I LOVE Disney movies and of course loved Barbies when I was growing up. I am all girl :); but as I look back, neither I have a different perspective.
Historically, Disney movies set women up for failure and unmet expectations. The old school Disney princess movies always seem to involve a woman being swept off her feet by a man. Cinderella, Belle, Snow White, Ariel. They all have a love interest and either get saved by that person or end up dancing off in the sunset with them (figuratively). That is NOT real life and we are setting little girls up to think that there will be a prince charming waiting for them, waiting to save them, waiting to be swept off their feet. We are setting little girls up to think they will need to be saved. WRONG. That is not realistic. Yes, some women want to be a 'princess', some men want to save someone, but that isn't the norm and let's not expect that.
I applaud Disney for Princess Tiana and Merida. Finally princesses that are different. Strong, driven, independent princesses. Yes Tiana ends up with Prince Naveen, but he had to work for that AND he was her partner, he walked along side her and helped her with her business. Love it! And Merida was a bad ass and had no interest in the opposite sex (even when her mom pushed her to a relationship which is real life for some women). I just want girls to know it is okay to be whoever you are.
Barbies are the same. Yes I loved them, but they are unrealistic. No one looks that way all the time. They are dolls so of course they permanently look that way, but I think we set girls up to think that is how they are supposed to look. It's not. Everyone doesn't want to be a size 0 with long perfect hair. I love my curves and I know I am not the only one. (They do have a President Barbie now though.)
I just want a world where kids grow up thinking they can be whatever they want, whether that is Merida, Belle or Tianna. I also want our little girls to grow up knowing that whether single or in a relationship, they are enough. I don't want them to feel pressure to get married in their early twenties. Just a thought.