The Princesses display traditional gender conformities, such as being very feminine, falling in love with a man, and also getting married. It is important to understand that the children watching these Princesses can conclude this is normal behavior or this is what girls should be like or they may have no reaction at all. Still, it is necessary to be aware of how Disney over emphasizes what it means to be a woman, to be feminine, and to do gender.

 

 
 

 

 

The Classic Period Princesses from the Princess Collection are Snow White, Cinderella, and Princesses Aurora (Sleeping Beauty).

They are depicted as passive, patient, innocent, kind, good natured, beautiful, and animal friendly females that represent the typical Princess in a fairy tale plot. All three support heterosexual normativity and display domestic, marital roles; all get married or are about to get married by the end of their films, even though Princess Aurora is only 16 years old (Davis 2006). Snow White and Cinderella both play roles surrounding domestic tasks of cleaning.

To Walt Disney, this is the way things were supposed to be. During this Classic Period he continually used traditional roles for female characters to create a "Happily Ever After" concept as a reward for the women who overcame evil, found heterosexual love and married, and conformed to gender ideologies.

Like other Princess based films, these Princesses spend the majority of their lives under fear or control of an older vindictive woman. Snow White and the Wicked Queen, Cinderella and her Wicked Step-Mother, Aurora and the Evil Fairy Maleficent. Their mothers are either dead or powerless in protecting the daughter from the older vindictive women (Davis 2006). This is the typical set up for many of the Princess films: absent parents with some type of threatening evil character and the struggle of good vs evil. 

 

 

 

Ariel, Belle, and Jasmine are the other three Princesses in the Princess Collection. 

The Classic Period slowly came to an end; by the late 1980's Disney had shifted towards a different style of Princesses. One's that were seeking adventure or justice (Davis 2006). Disney also ventured outside of their accustomed depictions of women including a red headed mermaid Princess, a Middle Eastern Princess, and a Native American Princess (although Pocahontas is not in the Princesses collection she still contributed to the changes that occurred).

The Princesses from the 80' and 90's were in films that had plots that did not revolve completely around a heterosexual romance, although it was still very prevalent. They were given tasks, goals, or some type of adventure that made them more positive roles models to the young viewers. This showed the viewers that a Princess could be strong, intelligent, and active and she was not just a passive, docile girl waiting for her Prince to rescue her. This was a huge change in the gender depictions that Disney commonly used.

This new type of Princess still had absent mothers; their fathers were active characters in the films but were unable to help their daughters when they were endangered. All had some type of evil they had to overcome just as the Classic Princesses did; Ariel and Ursula, Belle and Gaston, Jasmine and Jafar.

Disney also made these Princesses more sexualized by showing more skin. And although their films did not revolve completely around finding a heterosexual partner, their quest for adventure, justice, or self-fulfillment ended with finding love and pleasing their fathers.