I've always admired Disney for being one of the first studios willing to put women in the forefront of story without making them glorified plot devices. Though I have to admit that I am not certain this was a purposeful act. Jeffery Katzenburg didn't think that "The Little Mermaid" would be a hit since it was targeted at girls. I am not sure who the other movies were targeted to then.
Which leads me to ask this question who is your favorite? Mine personally would be a Mulan - though technically she isn't a princess - but she is one of the better of the Disney heroines.
But I always loved how her personal mission and goal was devoid of her romance. And how she just happened to fall in love with along the journey.
Mulan is also a favorite for being such a badass!
It's interesting that Mulan is the only "official Disney princess" that is not a princess by birthright or marriage. A "Disney Princess" is very different than a princess from Disney. It's a specific marketing bloc that Disney arbitrarily defines.
My best friend likes Moana and we have gone around about this before. Which is better Mulan or Moana? Mulan had the better character arch than Moana in my opinion. For one she was not expected to be anything more than a good child bearing wife, and that even if her parents treated her better than the cultural expectations did, there's still that idea that her options are limited.
Moana had chiefdom ahead of her and was encouraged/expected to be headstrong, confident, intelligent.
Anyone who grew up in a household or culture similar or the same as Mulan grew up in know how difficult it is to overcome that upbringing, because you're not just fighting against actual people and institutions or laws, you're fighting against the part of yourself that agrees with them.
Moana is good because She is determined, has a specific goal that benefits her people, not just herself. No romantic interest, teaches a demi-god a few lessons along the way. I love that she is preparing to actually lead the people and take on the responsibility.
I think often Disney portrays "princesses" as "somebody important, rich, and pretty but with relatively few responsibilities" in sch a way that it undermines the message. So what? Is the ultimate feminine ideal to be a beautiful decoration that doesn't have to do anything but look pretty? I think that is why Moana is strong, it shows a young woman who is poised to lead her people one day and understands/embraces the responsibility. But it still places her in a position of privilege. Mulan has to fight against different adversities in a more believable setting.
But that is just me.
So who's would everyone else be?