25 Disney characters that are actually good role models

8 of 26

7. Tiana (The Princess and the Frog)

The Princess and the Frog, released by Disney in 2009, was a groundbreaking movie in a number of ways. First and foremost, it featured Tiana, who would go on to become the first African-American Disney princess. However you might feel about Disney princesses in general or the seeming princess plague that touches nearly every young American girl, this is still a big deal.

There are other things to admire about Tiana herself, though. She refuses to be a passive damsel in distress, for one. Neither does she content herself with waiting for opportunity or vaguely yearning for adventure or love or something. Instead, she works hard to achieve her goals of becoming an acclaimed restaurateur by working two jobs as a waitress.

Now, one could raise a lot of questions about how, exactly, Tiana is going to achieve these goals. She is a black woman in early 20th century New Orleans, after all, and is likely to face a lot of resistance despite her hard work. Plus, she eventually achieves her culinary goals in part by becoming a frog and marrying a foreign prince.

Alas, however, Disney is rarely interested in exploring complex socioeconomic situations. They sure as hell don’t want to talk about the racism of the American South.

Still, there’s quite a good role model to be found in Tiana. She is indefatigable and ambitious. She is brave in the face of some really weird danger. Not a bad place to start when you’re looking for aspirational figures.