The Hidden Feminist Agenda of Disney Princesses

2013disneyprincessSoft, musical voices, long flowing hair and dreams that “someday (their) prince will come” sounds like the farthest thing from a feminist agenda that one could imagine.

In fact, some of the looniest of the feminist blogs decry the “helpless” nature of the female stars of most Disney movies.

However, I see things differently. There is a particular staunchly feminist message in every one of the Disney movies and whether you see this message as a positive one or a negative one, it’s presence is undeniable.


Many feminists (who most likely grew up watching these movies) don’t recognize that it was this ubiquitous message that ignited their passion for female “liberation” in the first place.

This hidden yet ever-present message is simply this: that “being content in your own skin is not enough, because true happiness comes from outside of yourself”.

Wait, what?! You ask. How do they say this, and even if they do, what’s wrong with that? And further more, how is this a feminist message?

Slow down, Speedy Gonzales! One question at a time.

First off: How do they say this?

The Little Mermaid – A young girl (mermaid) is discontent with life in her father’s wealthy palace where she gets waited on and doted upon by a loving, king father and all of his servants; so she chases a fantasy of what life would be like if only she could be completely transformed even to the point of risking a potentially fatal procedure to live outside of her biological predestination.

Mulan – Shaves off all of her hair and pretends to be a man. Need I say more?

Beauty and the Beast – Belle lives a peaceful and fulfilling life in a quiet village where she spends most of her time reading books and complaining of boredom (even as she walks through the beautiful town full of friendly townspeople who all know her by name and happily greet her).

Snow White – Cohabitation with multiple strange men sans wedlock (because that’s not dangerous for a single, estranged woman to do at all, right?!)

Cinderella – Sneaking out at night for a date…

Pocahontas – A woman chasing the right to “choose” ends up confused about her vocation and reconciled to singlehood.

Ok, so What’s wrong with that?

Essentially, what I’m trying to help you realize through this article is that these movies are (intentionally or not) painting a picture that to be a woman, no matter how comfortable the circumstances, somehow means to be in a state of “oppression” and/or “repression” and as a result women should be seeking liberation.

Think about what exactly such a message does in the mind a young suburban teen who has been watching Cinderella all throughout her youth and reaches high school age where she is asked to do chores around the house when she sees her classmates going to house parties to tempt college men to commit felony misdemeanors. It will be pretty difficult to convince such a girl that her life at home with her parents, uplifting and benefiting her immediate community is of as significant importance as time spent exercising her “freedom”.

Or consider, the young college-aged child of immigrant parents who grew up innocently watching the Little Mermaid just like all the other Americans. All of a sudden, when it’s time to make decisions about her future, all the messages she grew up with seem wrong, because most adults only want to oppress young women and a woman is supposed to pursue a life outside of what she knows.

So, you ask “what’s wrong with that”… There is so much wrong with that it deserves it’s own book. Raising a young person to believe that what they know and all that they are is somehow inadequate or incomplete sets them on an endless and fruitless course of seeking a poorly defined (if defined at all) ideal of what she should aspire to be (and aspire for all of her kind). And perhaps this is the goal of some, to break others of any sense of internally-based validation so as to make them susceptible to any and all messages about who and what can provide a sense of self worth. And therein lies the problem.

How is this a Feminist message

Lilac and I have agreed that the term “feminist” is an inadequate word to use in describing the pedagogical dictators who believe that they have some kind of all-encompassing wisdom about the needs and desires at the heart of every female’s core and only they have the solution to this terribly debilitating need that results from an inherent sense of lack that all women everywhere feel that results from nothing more than being a woman. Further more, the term “feminist” is weighted with emotional and experiential implications that vary as widely as the people who hear or read that word. However, for lack of a more adequate term, we will be using this one to refer to the aforementioned “dictators”.

