Whenever one imagines Disney princesses, they see pure and innocent souls. Typically, a Disney princess is meant to embody the best of the world and showcase its purity and kindness in one single person. As the years have worn on, that joy spread to more and more as princesses continued to be created.
Yet, while these walking, talking, and singing balls of happiness seem sweet and kind on the outside… what’s not to say that they don’t have a dark side? If one were to look closer at princesses, they might start to see a darker side.
Updated on May 22nd, 2021 by Kristen Palamara: There are 12 official Disney princesses and many consider Elsa and Anna from Frozen to while people are wondering if Raya is a Disney princess from the 2021 Raya and the Last Dragon. While Disney princesses are mostly cheerful and lovable characters who are always portrayed as selfless characters whether it’s Belle sacrificing herself for her father or Moana putting her life in danger to save her island Disney princesses are heroes overall but have also done some terrible things as well throughout their time in the Disney cinematic universe.
13 Moana: Stole Her Island’s Boat
Moana doesn’t understand the island and her father’s rule about not sailing out onto the ocean and she isn’t one to just accept the status quo.
Although it makes sense for Moana to rebel against a rule she doesn’t agree with or understand going against a rule that was only in place to keep her safe and stealing something that belongs to her island is not the best way of going about things even if it was the right move and she ends up saving everyone in the end.
12 Belle: Judges The Other People In Her Town
Belle begins her story in Beauty and the Beast by singing a song as she goes about her daily routine in her little village. Although it’s a catchy song and wanting something more in life is perfectly fine, it’s a bit overly judgemental on Belle’s part as she describes the town going about their daily business.
Belle greets everyone in the town, like the baker with his tray like always, in the “poor provincial town.” While there are certainly some villains like Gaston she should be avoiding, there’s nothing wrong with people enjoying their small-town life.
11 Tiana: Tells Ray Evangeline Is A Star
In Princess and the Frog, firefly Ray believes that a star in the sky is the brightest lightning bug in the world and he falls in love with it, calling the star Evangeline.
When Tiana and Naveen hear Ray’s enamored story about being in love with Evangeline they both easily decide not to tell him the truth and let him stay in ignorant bliss believing that Evangeline is a lightning bug and not break his heart. Later in the movie, Tiana is upset thinking that Naveen has agreed to marry Charlotte and she takes out her anger and heartbreak on Ray telling him that Evangeline is only a star.
10 Rapunzel: Ran Away From The Tower
Ok, now the biggest thing to keep in mind with Disney princesses is context. Most of them, when they do commit these “despicable” acts, are doing it because they’ve been told that what they’re doing is wrong. By all accounts, it may not be but for the character, it is.
So when the Tangled had Rapunzel run away from her tower after being locked away for years, it seems like a moment of freedom. For Rapunzel, however, she’s going against her “mother’s” wishes and is committing a truly heinous act. If her mother really had been a loving one, this really could have broken her heart. Then again, a loving mother probably wouldn’t lock her daughter up.
9 Merida: Turned Her Mom Into A Bear
Being one’s own person is what makes a princess stand out from the rest, like Merida, the main character of Brave who wants to live life on her terms. Yet, just because one want’s to be their own person doesn’t mean turning their overbearing mother into a bear.
She was unaware it was going to cause the transformation but it was her fault. That’s not saying people shouldn’t be their own person, especially for someone like Merida who’s inspired countless cosplays and fan art. But if they have to turn to magic to do so, chances are something unplanned is going to happen.
8 Jasmine: Sicced A Tiger On A Guy
Ever since the timeless animated film Aladdin came out, princess Jasmine has been seen by many as a role model. She’s known for being her own woman, trying to stand out among the rest and not just as a spoiled princess. However, that’s not to say she wasn’t a little dark.
Few seem to recall that she sicced her tiger Rajah on a suitor. It’s wasn’t life-threatening yet it does raise the question if Jasmine’s done this before to less humorous results.
7 Giselle: Left Robert For Her “True Love”
This may be a bit of a deep cut for many. The name Giselle isn’t the most recognizable of Disney princess yet a few may recall the film Enchanted, a mix of live-action and animated. Giselle was the princess of the animated world who made some questionable decisions even if she’s one of the more likable redheaded Disney heroines.
After spending the entire film getting to know Robert of the real world, Giselle immediately turned around and left with her prince. She eventually did come to her senses but it was still a shocking moment for many that stood out.
6 Snow White: Broke And Entered
How has Disney not made a CSI-related show set in the fictional worlds that they created? The question on its own may have an obvious answer but it does bring the thought of who would be charged for simple, everyday crimes in these fantastical worlds?
Snow White, that’s who. Even though she’s iconic and wonderful in Snow White And The Seven Dwarves, considered to be one of the best Disney fairytales, she also broke and entered into the dwarf’s home and then slept in their bed. If that’s five to ten in fairy jail, then what would be?
5 Elsa: Froze Her Entire Kingdom And Sister
“Let it go! Let it go!” Those are the words that have become some of Elsa’s most iconic lines and gotten stuck in many audience goers’ heads, all thanks to Elsa, one of two sisters from Frozen. Many love Elsa and even look up to her.
However, audiences seem to forget that Elsa literally froze her entire kingdom, cursed her sister to freeze as well, and instead of taking responsibility or pushing down her fear, ran away. Her solution? To sing her problems away instead of just facing them.
4 Anna: Pushed Elsa Over The Edge
Like sister, like sister. It may not be how the saying goes but for this moment, it works. Anna, as many know, is the go-lucky happy sibling of ice queen Elsa. And while Anna is looking out for Elsa throughout most of the film and is one of the best-dressed princesses out there, she does have one problem: Hans.
After like most Disney princesses, meeting Hans once, Anna decides he’s the one and tells Elsa they’re getting married. When Elsa says no, Anna pushes back and Elsa goes over the edge, unleashing her ice powers. Good job, Anna.
3 Pocahontas: Put Her Village In Danger For A Guy
There’s a common theme in Disney princess-oriented films and it usually revolves around the girls seeing a guy they never met and immediately thinking he’s the one. That almost never works out well like with Pocahontas.
When John Smith arrived in the new world and was discovered by Pocahontas, she chose to put her strange love for Smith above her people. The power of love is a dangerous thing and also a convenient plot device. It doesn’t help that the writers took creative liberties from what historically happened.
2 Megara: Manipulated Hercules And Worked With Hades
Now, when thinking of Disney princesses, Megara, the love interest from the underrated animated Hercules film doesn’t usually spring to mind. That being said, in greek mythology, Megara was a princess, and dating a demigod does add to that belief.
Of course, anyone who’s seen the movie knows that Megara was working with Hades (voiced brilliantly by James Woods), the God of the Underworld to manipulate Hercules and do James Wood’s bidding. She may have a change of heart and redeemed herself but it doesn’t discount her previous loyalties.
1 Ariel: Sold Her Own Voice For Legs
Just about every time in an animated movie, the storytellers try to make the audience feel bad for the character. No matter what they do, they’re written so that the audience pities them, and yet, like with Ariel in The Little Mermaid (a film that may not have aged that well), maybe they don’t deserve the sympathy.
Now, yes, Ariel wanted to be human. But selling her voice to a literal sea witch, Ursula wasn’t the right way to go. Not to mention that her own selfishness led to her father losing his trident and powers.
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