Not So Princessy Princesses: Role Models with Girl Power

It’s girls’ night, so you know what that means: PRINCESS MOVIES! Think princesses, and you’re probably picturing floor-length gowns, perfectly coiffed hair, and jewels galore. Let’s not forget the requisite prince – or pauper, perhaps… just some man worth the wait– someone to save the day! In the meantime, our princess has servants galore so she doesn’t have to lift a finger, and (evil) step-parents telling her how to run her life!

Wait… Why do we want to watch this again?

If you’re trying to raise your daughter in an anti-princess home or you just want them to have some semblance of strength, finding the right role model on movie night can be tough. Teach your little girl that she can hold her own and fight her battles by herself with these not-so-princessy animated princesses:

Brave Merida Rebels

From Walt Disney Studios and Pixar Animation Studios comes a tale of courage and well… bravery. Set in 10th century Scotland, Brave is the story of Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) who lives in the DunBroch family castle with her father, King Fergus (voiced by Billy Connolly) and her mother, Queen Elinor (voiced by Emma Thompson). Merida would rather let her wild, curly, red hair down as she rides through the forest on her Clydesdale Angus than pamper herself with courtly duties. However, her mother – who is the brains behind the throne – would rather see her daughter act like a lady… or, a typical princess.

Merida (like Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games – although Merida could give her a run for her money) rebels. Queen Elinor insists that her daughter doesn’t talk back, strives for perfection, and definitely doesn’t “chortle”. Standing up for herself when her mother decides it’s time for her to wed the son of a competing clan after Merida beats them in an archery competition, the young tomboy causes havoc and screams at her mother, “I hope you die!” before she flees to the forest. (Okay, no one’s perfect… )

A bit dramatic, though I’m sure almost every kid has been there, done that. It’s here that she meets a witch (voiced by Julie Walters) with a spell that will change her mother – and in turn, her own fate.

This is an epic tale of self-discovery. A courageous, young teen takes matters into her own hands when she goes against the grain and decides that no one else will be responsible for her life. The rebellious princess shows young viewers to stand up for yourself and to follow your heart. Check out Brave to find out what fate has in store for Merida and her family. Will the curly-headed not-so-princessy princess have the outcome she was hoping for… or will magic be too much for her to handle?

Fighting the Life’s Little Tangles

As the 50th animated feature from Disney, Tangled (with an appropriate, modern, hipster title) doesn’t disappoint. The flick starts out like any typical fairy tale with typical voice-over narration and a typical castle. Girls enjoy the flick with the central female lead… and boys can be assured that this isn’t a girly-girl flick.

This princess-hijacking tale revolves around super long haired Rapunzel (voiced by Mandy Moore) – a princess who was exiled to the highest tower in the castle with only her pet lizard as company. Also residing in the castle is her “mother,” Mother Gothel (voiced by Donna Murphy), who, unbeknownst to Rapunzel, snatched her away from her real parents and has been holding her in captivity ever since.

When Rapunzel’s real mother had fallen ill while she was pregnant with her, the town searched for and found a healing, glowing yellow flower to save the child. Mother Gothel sees that when the child is born, she has the same glowing, yellow… locks of hair. She kidnaps her for her hair’s magical healing powers – which keep Mother Gothel staying young.

Love interest and beefy heartthrob Flynn Rider (voiced by Zachary Levi) pursues Rapunzel – which isn’t too difficult for the handsome man being that he’s not only a thief, he’s also quite the charmer. However, Mother Gothel had warned Rapunzel of thugs who want nothing more than to harm young, innocent girls. So, things don’t go well when he climbs into her tower window.

After a few items are thrown and the lad is knocked out, Rapunzel soon learns that outsiders aren’t so scary after all. Not a kid anymore and nearing her 18th birthday, Rapunzel longs to venture off on her own beyond the boring castle tower. She longs to see the nearby kingdom up close – especially on her birthday when paper glowing lanterns are set off filling the sky.

The blond-haired beauty sets off with Flynn Rider in a voyage of self-discovery as they’re chased by Mother Gothel and a huffing and puffing police horse. This Rapunzel is, unlike many princesses, a fighter. She takes charge of her own life and (once she’s of age) doesn’t let others make decisions for her. A great little princess for any girl that proves: “A little adventure, a little rebellion, that’s good; healthy, even!”

The secondary characters bring nonstop comedy and will have you laughing out loud. As one of my favorite Disney flicks, Tangled is definitely one to check out – and easy to get wrapped up in. Will Rapunzel ever reach the kingdom and meet her real mother and father? Or will Mother Gothel lock her up forever only to use her hair for her own benefits? Find out in this hairy comedy that teaches lessons in self-discovery and bravery.

Duking It out Along with the Men

Looking for a real woman warrior? Check out this musical action-comedy-adventure flick for a taste of real bravery. When her aged father can no longer fight, Mulan (voiced by Ming-Na Wen) takes her place in the Chinese army… alongside the boys… in disguise.

Unsatisfied with the dress-up parties and etiquette lessons, Mulan is a true warrior at heart – even if she has to learn how to master the sword first. She puts herself out there and not only fights her own battles (keeping up with the boys), but also joins the war against the invaders. Mulan is clever, determined, and skilled. She comes up with awesome tactics and saves the general… which also means her demise once her real identity is discovered.

Though expelled from the army, her loyalty prevails, continuing to fight for her family and country on her own – with a final epic battle, solo against the evil boss to save the day. Mulan proves that girls can be heroes.

Do you have a favorite Disney movie for the non-princessy princess in your family? Share with us!

Tags : film   movies   girl power   animated movies   

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