Disney Princesses + Opera Gloves

There’s been a disturbance in the Disney Princess force! Well, it’s really more of an interesting observation made by Buzzfeed in their article “One Small Detail About Cinderella, Belle, and Tiana That Will Blow Your Mind“. What’s the small detail that the big deal is all about? Which princesses wear opera gloves!Screen shot 2016-02-03 at 12.56.32 PM

I’ve already spent a whole lot of time breaking down Which Disney Princesses Are True Royalty, and how, and in how many ways. But I never noticed this connection before, so props to BuzzFeed for the discovery.  

There are currently – as of 2/16 – eleven princesses included in the official Disney Princess lineup:

  • Snow White
  • Cinderella
  • Aurora
  • Ariel
  • Belle
  • Jasmine
  • Pocahontas
  • Mulan
  • Tiana
  • Rapunzel
  • Merida

Of these ladies, there are only three who are born non-royal but marry into royal families – Cinderella, Belle, and Tiana. Interestingly, these are the same (and only) three who wear full length opera gloves. 
Screen shot 2016-02-03 at 12.56.16 PM

Regarding the other official princesses on the list – Snow White, Aurora, and Ariel are all born royals who also marry into royalty. Jasmine, Pocahontas, and Rapunzel are born royals who marry commoners. Mulan is neither born nor married into royalty, and Merida is born royal but doesn’t marry/fall in love with anyone. So far the opera gloves analysis is right on point!

Since I’m intrigued by all things Disney Princess, I went ahead and checked out all of the other unofficial, excluded, and non-princess Disney heroines. The same concept holds true for all of them – none wear opera gloves, and none are commoners that marry into royalty. The only exceptions that could be made are for Faline (Bambi) and Jane (Tarzan). Both of them end up with someone who is considered a prince of the animal kingdom. I’m sure Faline could pull off opera gloves but it would be a little odd considering none of the other animals in the movie wear clothing. Jane wears shorter gloves, but again, her circumstances are markedly different from that of the opera glove girls.

Disney is all about attention to detail, so it could easily be a planned symbolism that they carry through their films. Others have considered that gloves are often a sign of a character with something to hide, which could be said true of these three princesses. I think that’s a stretch, though, because other heroines with secrets don’t wear the same opera gloves (Aurora has to pretend to be a commoner, but no opera gloves. Elsa has to hide her powers – gloves but not opera gloves, etc.)

My favorite explanation comes courtesy of Jessica Maniaci, who commented on the original BuzzFeed article. Here’s her rundown:

It has nothing to do with royalty or not royalty it has to do with time period and culture…
Mulan=China, Jasmine=Arabian peninsula, and Pocahontas=North America pre westernization= wrong cultures and time periods.
Aurora=medieval and Snow White=reformation. =again wrong time periods
Above the elbow gloves didn’t make the fashion scene until the 1690’s
Belle-1700’s France=glove game strong
Cinderella, Ariel, Anna and Elsa 1800’s=glove game strong
Tiana-1920’s New Orleans=gloves were a popular accessory during that time
Also, as someone else noted, Belle, Cinderella, and Tiana had out and out “ball” scenes in their movies. Aurora, Snow White, Mulan, Jasmine, and Ariel did not (even if there was dancing). Opera gloves were most commonly worn at formal occasions such as balls.

I think “glove game strong” really sums it all up, don’t you?

Thoughts? Chime in with your comments!


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