King Triton warned his daughters and everyone in the kingdom about this creature. She can’t simply believe the "I just help unfortunate souls" speech that Ursula is feeding her.
It doesn’t matter how much you want to be with your alien boyfriend. If your father, the most powerful being in your world, banishes a witch from the kingdom you should have more common sense and stay away.
18 Jasmine didn’t have an escape plan
Jasmine’s best quality is her wish to break free from the chains of old useless traditions, like marrying a stranger in order to become queen. She says it herself, "I am not a prize to be won." She fights this custom left and right until she has no choice, but to escape the palace in order to live life by her rules and not someone else’s. One night she says goodbye to Rajah, an underrated Disney pet (he’s a tiger for crying out loud!), and climbs over the palace wall towards freedom.
Jasmine’s least attractive quality is that she is still a palace princess who has never done anything for herself, whether she wanted to or not.
She has no idea what the world is like outside the palace walls and makes no attempt to learn before she decides to bail. Once she is out, she is mesmerized by the market, the people, and the concept of paying for food. "Pay?" she says, as if she had never heard of such a thing in her life. She’s a princess, but she shouldn’t be this dim. Jasmine almost lost a hand after being on her own for just a few hours. If it weren’t for Aladdin, she definitely would have.
17 Mulan didn’t have to join the Army
In one of Disney’s better representation of a female character, Mulan teaches young girls they can be different from what society says you should be and still be incredible. Mulan is a clumsy young girl who is having trouble finding her place in life. When the Huns invade China and a man from every family must serve in the Imperial Army, Mulan’s life is turned upside down. Her father, an injured veteran, is the only man in their family and going back into battle will surely mean he will meet his end. Mulan decides to disguises herself as a boy and joins the army in order to save her father.
Mulan’s reasons are honorable and brave, but we soon find out her attempts were completely unnecessary. During the training montage to "I'll Make a Man Out of You", Mulan and her fellow soldiers fail over and over again, but she is falling behind more than the rest. She is soon dismissed from the army, because she isn’t suited for war.
Now, in their eyes, Mulan is a healthy young man with working limbs and they still dismiss her. If it had been her father, who can barely walk if not with the assistance of a cane, they would have dismissed him as well. So in the end, Mulan really didn’t need to leave home and pretend to be a boy. Then again, China would have certainly failed against the Huns but that would have been a different movie.
16 Belle gets the Beast on a horse
This issue is corrected in the latest, and less magical, version of Beauty and the Beast, probably because fans had been picking at this problem since the 1991 superior version of the fairy tale.
Everyone knows the story. Belle’s father is captured. Belle rides to his aid and offers a trade, her life for her father’s safety. The beast accepts and keeps her prisoner in his enchanted, or haunted, castle. After deliberately disobeying the only rule imposed on her, the Beast has one of his famous temper tantrums and Belle escapes on her horse. As she flees, she is attacked by a pack of wolves but the Beast promptly saves her. However, he is injured and faints on the snow. Belle thinks about leaving him for a brief second, but decides to repay his kindness by saving him. The next shot is of her walking her horse back to the castle with the Beast, apparently still unconscious, on the horse’s back.
How did Belle carry the Beast?
The movie doesn’t show much of Belle doing any heavy lifting before this scene, but it’s safe to assume she isn’t a bodybuilder who can lift the Beast onto the horse. The 2017 adaptation fixed this issue with Belle asking the Beast to help her get him on the horse.
15 Pocahontas speaks English
It is clear why Disney decided on making Pocahontas fully in English, even if it dealt with the Powhatan Tribe. Children do not want to read English subtitles while characters speak in Powhatan, but common sense tells the audience that Pocahontas obviously doesn’t speak English.
When Pocahontas discovers the Virginia Company arriving on the shores, she is fascinated by their existence. She begins to follow John Smith until he realizes and draws his rifle on her. Pocahontas runs away and John Smith goes after her. There is a moment where she speaks Powhatan and Smith says "you don’t understand a word I’m saying, do you?" From then on we assume Pocahontas was never really speaking English.
Then Pocahontas closes her eyes and hears her grandmother’s words "Listen with your heart" and suddenly, Pocahontas speaks perfect English. Even Meeko and Flip are in shock. From then on, Smith and Pocahontas communicate perfectly and she even sings a whole song in English.
Maybe this is another way Disney makes the transition smoother and everyone can assume they are trying to talk to each other in their own respective languages. Maybe Disney just didn’t have time to stumble over how you can communicate complex concepts like war and racism, while speaking two different languages. Once again, through the power of magic, Pocahontas perfectly understands John Smith for the rest of the movie.
