One aspect of the Disney Princess Role Model that sticks with me, and by that I am referring to the one that entered Disney's consciousness in the late 80s and beyond (I am ignorant of anything prior to that time for obvious reasons) that is worrying is its emphasis on the male/female relationships therein.
Ariel, the princess from The Little Mermaid, is really fascinated with the boy she saved from drowning. In other to get with him, (reacting to her father's anger that she's interested in humans at all) she defies her dad in every way by visiting a sea witch who basically uses her as a pawn to try and usurp the entire sea kingdom. Of course, she's a strong, independent person who doesn't need to listen to anyone at all until she falls afoul of her bad decisions (and because the Prince is a commitment-phobe, typical man) and here comes Dad to the rescue, literally sacrificing everything and having himself turned into an anthropomorphic piece of kelp to save her.
This is no way feminist - replace Prince with "bad guy from the other side of the tracks Dad refuses to let you date, you're only 13", the Faustian bargain with a sea witch with stealing the family car, and Ursula taking everything over with a tearful call from a police station and some insurance problems and the only thing different about this story is that Ariel wasn't wearing yoga pants nor was she drinking a pumpkin spice latte, like, okay?
Later on the princesses became rather butchy with a clear case of being manlier than thou. The rat from "Flushed Away" is a street smart take-no-prisoners badass chick who can't help but eyeroll at the pampered, tuxedo'd house rat she's saddled with (and falls in love with, because obviously that's the way things work). Mulan subs in for her dad and goes to war because reasons, and saves the entire empire (okay, so the historical Mulan actually really was a badass - but still.)
It's almost like Disney just cannot let a female character BE a strong independent female character. You have to throw in daddy issues and incompetent potential mates into the mix. I can totally understand why people wanted a change from the "wears dresses, needs rescuing" model, but is this really any better?