Emma Watson's 'feminist' Belle is hitting cinema screens in London this Friday – and it got us thinking about Disney princesses and their role model status. We spoke to Girlguiding Advocates Katie Horsburgh, 16, and Emma Brodey, 19, and asked them to pick Disney’s top feminists:
Mulan, from 'Mulan'
‘Mulan is Disney's original feminist. She stays true to herself whilst saving all of China! What I love the most is that while she spends a good chunk of the film impersonating a man in order to be accepted, when she finally defeats the villain, she does it as herself - a powerful woman. What better role model for young girls?!’ Katie
Moana, from 'Moana'
I went to see Moana in the cinema and totally loved it. She's curious, adventurous and brave. I love that she saves the day without using violence and doesn't fall in love, unlike the other princesses. It's so important to teach young girls the value of friendship and family as well as romance. Katie
Merida, from 'Brave'
‘Merida is a wild, free, Scottish spirit. I love her determination to choose her own fate and not get married just yet. I also love that the other main character is her mother, and the storyline is really based around their relationship. And to top it all off, Merida is a boss with a bow and arrow!’ Katie
Elsa, from 'Frozen'
‘It’s such a relief that one princess finally gets to become Queen and run a Kingdom! Elsa and Anna will do anything to protect one another and learn that it is only together and through their love for each other they can works things out. I would certainly put them as the top role models.’ Emma
Belle, from 'Beauty and the Beast' (1991)
‘Belle has always been one of my favourite Disney princesses. She’s bookish and a bit different from the rest of her village but embraces the facts she’s smart and unique. Whilst hers is a love story, Belle has more agency and independence than some of her counterparts.’ Katie
‘Belle is one of my favourite princesses because she represents a different kind of female bravery. She fights for her father and the beast not with a weapon (why do all women who are strong need to be armed in films!?) but with her voice and bravery.’ Emma
And the princesses they don't rate?
Snow White, from 'Snow White'
‘As one of Disney’s oldest films, it’s unsurprising that Snow White is one of the most passive princesses. She’s a victim of circumstance, does little for herself (even though she’s probably capable) and in the end is saved by true love’s kiss. Why not teach young girls that they have the power to save themselves?’ Katie
'Snow White is undeniably a brave princess but she lives first for the prince and then for the dwarfs. She doesn’t marry for love but for a daydream of a hero and money – not a good model for relationships. Her role is not particularly active; she does what she is told to merrily. She responds, she doesn’t act. Not the best role model in my opinion.’ Emma
Cinderella, from 'Cinderella' (1950)
‘Cinderella is passive. She falls in love with fantasy and doesn’t do anything. Cinderella dreams and her dreams come true. I wish I had something good to say about her.’ Emma
‘Cinderella ends up marrying a man she just met – I’d have liked to see her defying stereotypes more and doing more for herself.’ Katie
Watch Beauty and the Beast review