14 Rapunzel’s hair is a mystery
Disney spent the first half of Tangled letting everyone know just how long the lost princess’s hair is. She’s seen brushing her golden hair as it lays in an endless trail inside the tower. She uses her hair as a rope that reaches all the way to the ground, making it at least several stories long. Even when she ties up Flynn Rider with her hair. He tries to find his captor but only sees hair everywhere, unable to place where she is hiding.
Rapunzel has very long hair. It’s a given. The problem is Rapunzel’s hair changes length whenever it’s convenient.
Most of her hair is usually off screen and everyone can assume its length. However, in some running scenes, the end of Rapunzel’s hair is visible and it doesn’t look longer than 15 feet. The only time they address Rapunzel’s hair length as a problem is when they reach the kingdom and little girls braid the heck out of it, making a tree trunk size braid that ends only a few inches above the ground.
On top of that, Rapunzel’s hair is always shiny and untangled, despite the movie’s name. She runs through the woods, open fields, dirt tunnels and the streets of a kingdom without so much getting a knot in her mane. Talk about unrealistic hair goals.
13 Merida is just plain selfish
Sometimes Pixar and Disney believe they are serving their fans with something fresh and original, but it ends up being the same thing wrapped up in long red curls. In Brave, Merida is a Scottish princess who would rather be anything but a princess. Ground-breaking, Disney. Very much like Jasmine, Aurora, and any other princess predecessor, Merida doesn’t want to be married off, take on the Crown, or do anything her parents ask of her.
However, while many were a bit underwhelmed with Brave in general, they praise the character of Merida for her spark, her desire to break away from conformity and traditions and how she was less ladylike and more of a tomboy than the other princesses.
Don’t let the tangled mane and the plucky attitude fool you, though. Merida is just as bad - if not worse than the rest of the princesses. Sure, she doesn’t want to be married to a stranger, but her marriage, in comparison to the other forced marriages in Disney, will lead to peace between the clans. Her refusal will cause a war and the loss of many lives. While she shouldn’t accept the marriage, she could’ve found a better solution and take on the role as the future leader. Instead, she decides to embarrass her mother in front of the clans and shoot a bunch of arrows to prove her independence.
12 Snow White just sings and cleans
This classic princess is the epitome of what old fairy tales considered a perfect lady. She is pretty, animals love her, and a man will definitely save her in the end. There is no doubt Snow White is in quite a pickle. She has lost her powers as royalty thanks to her evil stepmother and is forced into a life of servitude. However, Snow White seems completely content with this situation when she first appears, as she makes wishes about a man into a well.
Then, when she is almost ended, but lives thanks to no real input of her own, she flees into the forest and resides in a cottage where she takes care of seven dwarves. After a few more songs, Snow White seems very happy with her new situation and has seemingly forgotten she was ever a princess. She hasn’t forgotten, however, that her prince will come one day. She makes sure to tell the dwarves that the guy she met only once will one day come and save her.
While it can be argued Snow White is just making the best out of a terrible situation, she really doesn’t do much to improve that other than sing to woodland creatures and clean a house.
The real action that moves the plot along comes from the evil Queen’s jealousy, counteracted by the dwarves actions to protect Snow White.
11 Megara makes the same mistake twice
Part of the girl’s appeal is her complete aversion to love and all sentimental things. First appearing as a damsel in distress who doesn’t need any saving, Megara is soon revealed as Hades’s helpful hand in the mortal world, but she is not a happy participant in this arrangement.
Once upon a time, Megara was in love with some guy. One day, the boy was in danger and Megara made a deal with Hades to save his life but she would never be free of the God of the Underworld. Hades kept his word and saved the boy, but he quickly left Megara for another woman. Megara then lost her love and her freedom all at once.
Throughout Hercules, Megara says she has learned her lesson and would never fall in love again or sacrifice herself for a man. Then she does it again. Maybe Hercules is a good man – he is a god after all - or maybe there just isn’t a third act in this movie if Megara’s soul isn’t in danger. Nonetheless, Hercules tells girls it’s absolutely fine to make the same mistake twice when it comes to love because maybe, the second time, it is real love.
10 Jasmine’s relationship is based on lies
Aladdin is, without a doubt, one of the cutest and most likable male characters in a Disney movie. No one can blame Jasmine for falling for him, in and out of his prince attire. The problem is, no matter how sweet and well-intentioned Aladdin is, he flat-out lied to Jasmine during the most crucial part of their relationship.
The movie tries to play it off because Jasmine never really cared about marrying a prince and because it’s what’s on the inside that matters.
If someone pretended to be someone they are not in order to date you, that is called catfishing. Jasmine got catfished.
Maybe Aladdin has insecurity issues. Maybe years of being called a street rat finally affected him. It doesn’t matter. He flat-out lied to Jasmine and created an entire fake kingdom, name, and maybe country, in order to get with her. Even when Jasmine discovers he is the boy from the market and demands the truth, Aladdin comes up with a new lie as to why he is really a prince.
