Think Disney princesses are bad for our daughters? About that ...

by Megan Zander
Jun 22, 2016 at 10:57 a.m. ET

Kids may love Disney princess movies, but there's a growing backlash against all things glittery. So should we parents feel bad about letting our kids watch these films until the whole family can sing every word of every song? Maybe not.

A new study out of Brigham Young University claims that the more interaction kids have with the princesses, the more likely they are to show female gender-stereotypical behavior. This new slam on princess culture comes on the heels of a linguistic study of Disney movies earlier this year that found that most Disney princesses are outspoken by male characters in their films, and it has prompted parents to yet again wonder if encouraging a child who loves princesses will serve them well as an adult.

But as a stroll down the toy aisle will easily confirm, the Disney princesses aren't going anywhere anytime soon. Even if your kids aren't watching the films at home, they're sure to hear about them on the playground or in preschool.

But consider this: Whether it's politicians or Disney princesses, it's not how much you speak but the things you say when you do that matter.

There are plenty of positive messages in Disney films, and parents can use them as useful talking points when speaking to their sons and daughters about issues of gender equality and kindness. Take a look:

1 /10: 'Aladdin'

1/10 :'Aladdin'

Jasmine may be a princess and only one of few females in the film, but her refusal to marry someone she doesn't love and the way she stands up to Jafar is a powerful message to children about knowing their own value and not settling for less than what they deserve.

2 /10: 'Frozen'

2/10 :'Frozen'

Elsa and Anna may not speak as much as their male counterparts, but it's a princess tale that ends without a wedding or engagement, making it a Disney princess movie that at long last sets the example for young children that there's more than one way to happily ever after.

3 /10: 'Cinderella'

3/10 :'Cinderella'

Cinderella is often brushed aside as a girl without any skills, but her story is so much more than a romance. It's the tale of a young girl finding a way out of an abusive household and standing up to her abusive stepmother. It's a great movie to watch with your children to start a discussion about abuse and what they should do to ask for help if an adult tries to hurt them.

4 /10: 'Beauty and the Beast'

4/10 :'Beauty and the Beast'

Belle may not have as many lines as the males in her film do, but the villain Gaston serves as a great example to children of what happens when people speak without listening to the opinions of those around them. Belle loves to read and clearly values intelligence and morals over appearance... an amazing lesson for kids to learn.

5 /10: 'Brave'

5/10 :'Brave'

While Merida's story is mainly that of the unbreakable bond between mother and daughter, her adventure starts when she refuses to get engaged. It's a great message to young kids that you don't have to be in a relationship if you don't want to.

6 /10: 'The Princess and the Frog'

6/10 :'The Princess and the Frog'

Tiana busted the Disney princess role by being the first princess to have her own job. She had a dream of owning her own restaurant, and although she finds love in the process, she achieves her dream of being a business owner, making this film the kids' version of Lean In. It's also a great film for kids who wonder why some parents work outside the home to watch and to open a discussion about finding joy in a career.

7 /10: 'Mulan'

7/10 :'Mulan'

Mulan manages to hide the fact that she's a female in an army of men, proving that girls are strong and can do anything boys can do. The movie also opens up rich conversations about the empowering women in history and the difference they made despite the barriers constantly thrown in their way.

8 /10: 'Tangled'

8/10 :'Tangled'

Rapunzel may spend the first 16 years of her life locked in a tower, but once she breaks out, she wastes no time taking control of her life. It's she who saves Flynn, not the other way around. It's a great film to reference when talking to your kids about the importance of standing up for themselves.

9 /10: 'The Little Mermaid'

9/10 :'The Little Mermaid'

Critics of Ariel point to her young age (16) and preoccupation with love as signs that she's not the role model you'd want for your child. But Ariel doesn't talk as much as the males do in The Little Mermaid because the entire plot is based around her losing her voice.

This doesn't make her irrelevant; it serves to remind young viewers the importance of using the voice they have and speaking their mind. Her lack of legs and voice also make her a princess that children with mobility or speech issues can relate to.

10 /10: 'Sleeping Beauty'

10/10 :'Sleeping Beauty'

Aurora does spend the majority of her film sleeping, making her perhaps not the most exciting Disney princess. But she falls victim to the curse because no one warns her to stay away from spinning wheels. If you talk to your children about how the story may have changed had she been told the truth, Sleeping Beauty goes from boring movie to a lesson in the importance of honesty and the dangers of thinking that females are too delicate to be told the truth.