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23 July 2009 @ 07:24 am
Disney Princess Ages As Researched And Conjectured  
Here we go:

Snow White (14ish): Originally designed to look like Shirley Temple who was very popular at the time (and 9 years old in 1937, too young to be in luv), Snow White is a young thing around 14 (7 in the Grimm fairytale). I think she looks older because her style is from the 1930's when some of our grandmothers were kids themselves ^_^;

Cinderella (~20's): No age given. But she's a dutiful, responsible sort who can prioritize the well-being of her household above her own needs like a good proto-mother, so she's probably a little older than her teenage years. And then the King himself wants to hear "the pitter-patter of little feet again," so we can assume Cinda's next priority is the baby-makin' which would be more appropriate if she was out of her adolescent years.

Sleeping Beauty (16): Quote Maleficent - "Listen well, all of you. The Princess shall indeed grow in grace and beauty, beloved by all who know her. But, before the sun sets on her 16th birthday, she shall prick her finger, on the spindle of a spinning wheel - AND DIE!"

Ariel (16): Quote Ariel - "I'm 16 years old! I'm not a child anymore!"

Belle (~18-20s, possibly 21): No age given. She's well-read but her primary material seems to be fairy tale-esque novels and Shakespearean plays, which are more escapist than educational (though the Shakespearean angle is arguable toward her intelligence, and only added in the "Human Again" sequence on the Platinum Edition DVD). She also desires for adventure in the "great wide somewhere" and to be more than the teen peasant bride of the town oaf and apex of masculinity, Gaston.

However, she does sacrifice her freedom to save her father, which shows selflessness or the prioritizing family over self (adolescents tend to be more ego-centric). But then she ventures into the Beast's forbidden West Wing when she thinks he's dangerous and ill-tempered, then runs away when he frightens her (breaking her promise) which always seemed illogical, incautious, and lacking in foresight to me (just asking for trouble, she was!).

To me Belle seems somewhere between Ariel (16) and Jasmine (18ish), but as the Beast is at the end of his 10-year curse (Quote the Prologue - "The rose she had offered was truly an enchanted rose, which would bloom until his 21st year.") one could assume Belle was about the same age to create a more egalitarian match.

[EDIT]:

Jasmine (15 going on 16, 18ish): Quote the Sultan - "The Law says you must be married to a Prince by your next birthday. And you've only got three more days!" According to princealia's work print of the film, the original line is "The Law says you must be married to a Prince by your sixteenth birthday." But then J. Katzenberg probably remembered the brew-ha-ha surrounding Ariel getting married at 16 and the teenage wedding precedent that implied so the number was replaced in the Sultan's line. (see comments for more on Jasmine's age)

Jasmine is a little less mature than Cinda but that may be because she's been overly-sheltered growing up as a Sultan's daughter. Though she is less impulsive as say, Ariel, and she is cunning enough to see through Prince Ali's lies when her father can't. So between Ariel and Cinderella - 18's a good bet. Additionally, Jasmine and Aladdin do seem physically more... developed... than the Disney couples that came before them (or after). J. Katz is to blame again for wanting the princesses to look like bombshell babes and then he goes off and makes Shrek like he doesn't even care about physical beauty. Nice. (Thanks again to princealia!)
 
 
Current Mood: crankyIDK if I'm legal, ask Disney!
 
 
 
Criminally Inclined®: Beautifulprincealia on July 23rd, 2009 12:11 pm (UTC)
Originally, Jasmine was 15 going on 16 I know that I'm naiiiiiiive /Sound of Music, but they took out the line "Jasmine, the law says you must be married by your sixteeth birthday" and changed it to not send the message of getting married as a teenager. Let's just completely forget time periods and cultures and all that :P

I like keeping her that young, though. One, because I like seeing her grow from the height of the evil teenager phase to entering the young adult world, and two, since there's five years in the series between the first movie and when she gets married, that makes her 21 and that's such a nice benchmark number xD

