Who’s the Most Feminist Disney Princess of Them All?

Who’s the Most Feminist Disney Princess of Them All?
Buena Vista Pictures/Everett Collection/Alamy

When the first trailer for the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast was released last November, the two-minute clip set a new record for most views in its first 24 hours alone. Since then, the remake, which sees Emma Watson playing the bookish heroine, has supplied us with plenty of 1991 nostalgia–illustrating, once again, the remarkable staying power of the Disney princess. 

But with Beauty and the Beast's entrance into the modern era–and what a tumultuous and monumental era it is–our childhood protagonists are now subject to modern scrutiny. While Belle serves as the poster child for brains-before-beauty, Watson has given the princess a more realistic, feminist makeover for the revamp.  “In the animated movie, it’s her father who is the inventor, and we actually co-opted that for Belle,” Watson told Entertainment Weekly. “I was like, ‘Well, there was never very much information or detail at the beginning of the story as to why Belle didn’t fit in, other than she liked books. Also, what is she doing with her time?’ So, we created a backstory for her, which was that she had invented a kind of washing machine, so that, instead of doing laundry, she could sit and use that time to read instead. So, yeah, we made Belle an inventor.” 

The original set of princesses were created between 1937 and 1998, meaning that the OG fairytale leads lack the advantage of more modern Disney ladies like Tiana, Rapunzel, Ella, and Merida, who lean more heroine than princess simply because of the time they were sketched. But with the imminent arrival of Beauty and the Beast, we found ourselves wondering: How do Disney's original princesses stack up in 2017? 

To be respectful of each princess' circumstance–they're all feisty in their own right–we created a matrix that compares their level of defiance to their intentions. Read on for our full analysis of the original eight, their stories, and their fairytale flaws.

The Disney Defiance Matrix 


Everett Collection (2); Alamy Stock Photo (7)



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