Disney princesses have evolved over the last eighty years.
They began with Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, films in which beautiful women lie in comas until Prince Charming rescues them.
In the 1990s, princesses began to rescue themselves. Mulan is arguably the queerest Disney movie to date – it is a genderbending tale of a woman who dresses up as a man in order to fight in the army and protect her father. The movie raises questions such as,
What is a man and what does it mean to be masculine? If being a ‘man’ is just a set of actions and attitudes, then can’t anyone perform manhood?”
In 2012, Disney released Brave, the tale of a girl who rejects both heteronormativity and traditional gender roles. In 2013, thousands of Frozen fans demanded that the protagonist Elsa be depicted as queer (#GiveElsaAGirlfriend).
Brave’s and Frozen’s plots touched on questions of male suitors, but Disney’s 2016 Moana, unlike previous Disney movies, does not address relationships at all. Moana’s role as chief is tied in no way to a marriage or to gender roles. She never even mentions a suitor. This is groundbreaking.
The directors of Moana, John Musker and Ron Clements, have made further history by declaring that “the possibilities are pretty open at this point” for a queer Disney princess.
Musker told the Huffington Post that he and Clements “have never really had restrictions placed on what we’ve done,” which allowed them to create Tiana, a film about a black princess.
According to Musker, creating a lesbian or gay princess merely requires a director passionate about the project – as long as Disney’s Chief Creative Officer gets on board, the film could start production immediately.
Just because a princess is LGBT doesn’t mean that her storyline has to revolve around romance, of course. Being queer is just one facet of a person’s identity. The point of a queer princess is for LGBT children to have role models to signify that everything is going to be okay.
No official movie starring an LGBT princess has been announced yet, but Frozen fans believe that Frozen 2 may finally come through.