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Being an Adult Shouldn’t Mean I Can’t Still Look Up to Disney Princesses

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Disney princesses were the celebrities of my childhood. I endlessly admired their effortless grace, their fantastical journeys and – yes – their pretty dresses. Every movie night was centered around their adventures (sorry, Dad!), and I often found myself wishing to become just like them. I mean, what little kid wouldn't want to be as honorable as Mulan, as kind as Cinderella, or as talented as Tiana? These princesses were my idols, and I looked to them as an example of all that I could be when I grew up.

Although I've matured considerably since those simpler days, and am more likely to be found watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine than Beauty and the Beast, I find that these princesses still hold a certain influence over me as a woman in college. Sure, Disney princesses might not be seen as anything more than a feminine piece of pop-culture to some, but to me, these princesses aren't just faces on merchandise. They're not just characters that I turn to when I'm in need of a feel-good nostalgic movie, either.

In fact, I've found it oddly liberating and healing to approach my life the way that my personal favorite princess, Rapunzel, does: with unapologetic enthusiasm. Especially in these strange times, it's so easy to slip into a cynical mindset, but finding a way to be excited (or, at least curious) about everything like her makes life much more colorful. Reflecting on the positive effects this Disney princess-inspired mindset has had on my life, I'm a firm believer that these figures can continue to serve as great role models for all ages. And I can assure you, I'm not the only one.



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Mulan serves as Michelle Guo's, a sophomore at the University of British Columbia, role model. "She's a woman, yet met the military standards of men through hard work and resilience," she says. "She eventually saved China, but her intentions weren't for fame or recognition – she just wanted to save her dad. I love that!"

Katherine Liao, a freshman at the University of Rhode Island, also cited Mulan as an iconic role model. "She didn't go with the norm of gender roles, and showed the viewers that women can be strong, and don't always have to follow social norms," she explains. 

Mena Spasova, a junior at Heritage Woods Secondary School, admires Belle the most. "She follows her heart and doesn't care to be like everyone else. She is smart, graceful, and is fair with everyone," she says. "She has this ability of understanding every character, and seeing the goodness of the beast through the aggression, because she could tell that he was just sad and broken. She believes in greatness and exudes grace and poise by speaking her mind." Mena believes that Belle is a role model for any age, since it's her caring attitude and belief in fairness that saves her in the end.  

It's Cinderella for Nixita Taneja, a freshman at the University of British Columbia, because she never stopped believing in herself and never gave up on her dreams. "She knew there was something out there, and in order to get to that, she needed to embrace everything that came her way, and take it in her stride," she says. 

So no matter your age, princesses can play hugely positive roles in shaping your mindsets and values, whether you're aware of it or not. If you think about it, other than our parents these princesses are often our first friends. They're our first mentors, and they provide us with inspiration for how to approach the unexpected, how to lead, and how to overcome adversity. These are pretty valuable things to have in our toolbox as we enter later stages of life, and while these lessons tend to be wrapped in childlike whimsy, it doesn't make them any less applicable at the end of the day. 

After all, I think it's fair to say that their virtues of resilience, bravery, and curiosity are far from childish. 

Michelle Liu is a junior at the University of British Columbia, majoring in Media Studies. She is currently a National Writer for Her Campus, and a Victoria’s Secret PINK Campus Representative. She’s passionate about all things pop-culture, fashion, and pink, and is pursuing a full-time career in marketing. In her free time, you can find her planning out her outfits for the next month, testing out new recipes, or obsessing over the newest Marvel movie.
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