My Top 5 Female Disney Characters

This is not me procrastinating, honest. I was just doing more research for the next post and realised there are some rather cool female Disney characters that don’t get shouted about all that often. And when I say “characters”, I actually mean it, as these ladies are more than just damsels in distress, if they are at all.

#5: Mulan

From: Mulan

For all her clumsiness with makeup and dresses, Mulan is utterly fearless in the face of war, even though she doesn’t realise it. The risk of death at the hands of the enemy is clearly not enough – there’s also the risk of her being discovered as a woman. You’d think she’d be in a constant state of terror, but she only really breaks down when abandoned in the middle of the mountains after she has been found out. (Mind you, being stranded with a dragon voiced by Eddie Murphy would test anyone’s resolve.) Not for long though, as it’s soon off to save the emperor, no questions asked, and then back to her family to carry on as normal. This girl is the epitome of an inadvertent badass.

#4: Megara (Meg)

From: Hercules

Despite being in danger an awful lot, Meg seems either non-plussed or vaguely irritated rather than a hysterical mess.  This could be because her soul is the property of Hades, and so technically she may not be able to die, but then again she has no qualms about teasing or back-talking said Lord of the Underworld. Due to ex-boyfriend issues she is a bit of a cynic, but this makes her more interesting and relatable, especially as she doesn’t let this jade her perception of love and friendship (in the end anyway), and would still risk her soul to save the one she loves. Ahh.

#3: Nala

From: The Lion King

Nala is a nod to tomboys everywhere. She can hold her own in a fight, and is not the least bit squeamish, even when it comes to exploring a graveyard (an elephant’s in her case). As an adult, she has a strong sense of right and wrong, and makes no odds about having to leave behind her family to seek help, and then returning to Pride Rock to storm it with vastly outnumbered help. It’s also her rather than Simba that takes the initiative in continuing the circle of life, in perhaps the raunchiest scene Disney could get away with in a children’s film.

#2: Princess Jasmine

From: Aladdin

It may be because she only has a tiger for a friend, but Princess Jasmine is fiery and determined and will not take crap from anyone – especially the arrogant suitors strutting through the palace gates or the creepy royal advisor, Jafar. She is arguably selfish though, in that she doesn’t really consider her family when trying to get what she wants. She is also relatively ruthless, running away from the palace despite being completely unprepared, and as a slave, throwing wine into the face of the most powerful sorceror in the world when he asks for her hand in marriage. Even when she has nothing left she will still try to fight for what she feels is right, and this would make her a very interesting monarch. Plus she has a pet tiger. Did I mention that?

#1: Kala

From: Tarzan

Most mother figures in Disney films are either victims, absolutely perfect, or dead. Kala is none of these. She wrestles with the same leopard who killed her own baby in order to rescue Tarzan, and spends the rest of the film justifying his place in the troop to the leader, Kerchak, and even to Tarzan himself when he asks why he is different. However, she is still flawed in that she doesn’t tell Tarzan what he is or where he comes from until she is absolutely forced to, and this is equally because she wants to believe he is the same as everyone else, and because if she admits he is a human, he will want to leave with his own kind and she will lose another son. You can’t exactly blame her after her track record with offspring, but this inkling of selfishness makes Kala much more realistic and believable in my opinion. Kudos to Glenn Close for doing an awesome job with her voice acting too.

So there you have it, my favourite female Disney character is so far removed from the traditional princess that she isn’t even human.

3 thoughts on “My Top 5 Female Disney Characters

  1. You’re right that Kala is flawed. In fact, no Disney character is ever free of flaws because they were made by imperfect people.

    Of course, I didn’t know that Kala was selfish. But if she truly was, I can forgive her for that because I like her kindness. I don’t think that she’s overly kind though. A first example is when she tried to keep Sabor from killing Tarzan. A second example is when she growled mercilessly at that leopard. A third example is when she told The Legend of Tarzan’s leading male mandrill, Zootho, off for antagonizing her adopted son.

    Anyway, I’m glad that you like Nala as I do. Not only is she my favorite species of cat. She’s also good at being a heroine. One example is when she tried to get Simba to take his kingdom back from Scar. Now that’s one of the traits I admire in her.

    Ad for Jasmine, I admire her ability to stick up for herself and not let others push her around like crazy. Plus, I’m amazed that she has a tiger for a pet. But then again, I don’t blame her for it since I like Rajah, which is Indian for “King” and “Prince.”

    Now, for my top 5 female characters of animated Disney movies and why they are that way:

    1. Cinderella

    I can relate to her due to my being tyrannized by one of my elders, except that that elder of mine is male and is closely related to me. I also like her for her friendliness, her trying to be free of her enemies’ clutches, and her standing up for herself.

    2. Belle

    I like her for the same reasons that I like Esmeralda. A few other reasons why I like her are these:

    A. her intelligence

    B. introversion

    C. her refusal to be the slave of a human bully

    D. She was treated like how nerds in the United States are treated by jocks and other bullies, whom I’m against due to my experience with them.

    3. Esmeralda

    I respect and like her for the same reasons why I really like Belle.

    4. Mulan

    A. She’s like the other gals who I mentioned in that she was mistreated for being who she is and forced into doing things that she didn’t want to do.

    B. I admire her intelligence and quick-thinking.

    C. Like with the other gals, I sympathize with her due to my inability to fit in with certain people.

    5. Nakoma

    When Disney’s Pocahontas rose to popularity, I never paid much attention to her most likely due to my being like Pocahontas herself. But in this day and age, I favor Nakoma over Pocahontas for certain reasons why I favor Bagheera over Baloo of Disney’s first Jungle Book movie and how I differ from my brother, who’s a few years younger than me. And these are those reasons:

    A. We function as comic foils, although I’m a straight man since I’m a real man.

    B. We more serious, sensible, and mature as well as less outgoing and fun-loving than our comic reliefs (or in my case funny man) counterparts.

    C. We try to be voices of reason.

    D. We don’t like clowning around a lot.

    E. We’re less adventurous.

    F. We get turned off by the antics of our opposites.

    Well, I guess that’s all I can come up with for now. I hope that I don’t turn you off with my post.

    • Hi again,

      Funnily enough, I find many Disney characters are flawless, mainly BECAUSE they are created by imperfect people – often the characters are a reflection of how we wish we were. For example, personally, I can’t think of anything flawed about Belle, Esmeralda, Mufasa, and various other Disney characters (but not all). This is especially true of Disney parents, especially the mothers, which is why I like that Kala has a slightly selfish side to her. It’s forgiveable of course, but it makes her more human (pun utterly intended).

      Yes, sadly we meet jerks in all walks of life, but we develop a skill to deal with them. I would argue that high school is the absolute worst place for it – you still meet idiots later on, but nowhere is this worse than in your teens, so if that’s where you are now, don’t worry, you won’t be dealing with people like that forever 😉 Have you seen the Simpsons episode where Homer goes to college? When he points out a “nerd” to a “jock” walking by, the “jock”‘s reaction is what 99% of people do once they’re out of their early-mid teens.

      Nakoma’s an interesting choice. When I first saw Pocahontas I saw her as the annoying do-gooding friend, but to be fair it’s what many best friends would do in that situation, and it must be exasperating to have a friend who can be so reckless all of the time! But that makes life more interesting.

      Thanks again for your input here!

  2. Pingback: Words #26-27: Aplomb & Longanimity | Post-Graduate

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