If you’ve had a typical upbringing, you probably grew up watching Disney princess films. We all have our favorites, from Aurora to Jasmine to Pocahontas. While the films will always hold a special and nostalgic place in our hearts, as we’ve grown older, it’s safe to say that some of them weren’t exactly pro-feminist.
While each princess taught viewers a lesson, love was a major theme and it was a pretty cliche trope. Almost all the films’ endings were pretty predictable, with the end goal being the girl getting the guy, no matter how long they’d known each other. They perpetuated the trend of looks getting you far, with most of the couples falling in love upon first glance. Most of the princesses were set as the damsel-in-distress that needed saving by the male hero and then it would be an automatic happily ever after.
There’s been an improvement with recent films like Frozen that prove that true love isn’t always romantic, it can be found with family or platonic friends. The Princess and the Frog shows us that there’s nothing wrong with putting your career or ambitions first while Brave says “take a seat” to arranged marriages and stereotypical female roles. Finally, it’s been realized that not all films have to end in a marriage.
Now, Disney is launching a new campaign, titled #DreamBigPrincess. Disney contacted 19 female photographers in 15 countries to snapshot influential females out in the real world. The hashtag can be used by anyone on social media platforms to showcase empowering females of all ages.
Disney also teamed up with Girl Up, which is partnered with the UN Foundation to support girls across the globe. Now until October 11, Disney is donating $1 for every public post of a photo tagged #DreamBigPrincess, or any like on social media, up to $1 million. See the gallery to see the girls already a part of the campaign. You’ll see everything from aspiring athletes to those helping save endangered animals.
Photographer Kate T. Parker told Glamour, “Princesses are great role models, they show strength and power and determination. Princesses can look perfect and be perfect and have their hair done—but then the next moment they can be having a mud fight. And that’s perfectly fine. We have these contradictions within ourselves and I think that’s OK. You can be a tomboy and still care about what you look like.”
Our role models don’t have to be the princesses we see on the screen, they’re the strong women in our lives and the ones we pass on the street. They’re the ones who are already making a difference to the ones we’ll be hearing about in the future.