As little girls we were led to believe that someday our prince would come, a new pair of shoes could change our lives and we would live happily ever after. Disney princesses have been idolized by our generation for years, and as we’ve grown older we’ve quickly realized that happily ever after may not even exist, in both life and love.
From “The Little Mermaid” to “Cinderella,” “Tangled” to “Sleeping Beauty,” many deem the plots of these classic stories inferior to women. However lessons from these classic Disney movies could easily be seen in a positive light. Take it from a princess…
Here are some life lessons, brought to you by our favorite Disney royals: Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana and Rapunzel.
Snow White— Be your own person. Guys don’t need every single second of your time.
As the first Disney princess, Snow White easily teaches us what not to do when it comes to giving men attention. As collegiettes™ we have quickly become acquainted with the idea of co-ed living, but that little cottage in the woods can be seen as an equivalent to a frat house. Snow White pretty much waits hand-and-foot on Grumpy, Dopey and Doc. She cleans, cooks and even makes sure they wash their hands before dinner. Snow White lost sight of herself all while waiting for her Prince to come and save her. The moral of the story is to avoid revolving your life around guys. Don’t let them walk all over you.
Cinderella — Don’t be someone you’re not.
It’s easy to cake on the makeup every morning, but don’t go overboard. It can be extremely tempting. Cinderella squeezes her feet into those glass slippers and puts on a wonderful dress, but in the end she teaches us that the right guy will like you for who you are and not the shoes you wear. Making sure your hair is perfect every time you go out in public and see the guy you are interested in will only make it more awkward when he finds you in your sweatpants and hair up in a messy bun. Be yourself. If a guy, or anyone else, can’t accept that, they shouldn’t be in your life anyway.
Aurora— Behave. You never know who may be watching.
Growing up a peasant girl, Sleeping Beauty never knew the family she actually came from. One day in the woods she met a mysterious man. Little did she know that the man she met “once upon a dream” was actually the prince she had been set to marry since birth. Neither of them knew who the other was, but managed to fall for one another anyway.
Ariel— Actions speak louder than words.
Ariel teaches women many lessons of what to never do when looking for love — changing your body, running away from home and making deals with the ocean’s version of the devil isn’t exactly how you should start a relationship. Regardless, one positive lesson to come out of this fishtailed princess is that body language can speak volumes. Sacrificing her voice and her legs for Prince Eric may seem extreme, but it reinforces the importance of communication and body language when it comes to relationships and social interaction. Ariel’s personality shines despite the absence of her vocal chords and she may face a few mishaps, but she learns from them. People, especially guys, appreciate a girl who can acknowledge her flaws and laugh it off.
Belle— Patience is a virtue. Don’t let his flaws override his good qualities.
Beast had some severe anger management issues when he first met Belle; some even say that their relationship was abusive. However that didn’t stop her from standing on her own two feet and letting Beast know that he couldn’t treat her like everyone else. She arguably has the most patience of all the Disney princesses. Sure he may be hairy and lack table manners in every sense of the term, but he’s still a person, and he deserves a chance just like everyone else. If Belle could see it, so can you.
Jasmine— Don’t judge people based on looks. Maybe you’ll find the “Diamond in the Rough.”
Sometimes the person you least expect to like is the perfect man or friend for you. Take a note from Jasmine of “Aladdin.” Although you are most likely not in an arranged marriage like she was, you may be finding yourself under pressure to hang out with certain people. Giving the quiet guy in the corner a second glance even though he may not be your usual cup-of-tea isn’t such a bad idea. He may not seem like the sharpest crayon in the box, but he may just be your “diamond in the rough.”
Pocahontas — Listen to your gut. It’s probably for the best.
Research has shown that women are more likely than men to second guess themselves on tests and in real-life situations, but don’t psych yourself out. When times get tough where for one reason or another you need to make a potentially life-changing decision, go with your first instinct. Pocahontas and John Smith lived in two completely different worlds both racially and culturally, not to mention the fact that John Smith and his friends were trying to steal Pocahontas’ land or anything. This can easily happen in your life — he may go to a different school or even graduate before you. It’s difficult, but you may feel that parting ways is probably the best for both of you. Pocahontas listened to her gut when she saved Smith’s life and continued to trust her instincts when saying good-bye to him in the end. Sometimes our happy endings won’t work out after all.
Mulan— Don’t underestimate yourself. Women can be just as influential as men.
Mulan’s story is the epitome of “girl power.” To protect her father from fighting while injured in the war, Mulan secretly takes her father’s place in the army despite the disapproval of her family and her village. She fends for herself with the help of Mushu and becomes “one of the guys.” Like many women our age, Mulan is constantly struggling with who she is and who she wants to be. Although she may have faced a lot of obstacles, Mulan proved herself not only to her family, but also to China—not to mention she got the boy. All in all, Mulan shows us that women are just as capable of being successful as are men.
Tiana— If you want something, work for it. Don’t rely on others to reach your goals.
Princess Tiana is arguably one of the most determined out of these ten wonderful women. She has a vision of what she wants her life to be like and refuses to let anyone or anything hinder her from reaching that place. Tiana may have been a frog for almost the entire movie, but she was focused on making her deceased father’s dream of opening a restaurant come true. Tiana is a perfect example of the courageous and independent women us collegiettes™ should aspire to be.
Rapunzel— Stand up for yourself. You should never be a victim.
For those of you unfamiliar with “Tangled,” a crazy old lady who wished to remain young kidnapped Princess Rapunzel as an infant, locked her away in a tower and pretended to be her mother while using Rapunzel’s magic hair to preserve her youthful appearance. Rapunzel is always put down and made to believe that she isn’t safe in the outside world until Flynn appears in her tower and agrees to bring her to see the “stars” that appear in the sky every year on her birthday. Rapunzel learns a lot on her journey about not only the world, but also herself. She builds up the courage to confront her “mother” upon realizing that her life has been a lie. Learn from what Rapunzel went through, standing up for your beliefs is imperative to standing on your own two feet and living your own life instead of suffering because of someone else’s bad decision(s).
Our childhoods may have consisted of jaded ideas of Prince Charming, true love and happily ever after, but underneath it all Tiana, Belle and the others teach us that women can have minds of their own and be just as successful and influential as anyone else in the world. There may be a few bumps in the road, and maybe even some pain, but no matter what girl power will always prevail.