Hi. This is my first article for this club and I thought it would be logical to make it about my favourite Princesses and express my feelings about them. I have 8 favourite Disney girls, not all of them are actual Princess, but I feel the need to share my love for them here. English is not my first language and I apologize for any mistakes.
All the pictures and screen caps taken from various fanpop spots.
Number 8: Belle
I know a lot of people consider Belle to be the best Disney Princess and have her as number one. I appreciate that, however, for me, as much as I love her, she didn't make it higher than my last place. And I'll try to explain why. Belle is a girl who is misunderstood because of her open mind and desire for something more than the quite village life she lives can offer her. She also loves to read and educate herself which makes her even more different from her neighbours. She wants to break away so bad - sadly, she doesn't do much about it, not untill the circumstances put her in extreme situation where she decides to stay with Beast in order to save her father from imprisonment. So, while I give her a credit for her selflessness and bravery, I also don't think she would have ever acted on her own in order to find the adventure she dreamt of or in order to have something more than she already had, as much as she wished for it. She was pushed into action by circumstances. Another thing is her being known as smart. No, I don't even doubt it. She is smarter than most people in her village but her reading books doesn't exactly turn her into the smartest person in the world, especially taking that she reads an equivalent of Twilight, books about love and cheesy stories about lucky girls who find their one and only - not to mention re-reading this stuff for more than 2 times. So while I give her a credit for her being so determined to be self educated and open minded I also don't share the common POV that Belle is the smartest out of all the Disney heroines. However, she also has plenty of great qualities such as not judging people by how they look like and always giving them a chance, being able to see deeper than the surface and recognizing who, in Frollo's from HoND words, is the monster and who is the man.
Number 7: Megara
Megara has such a deep and heartbreaking story of her life: she gave her heart to a wrong man and he broke it by betraying her after she sacrificed everything for him. After that she sworn off love and not that anyone can blame her after what she went through. Meg has to work for the world's greatest evil without any perspective to see her freedom again, ever. At some point she develops a newfound interest and a brand new feeling towards a guy, despite her desperate tries to never let heself fall in love again because love brings misery and heartbreaks, and that guy also happens to be the one her master wants to kill. Meg has to work against the first person who made her feel something after so much time and eventually she decides to open up and stop fighting this feeling - which ironically results in her sacrificing herself again for love. Was that a stupid and crazy thing to do? Maybe. But people do crazy things when they are in love, don't they? And the main difference was the person she was in love with this time, it was not a blind idealized love, Meg was sure and could rely on Hercules, she worked through her inner conflicts, brought down her walls and got a chance to start all over because of her strength and willingess to stand up and try again as many times as needed.
Number 6: Cinderella
Cinderella is a daydreamer (and this aspect of her personality helps me to relate to her more than I can to any other Disney heroine even though I find all of them relatable in some way), she has nothing by default and lives with her abusive family that treats her horribly, uses her and emotionally pressures her, not allowing her to live her own life, she lives in a constant fear that they throw her out of the house if she doesn't work for them 24/7 and work hard. Her life is awful and yet where most people turn into angry, bitter, avenging persons under similar circumstances she still finds the strength to meet each new day with a smile on her face, to be caring and kind, to love animals and to dream. It requires such a phenomenal emotional strength. Cinderella has to watch her dreams falling apart and coming true again on more than one occasion. Unlike other Disney girls who usually have to go through some major obstacles and then gain their happiness, which is their reward in the end, Cinderella actually finds and loses her dream more than once - first when she is so excited to go to the ball and tries to finish all the work her stepmother told her to do (in order to prevent her going to the ball in the first place), then realizing she will never be able to finish it all and dedicate time to prepair for the ball, etc when her little friends end up helping her and giving her hope. She is so happy, she is dressing up in her new gorgeous dress, her dream of attending the ball - possibly the first significant event in her life, after years of not going out anywhere - is about to come true when her sisters and stepmother ruin this dream, and as she believes, it is ruined forever. She will never have a chance like that. And even if she does, she knows they will destroy it again. Then when Cinderella's dream finally comes true with the help of the magic fairy, she is warned about the fact that when it's midnight, all the magic will be gone and her life will be the same again, but she accepts it with grace and joy because she wasn't even hoping for more. At the ball she meets someone she really likes and feels something for the first time in her life - and then she has to leave that person with a perspective of never seeing him again. One day she found and lost her dream more than once and yet she still kept holding on to it and never gave up. Her stepmother does everything to prevent the Prince finding Cinderella and reuniting with her, she locks her up, yet Cinderella still doesn't give up and takes action in her own hands and finally has her dream coming true thanks to her loyal friends (that she had thanks to her kind and caring heart) and her strong spirit.