The lesson in Aladdin is to always be yourself and never lie. It’s great that Aladdin in the end learns to accept who he is and selflessly frees the genie, but that doesn’t mean Jasmine should just accept his lies and continue the relationship.
9 Aurora is left alone in the most crucial moment
Aurora didn’t stand a chance from the moment she was born. After a horned lady crashed her party and scared everyone who was actually invited, she decides to give the baby princess a gift. Or a curse. On her sixteenth birthday, Aurora will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and she would perish.
That is quite a specific request. Luckily, one of the fairies attending the party made a change to curse. Instead of perishing, Aurora would fall into a deep sleep and can only be awakened by true love's kiss. However, you would think with such specific instructions, her guardians would be more careful in the 24 hours of her sixteenth birthday. That was not the case. When Aurora turns sixteen and she is taken back to the castle after years of hiding in the woods, she is left alone in a room. Quickly after, Maleficent puts her in a spell and Aurora pricks her finger and drifts into a deep sleep.
Why did they leave her alone? Sure, she was crying because she can’t marry the one man she’s met for only ten minutes, but her life is at stake! Stay in the room while she cries and observe her every move! And why bring her to the one place Maleficent can find her on the one day she is predicted to lose her life? Keep her far away and hidden until the day is over!
8 Ariel is rewarded for her mistakes
The Little Mermaid may be fun, colorful, and chock-full of catchy songs but it doesn’t have a very good message for young girls. Ariel makes terrible choice after terrible choice, without any concern for whom it affects. She gives up her own voice to be near a man she’s only met once and risks the lives of her father and everyone in the entire kingdom. If it weren’t for a deal with a sea witch and the help of her crustacean friend, Ariel wouldn’t get much done.
Even after she realizes how badly she’s messed up and tries to make things better, she doesn’t achieve much. In fact, if it weren’t for Eric viciously ending Ursula by stabbing her in the stomach, Atlantica would have been doomed thanks to Ariel and her obsessive ways.
In the end, all is well. The merfolk are free from Ursula’s spells, King Triton returns to his true form and everyone is safe.
Ariel, who deserves to be grounded for eternity because she is only sixteen and almost ruined everything for everyone, is instead rewarded for everything.
Her father gives her legs and she is able to marry Eric and live happily ever after.
7 Rapunzel has magic tears
Tangled is a pretty solid movie except for its climactic moment. It can be ignored because it’s an emotional moment and, again, magic needs no explanation - unless you are reading this list.
Rapunzel gets her healing powers from the golden flower tea the Queen drank when she was pregnant. The flower’s magic remains in Rapunzel’s hair but if it’s ever cut, the magic goes away, which is why Rapunzel’s hair is so long. In the end, Flynn cuts all of Rapunzel’s hair to save her from Mother Gothel because if Rapunzel doesn’t have her magic hair, she is of no use to the villain.
However, Rapunzel can’t save Eugene now without her hair and he is on the edge of life. As she cries over him, one of her tears falls on Eugene’s cheek and glows with magic before it’s absorbed. That single tear saves Eugene’s life and they live happily ever after.
No matter how you spin this, it doesn’t make sense. Rapunzel’s hair is in no way connected to her tear ducts. The magic should have been completely gone by this point, but it seemed to take pity on Flynn and heals something for the last time.
6 Moana doesn’t really grow
It seems in an attempt to correct its past mistakes of portraying young ladies who need saving, Disney went too far in the other direction. The result is Moana, the daughter of a chief who wants more than anything to help her people as long as that means she can sail the seas.
Moana is resilient, independent, and while she doesn’t know everything, she picks things up at an incredibly quick pace. She learns to sail in what seems to be a few days; she saves the heart of Tefiti over and over, even when she has no combat experience. She even saves Maui from the realm of monsters, a place too dangerous for mortals. Audiences are shown left and right Moana can do anything simply because she's special.
Moana’s real battle is with herself and learning to believe in her purpose, no matter what outside forces tell her. While that is a noble pursuit and one people can universally relate to, Moana remains relatively unchanged from beginning to end. She is too amazing to start with and they give her very few flaws to overcome. As a result, there is little doubt that Moana can’t complete her mission from the very start.
5 Elsa doesn’t need to lie to Anna
Elsa is told from a young age she shouldn’t let anyone in or let them see her powers. It becomes a toxic mantra that she lives by as she represses her magic and her personality. Because Elsa accidentally injures Anna when they are children, she is terrified of being close to her sister ever again.
The King and Queen take an injured Anna to the trolls who remove all memories of magic from Anna’s mind but that is ultimately unnecessary. Yes, the parents decide to eliminate magic from Elsa’s life and basically keep her confined, but there is no need to leave Anna in the dark. Everyone else in the family knows. What’s one more person?
