Disney may be adapting its heroines to reflect the fact it’s 2017 and women aren’t completely helpless, but there are some things which we can still expect from its princesses.
They’re always pretty. Name one ‘plain’ Disney princess? Exactly.
They all have a way with animals and children, and they can all hold a tune beautifully – making them extremely annoying to do karaoke with.
A large number of them also favour one colour in particular – blue.
Or, to give it its specific Pantone name, sky blue.
Think about it.
Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine and Elsa (to name a few) – for large periods of the films they’re in, they sport a nearly identical shade of blue.
This is not just a coincidence.
While a villain’s diabolical nature is reflected with dark hues and wearing white is a mark of purity, sky blue is also working hard to communicate with the audience.
Leatrice Eiseman is the executive director of the Pantone Colour Institute, and she explained the strategy behind Disney dressing some of its most iconic heroines in blue.
It taps into our universal love and inclination towards the colour, she explained to Allure .
“It’s something to look forward to, to see that blue sky,” she says. “It’s dependable. It’s reliable. It might cloud up, but we know it’s there.”
The quality of dependability, and all of its connotations (strength, loyalty, consistency) go some way to explaining why, traditionally, the colour was typically associated with boys.
So Disney dressing its heroines in the same colour is “adding a bit of power to the character.
“It’s a subtle way of saying, ‘Yeah, but young women, young girls, can be empowered, too.'”
If you cast your mind back, it’s not just princesses who wear blue.
In nearly all popular depictions of Alice in Wonderland, Alice wears blue. As does Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, and certainly weren’t shy, retiring wallflowers.