Number 5: Rapunzel
I think in fandom she either gets a passionate hate or an over the top love. Well, I think I will be in minority when I say that I adore her, but she is not among my top favourites. Rapunzel is an extremely brave girl and I think a lot of people understimate her bravery: yes, maybe she didn't go to war like Mulan or sell her voice to sea witch like Ariel, but for her whole
life (18 years) she was kept away from people, living in a tower and believing it is normal
. She didn't know any other way to live and her supposed "mother" made it all look like she cares about her safety when the truth was that Gothel not only cared about herself first and foremost, but also used Rapunzel for her own selfish purposes. Rapunzel lived the way she was tought to live, not interacting with people and not having friends, other than Pascal who cannot talk. She doesn't know other ways of living because she was cut off normal life against her will in early childhood. And yet somehow, due to the fact that her heart has a strong desire to "see the light" she decides to follow her heart and go against the only thing she is supposed to and tought to do - staying in a tower like Gothel told her to because "mother knows best". Raounzel doesn't even know the world outside of the tower and yet she still takes a risk because she wants her dream to come true even if it means using a wanted theif to help her. She makes an incredible development throughout the movie: from a girl who is deadly afraid of disappointing her "mother" because of running away to a person who starts fighting for her freedom and independence against a woman who raised her with the idea that she is not supposed to be independent and free. "Mother knows best" stops working for her. Rapunzel doesn't have any idea
about being the missing princess and yet she still wants to explore the real life with all the scary and frightening and dangerous aspects of it even if it means no support from the side of the only person who - as she believes - cares about her, Gothel. She develops a bond with Flynn/Eugene by being able to listen to him and understand him where other people would just judge and turn away after getting what they want from him. Rapunzel builds her own new dream and eventually gets what she wants, because she is willing to fight for it.
Number 4: Esmeralda
I know she is not a Princess (neither is Meg) but she will always be, in my opinion, one of the most iconic Disney heroines. Other girls, as much as amazing they can be, embody some rather overused cliches, however, when it comes to Esmeralda, she is not even close to being a cliche. She is 100 percents unique. She is free spirited, but not in a reckless and irresponsible sort of way, not at all. She just knows how to stand on her own and doesn't take crap from anyone. She can stand up for herself. She is deeply attached to her people and fights against cruelty and injustice whenever she can even if it means rebelling against the most psychotic and powerful man in Paris. I think one of the best ways to describe her personality was the "God help the Outcasts" song. Other peope in church were just as desperate, sad, tired as her. Some of them asked for wealth, some of them asked for glory. "I ask for nothing
. I can get by. But I know so many less lucky than I" - even hiding from injustice in a place where she basically became a prisoner, not being able to even go outside out of the fear of being jailed/tortured/executed, she still doesn't ask anything for herself, she thinks about people that are less lucky than her. Is she flawless and selfless completely? No, not at all. Esmeralda has her wishes and goals. She wants to get out of there since she cannot stay in "cage" because of her free spirit, she doesn't jump in Phoebus' arms just because he helped her once and twice, she wants other people to live and let live and that is what she fights for. She inspires Quasimodo to change his views and his entire life, he sees her free spirit and her strength/bravery and decides that it is time for him to be brave too. Esmeralda has so much love to give to the others and even risks her life to help the others more times than I can count (like when she helped Quasi or helped Phoebus at risk of being caught and killed) and at the same time she stays a very independent strong person who loves herself and respects herself. I think it is a very important massege.
