Children have grown up with Disney princesses for decades, and many kids—especially young girls—see these characters as role models. And it make sense: They’re often intelligent, compassionate, curious, and brave. But things got a little weird when we realized that a lot of these ladies—many of whom are getting ready for marriage—are teenagers. A recent The Mary Sue article even pointed out that Princess Jasmine from Aladdin is only 15 years old.
In fact, a key part of the movie revolves around the fact that she must marry a prince before her next birthday, which happens to be three days away…and she is not on board. As if that wasn’t disturbing enough, The Mary Sue also noted that Jasmine is a highly sexualized character, with Jafar (a middle-aged man) even commanding the genie to make her fall in love with him (um, problematic much?).
HuffPost has previously pointed out that none of the official princesses are older than 19, even though many of them get married or engaged by the end of their respective movies. The youngest princesses are Snow White (14), Jasmine (15), Ariel (16), Aurora (16), Mulan (16), and Merida (16). Even though Ariel famously insists that she’s “not a child anymore,” realistically, she is—as are most of the official Disney heroines.
Since the live-action Aladdin won’t be here for a few more months (it premieres May 24th), we still don’t know if Jasmine will be a more marriage-appropriate age this time around. However, with 25-year-old actress Naomi Scott cast as the princess, we know that she’ll at least look older. In December, Scott told Entertainment Weekly that her character’s goal is “really to protect her people, to do right by them,” and hopefully that means the marriage plot won’t be the only focus of the upcoming adaptation.