Disney Redefines What It Means To Be A Princess By Inspiring Girls To Focus On Character, Not Clothes

'Believe in yourself, be loyal, never give up.'

Once upon a time a Disney princess was supposed look pretty and wait to meet Prince Charming, but not any more.

To make its heroines relevant role models to girls in 2016, Disney has teamed up with thousands of parents to redefine what it means to be a princess.

Instead of focussing on characters’ looks, the project aims to highlight the positive character traits of princesses old and new and inspire girls to believe in themselves.

The traits of a modern-day princess have been turned into posters, which are available to girls free of charge.

Disney UK

To create the posters Disney UK commissioned parenting expert Judy Reith to analyse the characteristics of Disney princesses, including the kind and compassionate Belle from ‘Beauty and the Beast’, courageous Rapunzel from ‘Tangled’ and confident Tiana from ‘The Princess and the Frog’.

They then put a long list of these inner qualities and traits to a panel of more than 5,000 parents, who ranked the attributes they judged most relevant and important to their six- to 12-year-old daughters.

Three of the UK’s leading illustrators, Kate Moross, Rose Blake and Kate Forrester, turned the Princess Principles into posters.

The top 10 principles of being a modern princess are (in order of ranking):

  1. Care for others

  2. Live healthily

  3. Don’t judge a book by its cover

  4. Be honest

  5. Be a friend you can trust

  6. Believe in yourself

  7. Right wrongs

  8. Try your best

  9. Be loyal

  10. Never give up

Disney UK

Reith, who’s also author of ‘Seven Secrets of Raising Girls’ and a mother to three girls, said: “Many young girls dream of being a Disney princess so it is exciting to be part of an initiative that defines exactly what that means.

“The results make clear that being a ‘princess’ is not just about titles, tiaras or marrying a prince, but about emulating Cinderella’s courage, Merida’s heroism and Snow White’s generosity.

“I hope the principles will encourage a whole new generation of girls to care for others, try their best and to believe in themselves.”

Anna Hill from Disney, added: “It is fantastic that thousands of parents have helped us define the principles of a modern day princess.

“And the illustrators have done a great job of bringing the principles to life in the posters, which we hope will end up on bedroom walls across the country and help inspire girls to dream big.”

Disney UK

The research also revealed who parents consider to be the most inspirational and empowering female role models for young girls, with Michelle Obama topping the poll, closely followed by the Duchess of Cambridge and Jessica Ennis-Hill.

The top 10 female role models are:

  1. Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States of America (10%)

  2. Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge (8%)

  3. Jessica Ennis-Hill, athlete and Olympic gold medalist (8%)

  4. J.K Rowling, author (5%)

  5. Laura Kenny, cyclist and Olympic gold medalist (4%)

  6. Holly Willoughby, TV presenter and charity campaigner (4%)

  7. Angelina Jolie, actor and humanitarian (3%)

  8. Emma Watson, actor and campaigner (2%)

  9. The Queen (2%)

  10. Malala Yousafzai, activist and Nobel Prize winner (2%)

When questioned about the generational difference between themselves and their daughters, 80% of parents believed their children were more caring and compassionate than they were at the same age and two thirds (64%) said their girls were more confident.

Reith added: “Girls need strong role models when growing up so it is good to see they are looking up to an inspirational list of caring, courageous and determined female figures.

“It is also positive news that many parents believe their children are more caring, compassionate and confident than they were when they were young, which can only be positive news as girls step out and make their mark in the world.”

The Princess Principles posters are available online as a free downloadable print from the Disney Inspired website (www.disneyinspired.co.uk). 5,000 printed posters will also be available for free in Disney Stores across the UK.

Diane von Furstenberg

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