7 Disney Princesses Who Didn’t Need To Be Saved
Who doesn’t love Disney movies? Disney has been creating highly popular movies for many decades now. Their movies are not without flaws however, and they have been criticized for many reasons, including their adherence to some very traditional (i.e. old fashioned) gender roles. The typical plot of an animated Disney movie tends to involve a princess who is in danger, a prince who saves her, a marriage, and a happily ever after for the couple. Disney has started to change this pattern in recent years, and has had some movies that don’t follow this formula at all (WALL-E, Big Hero-6, and Inside Out are a few that come to mind). Here is a list of some movies that involve a princess who breaks this pattern by being saved by another female, by saving herself or by saving others. These movies may have princesses, but they don’t need to be saved by any princes.
7. Maleficent/Aurora, “Maleficent”
Both major characters in this movie require some help at some point in the story, but neither of them are saved by a man in typical Disney fashion. Aurora, aka Sleeping Beauty, needed to be saved from the curse that put her to sleep, but she was saved by Maleficent, not by a man. Maleficent isn’t really a Disney princess, but she is the main character of the movie, and she saves herself from danger with a little bit of help from Aurora.
6. Belle, “Beauty and the Beast”
Belle is kept prisoner by the Beast, but is in that situation because she has chosen to trade places with her father. After the Beast releases Belle so that she can go help her father later in the story (after he has developed feelings for her), Belle returns to the Beast to save him from the angry mob that wants to kill him. The Beast nearly dies in her arms, but her love magically saves him. Belle didn’t really need any rescuing, and was instead always trying to help those around her. This was an early example of the princess saving the prince.
5. Tiana, “The Princess and the Frog”
In the The Princess and the Frog, Tiana is a fiercely independent woman who is used to working extremely hard for everything she has. She meets a prince named Naveen, who is under a curse that has turned him into a frog. She reluctantly tries to save him with a kiss, which doesn’t work, and then they go on a journey to find a solution together. She saves Prince Naveen from danger a few times, and helps teach him a few things about survival. He helps save her during a few minor conflicts as well. In the end, she saves herself from the Shadow Man, and then Naveen tries sacrifice himself to help Tiana’s dreams come true, but she doesn’t let him. They decide to live together as frogs, and their love magically turns them back into humans.
4. Fa Mulan, “Mulan”
In this movie, after the Huns invade China, families are ordered to send one man to fight in the war. In Fa Mulan’s family, her elderly, injured father is the only male in the family and therefore has no choice but to serve. Mulan knows that he cannot survive the service, so she dresses like a man, sneaks out in the night and joins the army in his place. She trains hard and goes from being one of the worst soldiers to the best. She saves everyone from multiple attacks by the Huns, with a little help from her friends. Fa Mulan repeatedly saves the day in this movie, and saves her captain, Li Shang, who she has feelings for. In addition to her impressive fighting skills, she comes up with ingenious plans that gets them out of seemingly impossible situations, showing that she has both brains and brawn.
3. Rapunzel, “Tangled”
Tangled isn’t what we’ve come to expect from the story of Rapunzel. In this version, Rapunzel doesn’t need to be rescued from her tower. She does enlist the help of a man who stumbles across her when he tries to hide in her tower, but it wasn’t a rescue mission. In fact, when they are trying to get to the festival of lanterns, Rapunzel repeatedly saves Finn. She rescues him from a huge bar brawl, from the people hunting him down, and from a cave filling up with water where they are about to drown. He helps her along the way as well, but usually she is the one rescuing him from danger instead of the other way around. In the end, she tries to sacrifice herself to save his life, but he won’t let her, and it appears that he dies. She then accidentally (and magically) saves his life.
2. Pocahontas, “Pocahontas”
Pocahontas is a free-spirited young woman who certainly doesn’t need to be rescued by the man she falls in love with in this movie. Instead of being rescued by John Smith, Pocahontas saves him from being killed, throwing herself between him and the man who is about to execute him. They decide to spare his life because of her, and then he then gets shot trying to save her father from an attack. He prepares to return home to get the medical treatment he needs to stay alive, and he invites her with him. Instead of following her love to Europe, she stays with her people. Ending a movie without the main characters getting married was quite unexpected for a Disney movie at that time, and seeing Pocahontas decide that her family, friends and home were more important to her than her true love was quite refreshing.
1. Elsa (and Anna), “Frozen”
Elsa is one of the two main characters in Frozen, and she is unique in the fact that she has no love interest throughout the movie. This is quite rare for a Disney movie. She doesn’t need to be saved by a man and only her sister, Anna, tries to help her. In the end, Anna needs saving, and needs true love’s kiss to bring her back to life. Instead of being rescued by one of the two men she thought might love her, Elsa comes to the rescue and we see that it is a sister’s love that saves her, not romantic love. Elsa is a great example of a princess who doesn’t need a prince, and can create her own happily ever after.