To the “feminists” of the type described above, to be a woman is to be oppressed no matter how happy you “think” you are. [Irony alert: Isn’t “happiness” a state of mind? So, how can you be confused about how you feel? Apparently these guys have telepathic abilities so strong that they not only know what you’re thinking and feeling, but also know what you didn’t know you were thinking and feeling!] These same omniscient beings believe that men are somehow hoarding all the happy-producing experiences for themselves. So, women should go find where men are keeping these happiness givers and collect their share.

girl proposalThis brand of “feminists” mask this ideology by pushing ideas like “freedom” and “equality” as things women are being deprived of and should be chasing after. Somehow, this freedom women should be seeking means running away from your current status as though out of a burning building only the building is in tact and your future would have been promising if you had only stayed put and recognized your blessings. This “equality” they urge us to fight for is to become like men, even when that means giving up what intrinsically makes you a woman. Don’t get married or have children, or at least not until you have proven to the men in your life that you are better than them! Yes, deflate their ego by emasculating them and while you’re at it, propose marriage to one of them too! (cuz they sure won’t be offering you any rings, Xena Warrior Princess!)


So, let’s summarize…

  1. The Disney Princesses come from a culture so obsessed with chasing “freedom” that it doesn’t recognize that it’s not in chains (or at least the chains are not of the kind from which they are seeking to be freed).
  2. Modern feminist extremists are pushing a type of freedom that urges women to do something (anything) other than what they are currently doing, even if what they are currently doing is perfectly fine and healthy and even if the other thing is engaging in dangerous behavior. In fact, the more dangerous the behavior the more worthwhile it is to engage in. Whether it is pursuing a relationship with a  likely violent beast or engaging in risky sexual encounters with multiple partners, the risk doesn’t matter as long as you’re not “bored”!

Read Next: Why is it OK for Men to Sleep around and not Women?

Author: African Femininity

African Femininity is a first generation American-born Nigerian. That basically means, her parents were immigrants and raised her with a mix of selective cultural values from both traditions. Needless to say, this left her with a very dissonant understanding of what being a “lady” meant. Now, as an un-married 30 year old woman, she is on a mission to delve to the root of being a woman in a world where conflicting cultural values and traditions are leaving many confused and disillusioned. She use the power of the pen to defend a woman’s right to choose her own lifestyle: be it housewife, social climber or being conventionally employed. Check out her Amazon author page for books written by her at

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  1. LOL, that’s right. Walt Disney, of the 1930s, was a feminist, sneakily trying to slip his ideas into his movies.
    Oh, and wanting more out of life makes you a feminist. I guess that you writers on this site had better watch out – I know one writer is 30 something years old and single. To that writer, if you’re not fully content with your singlehood and want to get married, you are thinking feminist thoughts. The same goes for any readers on here who might be single, lonely and want to get married or want any kind of change in their lives. You’re thinking feminist thoughts. Quickly, get intense moral therapy to rid your mind of these evil thoughts. God knows people who aren’t feminists are completely content with every aspect of their lives at all times and never wish for a change, feel unhappy or want more.
    BTW, ever noticed that so many movies with male protagonists have them wanting something more than what they have or wanting to fulfill a goal, too? What’s it called when a man thinks this stuff? What evil hidden agenda is this?
    Oh, I just saw that you’re the single 30 year old woman. So are you daring to “want more” out of life by wanting to get married, or are you planning to be one of those horrible, evil women , possibly career women, who never marry or only marry when they’re older and will have “deformed” children? Make up your mind which villain you are.
    Why aren’t you married, anyway? For all this sites talk about women needing to ease up on men, you must be a very picky woman to still be single, or you must be an evil feminist.
    I support traditionalism, but get tired of being told I’m thinking “evil” thoughts or am feminist if I ever think or feel normal feelings or thoughts. If you’re so perfect and know so much about what everyone should or shouldn’t be doing, why are you not married?

  2. Well yeah, getting scraps from the men’s table sure is swell when you’re cute enough to get them but what happens when you get too old and ugly for scraps and they stop giving them to you? That’s when you realize the value of feminism. Because, as men like to tout, women age like milk. So these disney princesses are off exercising their freedom and independence before they end up like countless stay-at-home mothers in real life who at 40, divorce their cheating husbands and end up eternally alone and unemployable.

    1. Yes, you’re right in pointing out that feminism has always been about fighting for the ugly and decrepit females of our society. To your other point about cheating, I personally think it’s unfortunate when someone is willing to dissolve a relationship, marriage or family because of a meaningless act of infidelity. To do so is to ignore our biological makeup and very normal desire to want sexual variety occassionally. We plan to explore the issue of cheating (and honesty) soon on Ladies Again.

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