The ages of classic Disney princesses will definitely shock you

Many of us were raised on Disney, or raised our children on the film-maker brand. 

We witnessed the incredible cinema releases of The Lion King, Aladdin, Cinderella, Mulan and The Little Mermaid, and were inspired by the characters, but are they problematic?

The Disney princess role has changed as the generations got older (and more feminist), bringing more progressive films with 3D female characters such as Brave, Frozen, Moana, The Princess and the Frog and Tangled.

Kiera Knightly recently spoke out against the films, saying that her three-year-old daughter is banned from watching them in her home.

keira knightley smiling GIF

When asked why, she said to "rescue yourself!" from the prince is a far better message to send to young women; "Cinderella waits around for a rich guy to rescue her. Don’t." 

When we were watching the classic princess films as children or showing them to our kids, I highly doubt we realised at the time just how young the princesse are, which arguably makes the movies seem increasingly creepy.

There have been many claims from academics and fans that the young women in the movies are sexualised, then sent to live with a man who has privilege over them forever.

For decades, young girls have been seeing these characters as role models; they're compassionate, fierce, caring, brave and highly intelligent.

Many of the gals are preparing for marriage, but they're in their mid-teens. This seems a little weird, considering the men they're marrying are often at least ten years older.

For example. Pocahontas' age in the film was never confirmed, but in real life she actually met John Smith when she was just a 10 year old girl. 

First up: Princess Jasmine. Aladdin's bae was only 15-years-old in the film, as a recent The Mary Sue article pointed out. So when she's dressed in red and is seducing Jafar (a creepy old man), she's officially underage...

princess jasmine disney GIF

A key portion of the film revolves around the fact that she's obliged to marry a prince before her sixteenth birthday, which is three days away.

The Mary Sue also noted that Jasmine is a highly sexualised character, with Jafar commanding the genie to force her to love him.  Plus, that waist-line is a fantasy; she'd fit maybe half an organ in there if she's lucky.

HuffPost has previously pointed out that none of the 'official' Disney princesses are older than 19, even though most of them are wed or engaged by the end of each of their respective movies.

Ariel is a sixteen-year-old who claims to be an adult, while Eric is the ripe old age of 18. So in today's day-and-age, it would be illegal for them to marry.

Granted, these films are purely fantasy, but it's pretty strange how they design the princesses as sexualised teenagers who always end up with an older man.

If this next one doesn't shock you, we don't know what will. Snow White is just 14 years old when she meets her prince, and escapes from a cruel queen who tries to cut out her heart out of vanity.

The prince also kisses her while she's unconscious, which brings in the issue of consent.

snow white kiss GIF

Kristen Bell has also pointed out issues with Snow White as a film, which was the first colour Disney animation and was released back in 1938.

“Don’t you think that it’s weird that the prince kisses Snow White without her permission?” Bell says she asked her daughters. “Because you can not kiss someone if they’re sleeping!” 

Fairy tales don’t have a stable form, and every era rewrites centuries old fairy tales to fit it's specific agenda or zeitgeist. Many Disney princesses were based on the 1812 Brothers Grimm tales.

drunk kristen wiig GIF

They changed their book of stories to adapt to 19th-century German bourgeois family values, so why can't we update them in 2019?

Cinderella was transformed into a live-action remake recently, but no significant alterations were made. 

sleeping beauty kiss GIF

While Disney has 100 percent made improvements for it's female characters, like Frozen's Queen Elsa and Princess Anna especially, and Brave's Merida (also 16); it's important to be aware of the classic films and their morals.

The live-action Aladdin doesn't arrive for another few months (May 24 to be exact), we have no idea if Jasmine will be a more marriage-appropriate age. The actress cast to play her is 25-years-old, at least.

Naomi Scott isn't a teenager, so let's hope her character isn't either. Scott told Entertainment Weekly that her character’s goal is “really to protect her people, to do right by them," in December, so we have high hopes.

Image: Variety

Marwan Kenzari has been cast as Jafar in the live-action flick, and he looks much younger than the animated character from the 1990s film.

We're relieved they're moving away from the creepy-old-man theme; the movie looks intriguing, if just for a blue Will Smith as the genie. 

Bring on the empowered female princesses, like Meghan Markle and the Thai princess Ubolratana who recently attempted to run for Prime Minister.

2019 has no time for underage girls being paired off with elderly, controlling men.

Feature image: knowyourmeme.com

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