Anna could have easily learned that Elsa’s powers were forbidden from then on and she would have adjusted as well.
Instead, Elsa shuts Anna from her life and creates more emotional traumas for her sister. Maybe if Anna had felt loved by Elsa all those years, she wouldn’t have fallen for the first guy who paid attention to her. Maybe if Elsa could have confided in at least one person, her powers wouldn’t have gotten so out of control and she would’ve have slowly learned not to fear them.
4 Jasmine doesn’t recognize Aladdin at all
This one really takes the cake. Ever since Superman chose glasses as his ultimate disguise, movies think they can just throw silly disguises our way and we will accept it as logical.
After Jasmine escapes the palace and meets Aladdin, the palace guards imprison him. Later on, Jafar lies to Jasmine saying they have hung him because he "kidnapped" the princess. Jasmine spends the time mourning and being angry at Jafar until Prince Ali, Aladdin, shows up asking for the princess’s hand in marriage. When Aladdin visits her at night, she finds his face familiar when he takes off his hat but then disregards the idea.
The problem is Jasmine and Aladdin only have been apart for a few days. Maybe if some years have passed, it would be acceptable that she doesn’t remember his face. Even if he had changed his behavior and acted like a completely different person it would have been believable. But no, Aladdin acts exactly the same way and, apart from more expensive clothing, he looks the same.
It makes no sense that Jasmine wouldn’t immediately recognize him and then question all of Jafar’s lies. Maybe he has an ominous plan brewing. Oh well, let’s just not use our brains.
3 It’s the cricket’s fault, not Mulan’s
One of the reasons why Mulan decides to join the army disguised as a man is because she doesn’t fit into society’s idea of a woman. The reason for that is because Mulan is messy or Never on time? The movie doesn’t give many reasons except for the big debacle that occurs when Mulan meets the matchmaker.
When Mulan and the other girls are ready to be interviewed by the matchmaker, Mulan’s only mistake was she spoke without permission, and apparently is too skinny.
Everything else that happens is completely the cricket’s fault, who is supposed to bring her luck. As she is interviewed, the lucky bug escapes his wooden cage and decides to jump all around, distracting Mulan in the process. Then, like a real jerk, he takes a steaming bath in the matchmaker’s tea. Why, cricket? You know what’s at stake!
From then on, Mulan only tries to salvage the situation and everything turns into a burning, inky, tea drenched mess.
The incident is what makes the matchmaker humiliate Mulan in front of her family and consequently makes Mulan believe she isn’t worthy of honor and lacks purpose. The supposed lucky cricket wrecked any chance she had to make a good impression.
2 Cinderella is useless without her friends
What would Cinderella be without her little mice and bird friends? A maid. The problem with Cinderella’s story is that she never creates a future for herself. Whatever she gained was thanks to someone else’s efforts.
The evil stepmother promises Cinderella she can go to the ball if she finishes her chores on time. She does it, but doesn’t have anything to wear to go with her family. The only reason Cinderella actually tries to go is because her little animals made her a new dress while she was busy helping her bratty stepsisters. The plan backfires because the stepmother never intended to let her go to the ball. After they tear up her dress and humiliate her, Cinderella is only able to go to the ball because her fairy godmother makes her a new dress out of magic.
The same thing occurs when Cinderella’s happiness is once again in peril. The Prince is looking for his future bride by looking at feet and Cinderella gives away that she is the foot he is seeking. Locked in the attic by her stepmother, Cinderella has no choice but to cry and bang on a door. Who does all the work and brings her the key to the room? Her little rodent friends.
Let’s face it. If it weren’t for animals and opportune magic, Cinderella would have never gotten her happy ending.
1 Belle is kind of mean to everyone
When Belle first shows up in Beauty and the Beast, she immediately starts dissing where she lives and the people who live there. Belle feels stuck and bored in the little town full of "little people" who do nothing but go about their day and do their jobs, something that Belle doesn’t have. Maybe they don’t find her odd because she reads. Maybe it’s because she does nothing else with her time, like help someone or engage in conversation.
Later on, she is concerned that she’s odd because there is no one she can really talk to, but she’s never really tried. She has a short conversation with the baker who is starting is business for the day and Belle is going on and on about ogres and beanstalks. The baker cuts her off and goes on about his business. Did she really expect him to say "Wow, that is fascinating. Tell me more!" when he is in the middle of doing his job?
It’s fine that Belle wants more than provincial life, but it’s not all right she looks down on the town people because they don’t want the same things she wants. Sure, it is later revealed they are small minded and fall quickly into a mob mentality. But, she didn’t know that when she was audibly singing about how pathetic she finds them.
What else doesn't make sense about Disney princesses? Let us know in the comments!