So as I've mentioned before, my daughter loves princesses. It's just a factor of our lives at this point.
Before my kids go to sleep each night, we talk about what they will think about. My son thinks about Thomas. (That hasn't changed in the past two years). Sometimes I'll ask him if he wants to think about another engine; Harvey, Gordon, Rosie or Percy. Nope, he wants to think about Thomas. I'm fine with that - as long as he goes to sleep.
I would ask my daughter which princess she wanted to think about. Usually she has a list of princesses. Some of the princesses are the ones I grew up with - the ones that passively wait for their prince to rescue them.
The other night, she said she wasn't thinking about princesses, she was thinking about ballerinas. I asked her why. She said that princesses don't do much. For some of those princesses I grew up with, I agree!
PS. I know that there are now some princesses that actually do things - like Mulan, Fiona (from Shrek) or Giselle (from Enchanted). Some who are well-read, etc. I'm still waiting for an African princess (or African American).
But I'm happy to encourage a diversion to characters/women who do things.