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Why Disney’s Princess and the Frog Should Be Our Guide to Love

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCD chapter.

The Disney Princess franchise played an influential role in many young girls’ lives, as it was the hallmark of femininity, kindness, strength, and bravery—what it means to be a woman. Despite this, Disney has been critiqued for the way they have portrayed love and womanhood in princesses; but by far, I have the most positive regard for Princess and the Frog. As a 20-year-old, I am still able to appreciate its deep messages, and Princess Tiana is a character I recommend any young girl to look up to. Here are three important, realistic lessons about true love that the movie teaches.

1. You Can Pursue Life Goals and Have Love on Your Side

The movie starts with Tiana, a young Louisiana woman who worked two jobs and saved up money to build “Tiana’s Palace,” a restaurant she planned to run with her late father. From the first half of the story, we saw the strong, independent side to her, because even when men took romantic interest, her mind and heart couldn’t deviate from her lifelong goal. However, once she met Prince Naveen, we saw Tiana open up more to love. By the end of the movie, she realized she could have both: her restaurant and a man who supported her dreams. 

Many Disney princess movies tried to depict an “all-or-nothing” kind of story, where a woman must either center her life around a man or not involve men at all. I feel Princess and the Frog brought the most wholesome balance of the two. As women, we should have our own goals and dreams, but who said we can’t welcome love in the process? There’s nothing wrong with having a partner by our side. It can be a beautiful thing to find a support system in another human being.

2. Healthy Partners Help Each Other Grow

Tiana and Naveen started as polar opposites of each other. Tiana was hardworking, but a bit of a workaholic. Naveen was relaxed and fun, but didn’t know how to take responsibility. As the movie progressed, not only did we see them appreciate each other, but they helped change each other in positive ways. Naveen learned how to mince mushrooms, and Tiana learned how to dance. 

Whenever we invite a person into our lives, we are bound to be influenced by them. People tend to villainize self-change when in relationships, but there is nothing wrong with leaving a part of you behind and stepping into a new version of yourself. In the case of Tiana and Naveen, they never left anything behind—they added to who they already were! The healthiest partners to have in life are those whom we can grow with, who can influence us and we influence them, for the better. 

3. True Love Is When You Desire Your Partner’s Happiness

The night ferry scene is a crucial moment; Naveen had prepared a marriage proposal for Tiana, but after seeing her face light up as she shared her plans for “Tiana’s Palace,” he was willing to set aside the proposal. Helping the one he loves fulfill her lifelong dream, the thing that can bring her immense happiness, brought him his happiness.

We need to be careful talking about sacrifices in relationships, because no sacrifices are worth one’s health, values, and aspirations. Naveen’s sacrifice was healthy only because he desired Tiana’s happiness, even if it meant she would not marry him. It was a sacrifice he was more than willing to make. True love is when partners prioritize each other’s well-being, for as long as their own well-being isn’t in detriment. 

Many people have been burnt by the unrealistic fantasies of Disney, and as a result, people are too afraid to put their hearts on the line. Modern dating culture has promoted self-centeredness, self-serving attitudes, and impractical expectations, but what Princess and the Frog remind us is that true love is about giving and growing with another person. It is completely possible to pursue our own dreams and experience love along the way, especially if that love changes us in positive ways. 

Gayathri is a third-year Biotechnology major and director of the UCD Her Campus Digital Media team. She loves to write, work out, sing, and sleep (college students need more of that nowadays). When not indulging in her boba addiction, she likes to wind down by watching hilarious Youtube vids with a hot cup of tea.