Positive princess role models

May 15, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. ET

When your little feminist-in-training is obsessing about a new princess, it may be hard to "Let it go." But here are a few cartoon princesses that don’t need rescuing. No damsels in distress here.

Girl dressed as princess | Sheknows.com
Photo credit: Sri Maiava Rusden/Photodisc/Getty Images

Merida from Brave

Brave | Sheknows.com

Brave (Amazon, $19) happens to be a love story, but not the kind we’re used to. It’s about the love between a mother and daughter. The feisty Merida actually does not want to get married (imagine that) and battles with her queen mother for understanding. She’s spirited, loves her freedom and repeatedly shows she can do anything a man can do. She tells us to discover who we are even when it’s challenging (and to give your mama a hug).



Mulan | Sheknows.com

She cuts off her hair, fights with the men and earns everyone’s respect by going against the grain. She shows young girls to believe in themselves and breaks down gender stereotypes that girls shouldn’t do certain things. The heroine in Mulan (Amazon, $30) does end up with the guy but she doesn’t go searching for him. He comes to find her at the end. Gotta love a girl with standards.


Princess Fiona
from Shrek

Shrek | Sheknows.com

This non-Disney princess becomes an ogre to end up with a prince… not so charming. Shrek (Amazon, $25) is an ogre but Fiona loves him anyway. She doesn’t care about appearances and teaches children that no matter who you are, it’s what’s inside that counts. Though many princesses before her tried to demonstrate this message, it is all the more clear in that she gives up her own beauty — which makes her both brave and inspiring.


Tiana from
The Princess and the Frog

The Princess and the Frog | Sheknows.com

We can get past the part about her going around kissing frogs because she’s such a good role model. Tiana is the epitome of a strong, business woman — hardworking and smart. She doesn’t let go of her dream to open a restaurant even after her father dies and she becomes a frog. Talk about keeping a good attitude in the face of adversity. She reaches her goals by hard work and persistence, making The Princess and the Frog (Amazon, $17) barely a fairy tale.



Pocahontas | Sheknows.com

This lady is kind of the ultimate positive female role model. Let’s see, the heroine in Pocahontas (Amazon, $26) single-handedly stops a war. She is also pretty set on following her path and ya know, painting with all the colors of the wind. She recognizes that her people need her and therefore doesn’t end up with John Smith when she decides not to get on the boat and sail off into the sunset. She teaches us that listening to your heart is even more important than falling in love.


Rapunzel from Tangled

Tangled | Sheknows.com

She starts out totally naive, but who wouldn’t be after being locked in a tower for all those years? What makes this Rapunzel special is that she has the bravery to overcome her fears about going against her mother. While she's certainly a bit Tangled (Amazon, $17) eventually, she breaks out of her sheltered world and finds freedom but it is hard fought. She teaches us that sometimes we have to question what is near and dear to us if we are to find our true calling.


Anna from Frozen

She's the newest princess on the block and everyone is "singing" her praises. Sure, she gets engaged after knowing the guy for one day and learns the hard way about love and loss — not so typical for a cartoon princess. But Anna from Frozen (Amazon, $15) still makes the list because she’s the eternal optimist. Her true love is for her sister, Elsa, and she bravely ventures through the eternal winter to find her and save the kingdom of Arendelle. Though she considers herself to be “ordinary” she proves she is anything but when she shows that kindness and understanding are the cure for pretty much everything.

Frozen | Sheknows.com

More on princesses

Name your baby after a real princess
Moms react to Disney's makeover of Merida from Brave
Gender-bending: When your son dresses like a princess