Edited at 2009-07-23 12:12 pm (UTC)
melissa: jasminearielstreasures on July 23rd, 2009 12:33 pm (UTC)
I remember the Sultan saying this. :)
(no subject) - princealia on July 23rd, 2009 12:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mdmbrightside on July 23rd, 2009 01:15 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - princealia on July 23rd, 2009 01:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mdmbrightside on July 23rd, 2009 02:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - princealia on July 23rd, 2009 02:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - arielstreasures on July 23rd, 2009 04:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - arielstreasures on July 23rd, 2009 01:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - princealia on July 23rd, 2009 01:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - livvylove on July 23rd, 2009 01:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - princealia on July 23rd, 2009 01:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - livvylove on July 23rd, 2009 02:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - princealia on July 23rd, 2009 02:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - livvylove on July 23rd, 2009 02:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - princealia on July 23rd, 2009 02:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
C'mon! Good kitty, take off and go! - mdmbrightside on July 23rd, 2009 02:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: C'mon! Good kitty, take off and go! - princealia on July 23rd, 2009 03:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: C'mon! Good kitty, take off and go! - arielstreasures on July 23rd, 2009 04:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mdmbrightside on July 23rd, 2009 02:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - livvylove on July 23rd, 2009 02:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mdmbrightside on July 23rd, 2009 02:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
Abigail: Bellamdmbrightside on July 23rd, 2009 01:51 pm (UTC)
Ariel's 16th Birthday/Coming Out Party/Debut - Now there's a thought! I'd never considered that before but it's totally plausible ^_^

Sweet 16 is quite the memorable age - you've got 80% or more of your adult body but you're still transitioning into your adult self from your childhood and teenage experiences. It's a very fertile age to write about and seems to be Disney's favorite age for heroines (Aurora, Ariel, & now Jasmine as princealia pointed out above).

My conjecture really comes out of considering how some of these heroines look or act older than their counterparts, so it's really a comparison. Teenagers aren't strictly selfish, but more self-absorbed (none of this sounds very flattering -_-;) because of their changing biology and understanding of the world in how it relates to them personally. It's a great age because it's full of growth, even if that growth is full of angst.

Which is also why Snow White seems the youngest to me despite being the most selfless. She's the most innocent character because that childlike, optimistic outlook was crazy-popular in the late 1930's (around the end of the Great Depression) and the Disney Co. still wasn't entirely sure Snow White was going to be a success so they took a lot of cues from what was popular at the time (Shirley Temple and cartoon gags).

Snow White's more of a child actress portraying a child than a real child or teenager.
Snow White's manner and actions are more of the perfected child (a weird holdover from the Victorian era) who is always pleasant, helpful, and never angry or depressed. More of a parent's (or dwarf's) dream than a real person.

But she also thinks that if the dwarfs turn her out the Queen will find her ("If you send me away she'll kill me!") but if she stays the Queen won't find her ("But she doesn't know where I am!"). ...What?! Hasn't she ever heard a moving target's harder to kill? It's a child's sense of logic, seeking to be protected over protecting oneself that makes me think Snow White is the youngest of the Princess set.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - mdmbrightside on July 24th, 2009 04:30 am (UTC) (Expand)
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Manda the manatee: Disney - Belle smilethat_was_cheesy on July 23rd, 2009 12:49 pm (UTC)
I think Mulan is 17, according to Wikipedia. =D
little girl things: big bambilgthings on July 23rd, 2009 02:33 pm (UTC)
when I first saw that movie I thought she was 12 and found the whole "you must marry now!" thing especially offputting :) I guess because she's not all buxom and stuff.
Beckyalicornmoon on July 23rd, 2009 02:48 pm (UTC)
But then she ventures into the Beast's forbidden West Wing when she thinks he's dangerous and ill-tempered, then runs away when he frightens her (breaking her promise) which always seemed illogical, incautious, and lacking in foresight to me (just asking for trouble, she was!).

