People tend to get caught up in preconceived notions of a character based on their appearance or other surface level factors.
A prime example of this would be Snow White, people see her soft petite features, hear her high pitched voice and listen to her sing about a finding love, and they automatically assume she’s a docile weak passive shy individual. While Snow White is definitely a bit calmer and more carefree, she’s far from the most passive princess. After surviving a deadly encounter and knowing her life is still in danger, she gets picks her herself up rather quickly. Once she finds the dwarfs’ cottage, instead of begging and pleading for their charity or using her “wicked wilds” as Grumpy puts it to charm them, she devises a plan to earn her keep through cooking and cleaning in exchange for their protection. I will say that if Snow White were a man, she would probably earn her keep by helping out in the mine or fixing something broken, but still, using her housewife-y skills, which should really be universal skills, to her advantage is pretty commendable. She’s not a pushover, she’s a stern firm but fair leader to her animal friends and the dwarfs, and she has quite a bit of sass, especially towards Grumpy.
A more valid critique of Snow White is that her cheerfulness and optimism is exaggerated, which is fine because it’s a fairytale and things can be a little exaggerated, but there is still some realism and relatability to her character. She’s innocent to the point of being gullible in that her caring side can sometimes cloud her judgement and make her oblivious to danger, like when the Queen disguised as an old lady approaches the cottage and she ignores the animals’ warnings, scolding them. Speaking of scolding, her motherly nature can delve into the realm of bossy. She enters the dwarfs’ home, she gives them orders and essentially runs their household when she is the one who needs their shelter, many people can relate to overstepping their boundaries and being controlling. And while Snow White is certainly a romantic and a dreamer, she hardly spends majority of her journey fantasizing about a love or a prince, instead she spends her time being productive, having fun and encouraging others around her to do the same.
Oversimplifying an already relatively simple character like Snow White signals a rather presumptuous notion about the princesses, and Disney is partially to blame for it. The marketing campaign that focuses on dreams, romance and sparkling dresses aren’t bad but they distract from the unique qualities each princess possesses and Snow White is no different. She is sugary sweet and demure but there is a spicy spunk and outspoken charm to her and she’s a lot more independent and in control than one may think.