Disney has weaved magic with their movies and there are generations that have grown up watching their movies. From Cinderella who dropped the bomb of Prince Charming on us to Belle who turned her lover from a monster to a handsome Prince, we have always seen these beautiful (albeit animated) women who needed a man to give meaning to and shape their lives. That's what we grew up to as well. Till many of us realized that a man is not what we need for meaning and beauty in our lives, and that Prince Charming is not a necessity if you choose to maintain a love life. Brave and Frozen were along the same lines too.
But now, Disney has a new revolutionary Princess, for whom marriage is nowhere on the cards. In fact, it's not even part of the main plot. Meet the animated representation of fourth wave feminism- Princess Moana, who's on a quest to save the world with her sidekick, demigod, and friend Maui.
If you're wondering why this is great news, let's break things down a bit for your benefit. As children's movies, their value is not just limited to that of entertainment. They are intended to give a certain message and teach a propagate a certain set of moral values. The first three Disney princesses- Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White were shown as beautiful, docile, obedient women who are suffering due to circumstances. All of them with flat, one-dimensional personalities, whose beauty was their defining characteristic. The prince falls in love and saves them solely based on their appearance.
Then came the era of 'Disney Renaissance'. This was also the time of third wave feminism when the ideas of how a woman should behave had been questioned drastically. Movies like The Little Mermaid, Beauty And The Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas and Mulan gave us women who were flawed and had their own personality. Ariel is stubborn and strong, Belle has a deep intellectual capacity and is fiercely independent, Pocahontas is wise and Mulan is immensely awkward and incredibly brave.
They are shown as questioning the established status quo to achieve their own set of dreams. Belle wants to escape her small town and wants to see what the outside world has to offer. She stubbornly continues to read even when her neighbours look down upon her for the same. Pocahontas astutely refuses to marry the man her father chose for her, and Mulan joins the army disguised as a man and happens to fight better than many of her soldiers.
Which brings us to why Moana will be the next big thing for girls who are growing up everywhere. When an establishment like Disney (which influences little ones more than you would know) shows us a woman completely capable of saving the world and holding her shit together without any sign of a love interest, it's revolutionary.
It's finally feeding children the idea that women do not need a man to complete her, she does not need a Prince to be a Princess. From movies whose female protagonists waited in angst to be rescued, to a woman who declare wars, Disney has come a long way. And if it continues, there's a whole new algorithm of ideas that kids will learn and imbibe.
Disney seems to have entered a new era. We'd be more than happy to see what brilliance they might have in store for us this time.