From Damsels to Heroes: Princesses Reimagined.

Subtle Shifts and Heroic Twists: How Princesses are Redefining Gender Stereotypes

Sam Scribes
3 min readMay 11, 2023
Photo by Ryan Quintal on Unsplash

I recently had a mind-blowing experience taking Stefan, my three-year-old boy, to watch the Super Mario Brothers movie. Let me tell you, it was a warp pipe straight into the realm of childhood nostalgia mixed with a sprinkle of modern magic!

As we watched the movie, I couldn’t help but notice my son’s wide-eyed fascination with Princess Peach. Despite the movie’s title signalling Mario and Luigi as heroes, Stefan wanted more screen time with Peach. Mario who?

When we debriefed the movie later that night, my son worshipped Princess Peach, calling her “brave” at every heroic turn. It struck me like a warp-speed mushroom: how far we’ve come from the days of princesses being mere damsels in distress, waiting for a prince to sweep them off their dainty feet.

Remember those classic Disney princesses we grew up with? Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty, to name a few. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against these timeless tales. But let’s be honest here; they often found themselves singing sweetly, awaiting a charming hero to save the day. No offence, Prince Charming, but we’ve moved on.

Fast forward to the present, and we have a whole new generation of princesses who kick serious Koopa butt. Take Mulan, for instance. She defied conventions, disguised herself as a warrior, and saved all of China. Talk about girl power and fighting stereotypes like a true hero!

And how can we forget Merida from “Brave”? That fierce Scottish lass wielded a bow and arrow like nobody’s business, proving that princesses can write their own destinies and shoot down the notion that they need to be rescued. Since Stefan discovered Merida (thanks, Disney Plus!), he has called me and every female in his life a princess.

Now, I know there’s still much work to be done in the realm of gender equity and breaking stereotypes. But seeing my son admire Princess Peach’s bravery gives me hope. The stories we expose our children to can shape their worldview, and I’m hopeful that toxic masculinity will be a thing of the past and that the boys of today will grow up to view women as strong partners, not intimidated by their power and strength.

So, let’s raise a virtual toast to progress, my fellow adventurers! May we continue to celebrate stories that empower our children, smashing those old glass slippers and replacing them with sturdy boots fit for exploring the Mushroom Kingdom and beyond.

Until our next pixelated adventure…

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Sam Scribes

Hello! I'm Sam, a creator, communicator and lifelong learner. Passionate about storytelling via various medium. This is my world of words.