Disney heroines are created as role models and are portrayed this way, they are especially influential for young girls. These are my three favourite Disney heroines.
Who couldn’t choose Mulan? Mulan saves an entire nation, she goes against gender discrimination and joins the Chinese army pretending to be a man so she can fight in her father’s place. She struggles at the army ‘boot camp’ especially with physical pursuits, she is even told to quit and go home, which would have brought great dishonour to her family. Instead she bounces back stronger, fighting back, she even becomes better than the men there. Once Li Shang discovers she is a woman, after a nasty wound, he banishes her from the army, only sparing her life because she saved his. Mulan is stabbed in the mountains and is left with no supplies, instead of waiting to die she gets up keeps going. She doesn’t go home, she continues to fight for China, eventually due to her persistence General Li Shang accepts her help regardless of her gender. Mulan was never concerned about looking for love like her family was, she is a free spirit. The story of Mulan is one of the first in Chinese literature which tackles gender equality, in the end it is her femininity that helps her to save the Chinese Empire. Mulan teaches young girls to always speak your mind, keep trying and regardless of gender inequality do what is right.
“A single grain of rice can tip the scale, one person may be the difference between victory and defeat”
Top 5 Reasons Mulan is: Number One
- She is a feminist
- Always speaks her mind
- Her perseverance
Belle is one of the only princesses that teaches girls it is okay to be clever even when you people tell you it isn’t. Belle was a commoner and was avoided due to what people believed about her father, she unconditionally defends him and does everything in her power to save him. I identify with Belle a lot, especially in her love for books. Belle longs for more, for adventures outside her provincial town, she doesn’t want to marry and have six of Gaston’s sons, she knows her own mind and refuses to be mistreated, demeaned and controlled. When Gaston proposes she expertly gets him out of her house, she doesn’t care what everyone thinks of her only what she thinks of herself, this also shows young boys how to treat women too, as equals not inferiors. When her father Maurice, disappears Belle is the only one to go looking for him, she sacrifices her young life for that of Maurice’s old life, she shows a great deal of selflessness and courage, this gives many young girls something to strive for. Although Belle’s name means Beauty she gives little regard to her own or anyone elses appearance, only seeing their heart. During puberty a girl’s confidence plummets, Belle teaches us to not care about such trivial things like that, physical beauty wears away but the beauty in the mind does not. Belle gives hope, she doesn’t fit into the role her town wants her to play, her open-mindedness gives her hope and the courage to be who she is and not who she is supposed to be.
“People think I’m odd. So I know how it feels to be different and I know how lonely that can be.”
Top 5 Reasons Belle is: Number Two
- Open minded
Tiana is the only African-American princess, she is the only one to have a job and is really the only one to have dreams. She is a hard worker and doesn’t hear the word ‘no’ every time she does she fights harder to make it a yes, she is laughed at for her dreams and the only person who truly believed in her from beginning to end were her mother and father, Tiana has lived her life being told she is not good enough yet remains optimistic and determined. She has always followed her dreams, working double shifts to scrape every penny she can so she can afford her restaurant. In addition it is her fierce independence that also makes her such a role model, she never wanted a prince and did not immediately fall for the prince because he was just that, when she does fall for Naveen it is for him, she accepts everything about him, warts and all. Naveen and Tiana decided to stay frogs just so they can be together, this decision is made and subsequently shows the equality between the pair, Tiana is bold, assertive and wise, something all girls should look to be.
“The only way you can get what you want in this world is through hard work.”
Top 5 Reasons Tiana is: Number Three
- Faith in herself
- Desire to prove everyone wrong
- Optimism and kindness
Young girls watch a lot of Disney, these princesses show that women can be brave, strong and clever also. I plan to follow this post up with a Disney (non princess) Heroines top three.