A little girl and boy sit on the floor with their gaze fixed on the television screen in front of them, watching magical images dance before their eyes and catchy songs flow through their ears. Even though they had seen it at least twenty times before, they still love watching The Disney Princess movies just as much as she did the first time they watched it. From 1937 to 2017, this has not changed. However, the evolution of the Disney Princess has. In order to analyze this, it is easiest to break the Disney Princess movies into three generations: The First Generation (1937-1959), The Second Generation (1989-1992), and the Third Generation (2009-2013).
The First Generation (1937-1959):
This period is the foundation of the ‘Princess’ genre as a whole. In this generation, Snow White (1937), Cinderella (1950), and Sleeping Beauty (1959) were created. This period sets up the franchise as a whole and establishes the importance of “True Love’s First Kiss” and “Happily Ever After”.
The Second Generation (1989-1992):
The Second Generation created a new type of princess, one with “more personality” and it also marked the introduction of the first non-Caucasian Princess in Disney history. The movies in this period are: Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), Pocahontas (1995), Mulan (1998)
Third Generation (2009-2013):
This is the most recent period of Disney Princesses, which is under the direction of Bob Iger. In this generation there is Princess and the Frog (2009), Tangled (2010), and Frozen (2013). There is a drastic change in the Princess compared to the past 72 years. Unlike the other periods, the Princesses are no longer married to their titles or stayed Princesses at the end. This period, being the most modern to date, is the best indicator of what the franchise will evolve to.