I think she still could have been 20-21. After all, she is naturally curious and besides that, how long would you stay in a house, promise or not, if you thought he would most likely beat you? ( not uncommon at that time) :\
Abigail: Bellamdmbrightside on July 23rd, 2009 05:36 pm (UTC)
After all, she is naturally curious and besides that, how long would you stay in a house, promise or not, if you thought he would most likely beat you? ( not uncommon at that time) :\

A very interesting point. *scratches chin in contemplation* Who can really tell what Belle was thinking when she made her deal with the Beast? Did she really mean she was giving him her word while planning to run away anyway (or try to dispatch the monster plaguing her family)?

I guess I've always considered Belle's motivations to be very pure or simple - if she says she's going to do something, she's probably going to do it that way (a la when she gives her word to the Beast). So now that it's possible Belle was going to doublecross the Beast later in some capacity really creates a different perspective on her character. It also makes her seem a good bit more cunning than she thus-far has proven herself to be.

Though her curiosity toward the Forbidden West Wing still seems really ill-advised. What did she think he could be hiding up there - Candy? Take a look around, hun, you're in a castle full of monstrous sculptures and a beast who's so far tried to kill your father through exposure and imprisoned you. I just don't see how she came to the conclusion that he was hiding a 'good' secret. Stick with the charming candlestick and clock, so far they've been much better for you.
(no subject) - alicornmoon on July 23rd, 2009 06:14 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mdmbrightside on July 24th, 2009 04:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - alicornmoon on July 24th, 2009 08:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
forsakenmermaid on July 23rd, 2009 04:51 pm (UTC)
I always just kind of assumed they were all supposed to be 16 since that's the "magical" princess age.
melissa: snow white: prayerarielstreasures on July 23rd, 2009 05:07 pm (UTC)
snow white's age?
According to this book, Snow White was supposed to be around 14 years old.

I have some notes I took from the book (got it from the library):

-Snow White was the Janet Gaynor type - 14 years old
-Disney hired Grim Natwick (who had drawn Betty Booop)
-early model drawings: large, widely spaced eyes, pursed lips and a little chin
-experimented with red and blonde hair
-Snow white was drawn as between pre-teen age and fourteen-years old -- easier to animate and she had to look old enough to fall in love with the prince


I do like to think of them all as sixteen, though. :)
Abigail: Bellamdmbrightside on July 23rd, 2009 05:23 pm (UTC)
Re: Snow White's Age?
Hurray for canon confirmation! Thank you! :D (I also take notes from library books >_>)

I think Disney markets them all to look about the same age - it might be just to homogenize their different designs - plus it's also then easier to imagine a Babysitters Club like vibe between them ^_^

-experimented with red and blonde hair

...Wouldn't that counteract "the hair black as ebony" stipulation? Eh, then again it was probably in the early design stage ^_^
Re: Snow White's Age? - arielstreasures on July 23rd, 2009 05:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Snow White's Age? - mdmbrightside on July 23rd, 2009 06:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Snow White's Age? - arielstreasures on July 23rd, 2009 06:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Snow White's Age? - mdmbrightside on July 24th, 2009 04:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
wounded_melody on July 23rd, 2009 08:44 pm (UTC)
*My mom was 2 years old in '35 ^^;;;
*Aurora was also supossed to have a baby ASAP according to Phillip's father; a bit disturbing, but it was Medieval times, so...
*For Ariel, they could have said something like 1 mermaid year = 20 human years, so while she was technically 16 she was much, much older
*In BatB, I know there was something about the timeline with the Prince's curse that bothered me, like the time and his age or something didn't work out correctly, but now I can't remember ><;
*And since I mentioned old(er) parents, why are most of the parents of the Princesses so much older? At least they look it, like the Sultan and Belle's father...
melissa: aurore: mom&princessarielstreasures on July 23rd, 2009 09:05 pm (UTC)
Aurora's mom looks so young, in contrast. I guess it was because Belle's father had to look eccentric....he was made to look older.

I have an icon made by captain_sarah which is really cool: :D

Photobucket
(no subject) - reiben55 on July 23rd, 2009 10:12 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - reiben55 on July 23rd, 2009 10:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - wounded_melody on July 24th, 2009 05:28 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - k00kaburra on October 12th, 2011 11:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Ravenreiben55 on July 23rd, 2009 10:19 pm (UTC)
I'm loving this topic, cause I think about this and discuss it with various Disney-knowledgeable friends often. All of these ages are ones that I've assumed.

