Body Image and Expectations in Disney’s Princesses

While Kim Kardashian or supermodels like Kendall Jenner or Gigi Hadid may be your inspiration for the perfect body, Disney princesses can act as a symbol for the ideal body for young girls who watch their movies. Lets take a look at one of the most famous princesses and her story: Ariel from The Little Mermaid.

At age sixteen, Ariel is the youngest and prettiest daughter of King Triton of the ocean who is unhappy with her life under the sea. She ends up rescuing a man, or Prince Eric, from a shipwreck during a storm but falls head over heals for him, and decides she is going to do anything it takes to be with him. This means selling her voice to an evil sea witch to become human and ultimately capture his heart. While this is one of my favorite stories, there are some serious red flags in some morals that Disney is conveying to girls who watch this movie, but most notably is that the way to seduce a man is through pure looks. Ariel and Prince Eric did not talk once when they were together, yet Eric fell in love with her through her smile and pretty face. Hilary Sheinbaum from The Huffington Post wrote in her article, “Why My Kids Will Not Be Watching The Little Mermaid,” that the moral of the story is to “change who you are — not simply to be loved, but also to be accepted by others.” Eric has not truly fallen in love with Ariel at all, since he saw nearly no part of her personality or her thoughts or opinions about anything. Ursula the sea witch even tells Ariel, “don’t underestimate the importance of body language…” so should we really be letting little girls hear that?Kiss-the-Girl-the-little-mermaid-18613706-1280-720.jpg

Disney has made some changes in how they present the important of love interests for princesses, like the most recent princesses Elsa from Frozen and Merida from Brave who do not have a prince around their arm. However, Disney has been consistent in how they present their figures. Every single princess has a waist about the size of their neck, dainty feet and hands, luscious long hair, and huge eyes. How are these teenagers/young adults who are heroes for young girls supposed to be good role models for them if their bodies are anatomically nearly impossible?

Artist Meridith Vaguest breaks down the anatomies of Princess Jasmine and how they compare to a regular female that same age.image1_large.jpg

Here are some other examples of disproportionate bodies:

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I came across a picture by artist Loryn Brantz from Buzzfeed who took some of the most distinguished princesses and edited them to have more realistic body types, and the results look way more accurate (Sieczkowski).

Jasmine from Aladdinslide_378810_4472418_free.jpg

Ariel from The Little Mermaidslide_378810_4472422_free.jpg

Belle from Beauty and the Beastslide_378810_4472414_free.jpg

Aurora from Sleeping Beautyslide_378810_4472424_free.jpg

Other then body proportion, there are more physical characteristics such as eyes and hair which also produce disappointing realistic outcomes. Hair for example, is over exaggeratedly voluminous and consistently perfect. Pictured here is Jasmine who is brushing her thick, perfectly tamed hair, and on the right is Anna from Frozen, who is one of the few Disney princesses to show a realistic representation of hair. 1428956924-prom-hair.jpg

Below is a video clip by Buzzfeed which illustrates what the princesses would look like with realistic hair.


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