Jump forward to 1973 and the classic Robin Hood. Now, sure this movie was based on a legend and animals played the parts, but that doesn’t change the fact that Maid Marion was the “Disney princess” of the movie. And she was a strong woman in this movie. She wanted to help Robin Hood, even if she couldn’t do everything.
She wasn’t really focused on though. But she did lead the way to the likes of Belle in Beauty and the Beast. If you’ve seen the After Ever After video series, you’ll know that there is a mention of Belle being persecuted as a witch. Considering the time period that the movie was supposed to be set in, this is certainly an interesting point but right now I want to focus on the strong, positive character.
Belle was a smart woman and cared more about education than the most handsome guy in her area. It was her dream to make something of herself. She put herself at risk for her father and remained with the Beast. Of course, she ended up falling in love with him but she cared more about the man than the looks, and that was a great focus for the movie.
Unfortunately, Disney seemed to back track with the likes of Princess Ariel in The Little Mermaid. Yes, it was based on a fairy tale already around, but the company could have made some changes so that Ariel wasn’t the typical helpless woman. I actually think Ursula proves to be the strongest woman in the whole movie!