As you probably know, Disney hasn’t always been the best when it comes to representing minorities. Most of the classic Disney Princesses are white, and the ones that aren’t appear in films that traffic in racial stereotypes. That said, in recent years, Disney has taken major steps forward with princesses like Tiana and Moana who come from historically underrepresented backgrounds. And just this week, Disney made up for its past mistakes yet again when it introduced fans to Cordelia, the first ever pro-choice Disney princess.
Way to go, Disney! After nearly a century of princesses like Snow White and Mulan who vocally opposed abortion throughout their respective films, this feels long overdue. For years, viewers have tacitly accepted scenes like the one in which Belle scolds a peasant woman who considers aborting her unwanted baby, or the one where a family of mice helps Cinderella protest outside a Planned Parenthood. But in 2017? Not a chance. That’s why Disney’s announcement that Cordelia will unwaveringly defend a woman’s right to choose is such a big deal.
Sure, there’s been some progress in the years since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Jasmine at least supported abortions in cases involving rape or threatening the life of the mother, as did two of the more recent princesses, Rapunzel and Elsa. In fact, many viewers thought Disney had come to terms with abortion once and for all when, roughly two-thirds of the way through The Little Mermaid, Ariel performed a late-term abortion on a basking shark. However, it is now widely agreed that whatever progress this scene represented was negated in the post-credits scene in which Ariel confesses her actions to a priest, who tells her that the only way she can atone for her sins is by killing the shark and mailing its carcass to the Heritage Foundation.
Not until now has there been a Disney princess unafraid to champion women’s causes in all cases. Cordelia comes out July 2018, and anticipation is high. Until then, all we can do is wait patiently and be happy that Disney has finally pulled itself into the 21st century. That said, perhaps we shouldn’t get too excited, as Cordelia’s best friend, a talking snow leopard named Eleanor, is rumored to be the first Disney sidekick in years to have supported the Vietnam War.