The timeline of the BatB curse always bothered me. The rose finished blooming at his 21st year... that means it wilted then, right? And, according to Lumiere, "10 years we've been rusting..." So, did the enchantress that bestowed the curse on the castle really find that immense an amount of fault in the selfish ways of an 11 year old? lol
river_naiad: myprinceiscuterriver_naiad on July 24th, 2009 01:25 am (UTC)
After reading all the debate here on the princess' ages I began to wonder what the actresses' ages were when their movies came out.
Here's what I found:

Adriana Caselotti (Snow White) - 21
Ilene Woods (Cinderella) - 21
Mary Costa (Sleeping Beauty) - 29
Jodi Benson (Ariel) - 28
Paige O’Hara (Belle) - 35
Linda Larkin (Jasmine) - 22
Lea Salonga (Jasmine's singing voice) - 21

This doesn't really have anything to do with how old their animated character's are, but I found it interesting that none of them were actual teens playing "teen" princesses. (I have read that Adriana Caselotti was 18 when Walt Disney chose her to play Snow White; still she wasn't that age when the movie came out.)
Another thing I've been wondering:
The actresses' who play these girls in the Disney Parks aren't ever teens, right?
fantasymphony on July 24th, 2009 02:45 am (UTC)
The actresses who are friends with the characters in the parks can be in their teens, absolutely. Depending on whether the young woman has what it takes to hang out with a specific character doesn't matter, as long as they can legally work and are over 16.
(no subject) - mdmbrightside on July 24th, 2009 06:53 am (UTC) (Expand)
fantasymphony on July 24th, 2009 02:44 am (UTC)
Cinderella: Much younger. Because she is dutiful and responsible doesn't suggest much. She's living a very different era, and grows up in a very different way.

The other ones seem accurate! :)
Abigail: Bellamdmbrightside on July 24th, 2009 06:50 am (UTC)
Thanks for the vote of confidence :D

Cinderella's ability to empathize with her neglectful and arrogant step family was always remarkable to me. She focused solely on the 'good points' of those around her ("Even Lucifer has his good points, too"), remaining optimistic in the face of oppressive adversity. She didn't whine about her situation but thought by doing the best she could, even if she wasn't entirely appreciated for it, she would be or become happy.

Her performance would feel unrealistic if she didn't also exhibit little moments of snark ("Maybe I should interrupt the, uh, 'music lesson' ") or anger ("Oh! Oh, Lucifer! You mean old thing! I'm just going to have to teach you a lesson!"). Those little touches keep her from being an idealized, flawless character like Snow White (more or less).

I suppose it's Cinderella's acceptance of her lot in life that makes her seem more mature. She does her work without complaint (which teenagers aren't stereotypically very good at) and lives with a level of emotional maturity (and range!) that aren't exhibited until the heroines in the Disney Renaissance.

It's possible she's a 17th-century 16-year-old as idealized in the 1950's but I feel that would overlook her emotional intelligence or make her seem precocious and less relatable, undermining a Disney tradition of humble, ordinary beginnings (you should be talented but not too talented >_>).

Also, I really feel I can't bring out cultural evidence based on eras because neither history nor geography is a strong presence in Disney films to decide upon a location or time period without further discussion (read: later post :D). They certainly lived once upon a time when expectations were different for girls, but human nature is more constant than variable. Though I really am applying current theories of psychology to ancient characters - then again, so did Disney :P

It would be arguable that girls in olden times could and did mature earlier at 16, which allowed them the abilities and behaviors of current 18 or 20 year olds. It would also, however, be difficult to prove on historical evidence because of the differences in lifestyle and intelligence between people now and people back when. It's apples and quinces, really.

tl:dr - It's all just my opinion ^_^ My crazy, crazy opinion.
(no subject) - fantasymphony on July 24th, 2009 08:11 am (UTC) (Expand)