Like so many 7-year-old girls, my daughter is utterly obsessed with Disney princesses, particularly the latest, Elsa from Frozen. I proudly support this (although I think I’m somewhat done with the song “Let It Go“ at this point), because frankly the two sisters in Frozen are both powerful young women and this makes me happy.
My daughter had this same love for Merida from Brave — another powerful girl in a Disney film — and Tiana from The Princess and the Frog. But because I’m a feminist, I annoy my daughter by having long discussions with her about the way Disney portrays women and how she feels about it. Some of these conversations get quite detailed — particularly about body size, since I’m a fat woman and she is a solidly built kid. For instance, she worried that her waist wasn’t well enough defined the first time she saw Frozen. (I consoled her by reminding her that Elsa and Anna also didn’t have waifish waists when they were little).
But she also longs for a princess that is more, well, like her. So we sat down together, and she gave me a list of what she would love to see in a Disney Princess. Take note, Disney!
1. A Wolf Princess.
My darling girl is obsessed with shape shifting, particularly the idea of becoming a wolf. Of course Tiana from The Princess and the Frog turned into a frog — thus shifting her shape — but she couldn’t do it at will, and it wasn’t a choice she made for herself. My daughter wants to see a Princess that’s more like Aisling from The Secret of Kells; a Princess that really IS a wolf but can turn into a human.
2. A Princess Who Wears Pants.
I found this so interesting. While my daughter is begging me for a full-on shimmery Elsa costume, she still would love to see a Princess that wears pants during her adventures. In fact, she specifically said she’d love to see a Princess that dresses like Flynn Rider in Tangled, because then she could do flips and climb better.
3. Time Traveling Princess.
This one is totally my fault. We’re big fans of Doctor Who in this house (and yes, that is an un-Disney sanctioned shirt from Tee Fury showing a Merida-like princess following wisps to a Tardis, the time traveling ship The Doctor uses), so it makes sense that she’d think of a princess that could move through both time and space. But wouldn’t that be so cool?
4. Princess Who Is Poor.
Of course we’ve already got Cinderella, the princess forced to be a maid and Snow White, the princess that’s homeless but they both came from wealth. My daughter envisions a Princess that is simply poor and living an average but adventurous life (edited: yes, like Tiana, but my daughter envisions a Princess that is happy and less stressed). Here’s where the female Flynn Rider thing comes up again too; she imagines the poor Princess being a ne’er do well or a thief that ends up helping a Prince, and their adventures lead to romance — but SHE rescues the Prince.
5. A Princess Who Is A Fox Shapeshifter.
For this one, you can blame that darn song “What Does A Fox Say“ (sorry for putting that in your head), but my daughter is VERY specific about this one. This Princess would be a fox all the time, but with human features. “She would hide her ears by turning them into ponytails,” my daughter informed me. She’s particularly intrigued by the Kitsune myth and thinks that would be an amazing basis for a Princess story.
6. A Modern Alice In Wonderland
Yes, we’ve watched a bit of Once Upon A Time In Wonderland since having this discussion, but my daughter is just too young for it. But it’s definitely what she envisions for her updated Alice, right down to the sword. She loves the idea of a pants-wearing, swashbuckling Alice striding through the world having adventures and meeting wild creatures. Also, randomly, she believes that Alice should be African-American, “Like my friend Jada, Mommy!”
7. A Princess With Short Hair.
This is a BIG one for my girl. She loves keeping her hair short (yes, I cried the first time she cut most of her hair off in kindergarten) and it suits her immensely. Plus the ease of short hair as a parent cannot be beat, frankly. But she almost never sees girls that look like her anywhere — not in gaming avatars, not in advertisements for “girl” toys, and certainly not in a Disney Princess. Of course Rapunzel in Tangled had shorter hair at the end of the movie, but my daughter points out, “It’s not that short, and besides, you can’t buy a Rapunzel doll with short hair, Mommy.” Good point, sweetie.
So there you go, the seven Princesses my daughter wishes existed (one note: she did also call for an OUT gay Princess, but she also said, “I don’t think that’s going to happen soon, Mama.” Of course Mulan is gay on Once Upon A Time, but again, too young for my kiddo). Got any more to add?