Princesses these days are stuck in an impossible position. They have to be strong, but soft. Sweet but take-no-crap. There are so many conflicting messages for what a ‘strong female character’ is supposed to be, and princesses get more than their share of it. Wear pink, but don’t wear pink, but be a leader, but be demure.
All of this soft-but-strong messaging has me feeling like princesses are more paper towels than people!
So, without further ado (who am I kidding; there’s going to be ado in here, I love ado) here are my top five princesses right now who find a way to balance out all of this and just generally be awesome:
Leia Organa – Star Wars
The original. The legend. The princess, the general, the best. Seeing her in that white dress holding her blaster was formative for me, to say the least. She was tough, but as we continued to see all the way up into the current Sequel Trilogy films, she has a huge heart as well as a great mind for strategy. (Massive shoutout to probably my favorite characterization of her, which is in Claudia Gray’s Bloodline.)
Buttercup – The Princess Bride
My favorite thing about Buttercup is that she isn’t perfect. She starts out being vain and clueless, and grows into someone who has a certainty of who she is and what she wants. She’s a character who is beautiful, but also grapples with what other people think she is because of that beauty. They underestimate her; she underestimates herself. But she learns, she grows, and in the end, she gets that happily-ever-after she deserves!
Rapunzel – Tangled
Rapunzel doesn’t need to pick up a sword to be a strong fighter. She’s fighting every step of the way, overcoming the conditioning her ‘mother’ figure has put on her. I have encountered more than a few adult women who watched Tangled with their kids and came to a whole new realization about their own relationships and fear and shame based behavior patterns because of this movie. But through it all, Rapunzel keeps her own dream alive. She fills the world with light and color, is determined, even when it scares her, and remains kind despite what has happened to her.
Moana – Moana
The journey Moana goes on is so wonderful to me, not just because it’s about a girl who defies the boundaries of her society to seek the horizon and help remind her people that they were voyagers once, but also because of how her compassion and insight into the rage and pain of her would-be nemesis helps heal the land itself. She learns that not everything is about combat or being more physically powerful. Some things are about seeing through to the heart of the matter, and finding the person hidden within.
Eowyn – The Lord of the Rings
Who HASN’T wanted to stab an eldritch being in the face and declare that you’re a girl and you just owned him??? That’s the whole reason I started playing D&D! But not only is Eowyn a great warrior in her own right, her story ends with peace and healing and renewal, not merely death in glorious battle. She knows it’s okay to change direction, and find peace and love, and there’s no shame in simply wanting to live a content and happy life. (Also she and Faramir totally taught their 17 daughters to swordfight and you can pry that theory from my cold, dead fingers.)
Pick up Driving Me Wild by Mia Carter today!
All my life, I’ve been perfectly average. Compared to the rest of my high-achieving, type-A family, it feels impossible to stand out. While I’d love to make my big artistic dreams happen, I’m kind of stuck, thanks to a bunch of lame things like “affordable rent” and “keeping the internet on.” Dreaming doesn’t pay the bills. Freelance design work and part-time rideshare driving does. And it’s nice, for the most part. Finding a passenger’s thumb drive usually means reporting, returning, yay-hurrah-good-job-me. Except this time.
This time, I put the thumb drive in my computer. Hey, I’m just trying to be helpful! Suddenly a chat window pops up and the owner of the drive is bribing me to fly halfway across the world. Today. Turns out he’s the super hot fare I haven’t been able to stop thinking about…who just so happens to be Logan Weiss—the crazy-hot 29-year-old billionaire known as “the most eligible bachelor in tech”. What the hell am I even doing?
Mia Carter lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and spends her days enjoying nature, travel, knitting up unraveled plot threads, and playing video games.