Disney Deconstruction: Is Moana Really the Anti-Princess?

Moana was a major hit when it hit the movies last November, and I whole-heartedly agree with the praise it’s gotten.  It’s a great movie, with great characters, but something kept on popping up surrounding Moana erked me a little, and got me thinking.  Articles kept on popping up about Moana being the anti Disney-Princess:  aka, the exact opposite of the ideals Disney has set forth with their other Princess franchises.  Is that exactly true though?  I don’t think Moana is an anti-Princess at all.  I think she’s more the culmination of every Disney Princess, forming one amazing heroine that in all honesty is probably my new favorite Princess (sorry Ariel).


Moana is  a resourceful, headstrong, stubborn young woman who goes after what she wants.  So, exactly like Jasmine.  She’s not afraid to fight, and get her hands dirty, a lot like Mulan, and she’s free spirited, and searching for adventure like Ariel:  Only instead of looking for love, she’s looking to save her island.  She has strong family values, and will do anything for her dreams like Tiana, She’s quirky, and a bit awkward like Rapunzel.  She’s kind, compassionate, and understanding like Belle.  And also like Belle, she doesn’t take crap from people.
So in short:  I don’t think Moana is the anti-Princess at all.  She celebrates everything wonderful about all Disney Princesses, while at the same time bringing a fresh, new take on the Princess definition we haven’t seen before.  All the different Princesses allowed Moana to be able to be formed in such a way, which shouldn’t be discounted.  She’s part of an amazing legacy, and I’m so happy she’s part of the Disney Princess family!  Though if you ask me, she’s more of a Disney Heroine, like Mulan.  But I get Disney grouped her into the “Princess” brand to be able to sell toys XD
What do you think, do you find Moana is more of an anti-Princess than I do?

4 thoughts on “Disney Deconstruction: Is Moana Really the Anti-Princess?

  1. I think it is great that modern Disney characters are getting more modern personalities, but essentially the stories haven’t changed from basic formula so they really aren’t breaking moulds so much as modifying them a little.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Definitely. I like the new Disney movies, but wish people would stop saying Disney is being revolutionary by making modernized protagonists when they really aren’t any different than the older counterparts.


  3. I haven’t seen Moana yet, but it’s impossible not to hear a lot of the hype. In reading that interview, it seems like she is considered an Anti-princess for a number of reasons that Disney has already explored with other films.

    The classic princesses had a large part or all of their story focused on finding a prince. That was their character motivation, and while we see a few variances like Jasmine wanting to save her father and Mulan wanting to save China, their stories are about getting married and spent a good deal of focus on who they will end up with at the end.

    Disney did something different in their latest movies: Brave, and Frozen, before their anti-princess Moana. Both movies definitely started with the idea of a princess getting married (because let’s face it, that’s what princesses do), but their stories were focused on family bonds much more than finding a prince. Merida doesn’t even choose one because she didn’t like her options, and proves herself more capable than they are to make a point. Even Tangled which came out a few years before was more about a girl being able to make her own choices, even if that choice was to end up with a dashing rogue.

    Really, I think Moana’s status comes down to her character design. She’s Polynesian instead of European, and is more naturally proportioned than the skinny little princesses of Disney fame. Pocahontas might have qualified, but her entire story (both in the movie and real life) was about getting involved with a white guy. To me, Merida fits the bill of everything that goes against traditional Disney princess traits, but no one considers her an anti-princess because she’s Irish. Maybe I’m being too harsh, because I really appreciate cultural diversity in media, but it seems like when you’re trying to break the mold it’s more important to look different than to actually be different.


    1. I’ve seen the logic that Brave is made by Pixar so technically Merida isn’t a Disney Princess (which is ridiculous when she’s all over the Disney parks) but when I was looking for that specific article, I ran across one mentioning Merida did everything Moana did first, so you’re not alone in your reasoning there! I still need to watch Brave, I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. I do wish we had a lot more diverse Princesses, but that is a rant for another post XD

      I don’t think you’re being too harsh, Disney definitely dropped the ball on making more diverse characters sooner, considering their only other outings were 3 other Princesses before they actually made an effort to throw diversity in there. Better late than never, I suppose.

      Liked by 1 person

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