No company is more connected to the “beauty is good” stereotype than Disney. Given its long-running theme of movies starring princesses and riffing on fantastical tales (many of which include royalty characters specifically known for their looks), that doesn’t come as a surprise. Many little kids have sat glued to the television, dreaming that one day their prince would come to see them sparkling in a ball gown and whisk them away.
The older films featured women of the same body type: slender, dainty noses, high cheekbones. If you stood the original princesses next to one another, they would look nearly identical in shape. Though this is a gross misrepresentation of their stories, their movies were based on two things: they were gorgeous, and they were in love. Their setups differed, of course, but that is where it all begins. For a long time, Disney “beauty” was identical.
Disney films today have taken a different tone; there are more original stories based on different cultures and aesthetics. Now, there are all body types, skin colors, and even personalities represented amongst princesses and main characters alike. Not only are they beautiful in unique ways, their prettiness is paired with intelligence, confidence, quirky attributes, and anything you can think of. When you compare Cinderella to Encanto, you see a shift in values presented to young viewers.
The children glued to their screens while they watch now have a colorful bouquet of princesses and main characters to aspire to beyond a shared hair color or favorite dress type. Now, they can see themselves in the fact that a princess wears glasses, loves to draw, or is searching for who she is truly meant to be.
The classics should be loved and appreciated (I definitely adore them!), but the development of recent years is a wonderful step forward for today’s little royalty.