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.
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)
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.
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
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?
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.