It's safe to say Disney has its princess movie formula down:
A prince looks for a bride. He discovers a beautiful damsel in distress. The pair somehow falls in love, and then the prince and his princess live happily ever after. The end.
But the badass, newly-independent Rapunzel is challenging this Disney princess cliché.
In the new TV movie "Tangled: Before Ever After," Rapunzel becomes the first Disney princess to reject a marriage proposal.
The Disney Channel premiered the groundbreaking "Tangled" sequel last Friday.
Although viewers know that Rapunzel and rejected bachelor, Eugene Fitzherbert, get married later, she turns down his initial proposal.
As her suitor talks about settling down and growing old inside the castle walls, Rapunzel's life flashes before her eyes.
"I see us raising our children here, and our children's children, and celebrating banquets of our own in this very hall for many, many, many, many, many years to come," Eugene tells her as he positions himself on one knee.
"Here?" Rapunzel bulks. "In this castle? Forever?"
Petrified of living an unfulfilled life, Rapunzel literally runs away from marriage.
Her father's reminder that "princesses need to be protected" keeps replaying in her head, and freaks her out.
But rather than applaud Rapunzel for taking time to figure out what she wants, viewers were upset that Rapunzel turned Eugene down.
Eugene's proposal may have been heartfelt and touching, but viewers are missing the point: Rapunzel doesn't "owe" anyone an engagement.
She's allowed to explore the world and create her own adventures before making the commitment to share her life with another person.
(And let's not forget, Rapunzel spent the first 18 years of her life locked up in a tower. The girl has a lot she still wants to discover).
Rapunzel later explains to Eugene that her rejection isn't personal. She's just not ready to get married yet.
And rather than have Eugene play the "pissed off rejected male" card, Disney actually has him apologize to Rapunzel for putting her on the spot.
"I don't quite understand why you said no, but I promise to do everything I can until I do," Eugene insists.
Eugene wasn't the only character who proved to be kind and understanding — Rapunzel's mother supported her decision, too.
After years of following sexist tropes, Disney is finally doing its part to break down gender barriers and challenge the norms.
The network recently aired a same-sex kiss in a children's cartoon, and is now showing a princess forgoing marriage so she can accomplish her goals.
Keep it up, Disney — the more the entertainment industry shows LGBTQ couples and strong women shamelessly living their lives, the earlier young people will internalize these "groundbreaking situations" as normal.