Number 3: Pocahonstas
And yes, I am going to talk about the sequel here, so be prepaired... Pocahonstas goes further than any other Princess: while being a loyal daugher of her family land she manages to make significant changes to things that for many years couldn't be resolved between her people and white men. Things that promised a neverending war between two cultures and it seemed to be impossible to prevent it. In the first movie Pocahontas shows the destructive influence of war to both sides and encourages others to at least start thinking that differences not always should make us enemies and that everyone is allowed to have their place in life irrespective of where you come from. That instead of fighting people should get to know each other, learn from each other and respect each other's space. Pocahontas asks advices from spirits and follows them, which helps her to bring peace between two sides. And then there comes the second movie, the sequel, and as unpopular this opinion can be, I think Pocahontas' journey wouldn't have been finished and complete without it, more than that, I think two movies are almost like the halves of the same novel, they are meant to tell us the story of this brave young woman and this story overall is so impressive. In the sequel Pocahontas learns that only spirit within can guide you, that to make changes she also has to take actions, she learns to cope with loss and still manages to move on (staring "a new life on her own" like she sings in her beautiful song "Where do I go from here?") and keeps protecting her people and trying to make a peace, that is why she agrees to travel to the New World. This time she is the one to face a completely new culture that scares her a lot and yet she manages to not lose herself in the world so different from hers and find a common ground with it's people. She finds balance both around and inside her. As for the Smith/Poca/Rolfe triangle from hell, trust me, I couldn't care less who she ends up with, because a) Pocahontas can be with whatever man, woman or object she wants, she is still awesome b) both Smith and Rolfe played a significant part in her life and so did she in theirs. Both guys learnt something from her and she learnt something from them and I feel like either guy fits into her story at different periodes of it c) you don't always end up with your first love. It is unrealistic and it was nice to see at least ONE Disney movie addressing it.
Number 2: Ariel
Ariel will always be my girl and nothing ever changes it. She is so completely different from all the other Disney Princesses and there are so many reasons why I will always love her more than most of them. First and foremost, one of the most unique and amazing things about her is that she does not wait
till her chance comes, she takes the chance herself, more than once. She is not forced into action by circumstances, she is always
in action, she is always in a process of achieving something. Ariel explores a world so different from hers while other mermaids including her own father not only judge humans wrongly without even putting any effort into getting to know them, but also don't want to see Ariel's side of things and realize that maybe if they were not so narrow minded and prejudiced they would see a whole new side of life, new world, new beings. And despite not getting the approval of majority, Ariel still rebels against prejudiced standards and explores a different world and a different culture, sometimes at risk of her own life, even though it would have been much safer to stay away and be just as dellusional and prejudiced as everyone else, not trying to make a change. Yet Ariel wants to know, she doesn't just pretend that humans are evil just because thinking so is a safer option, she takes risk and tries to get to know them and their world. I like how first we are introduced to her desire to "explore the shore up above" and to be "part of that world" and only then we are introduced to her love interest that so ironically happens to be a part of the world she desperatelly wants to belong to. It is such a significant thing that the words in her song change from "part of that world" to "part of YOUR world", which represents how not so much changed about her dream, she still is one of the "bright young women sick of sweaming, ready to stand" and yet now she also has love worth fighting for, and this young passionate love gives her strength to follow her dream. And Ariel takes an incredible risk to follow it. And unlike many other princesses that are always saved by their princes in Disney movies, it is Ariel who saves her prince on more than one occasion - first during the storm and in the end when Ursula almost kills him. She teaches her father how harmful it can be to completely ignore or despise everything that is different, a whole different world and believe like everyone there is evil when the truth is that the evil can exist under the sea as well (represented by Ursula) when humans can actually be good, loyal and caring (like Eric). It was a beatiful story of a young woman who literally changed the world be taking action in her own hands and made two different worlds live in harmony, also it was a great story about fighting for what you believe in and flying from your nest as you grow up, creating your own family with someone you love. Ariel is everything and more.
Number 1: Mulan
Despite my unconditional love for Ariel, I have to give the first place to Mulan, because... because of so many things. And just a few of them are:
Mulan is such a perfect example of an average clumsy girl stereotype in the beginning of the movie. Yet somehow it not only doesn't make her irretating, it actually makes her incredibly relatable. She is determined to bring the honor to her family but at the same time she doesn't want to betray herself and to see "her reflection being someone she doesn't know". She is full of contradictions. Yet at some point her world turns upside down when she takes a faithful decision and here she has to face the biggest conflict of her entire existence: to literally become someone she is not while using all the strength, bravery and all the useful qualities she has to succeed. Mulan's relationships with people, including her future love interest, don't go the right way as they start, it is never the case with her. She has to work hard to be treated with respect. It is easy to fight against your enemies yet when it comes to people you barely know but maybe will have to fight and die by the side of only few weeks later, such as guys in the army, you have to put a lot of effort into not allowing them treat you like dirt and at the same time communicate with them and make them respect you. And eventually she gains their respect and becomes friends with most of them, managing to effectively hide the fact that she is a girl and knowing that is her lie comes out, she will not only put a shame on her family but will be executed. Mulan has to go through both physical and emotionall challenges to succeed. Fighting alone with men, winning the war and becoming a heroine of China are not even all of the things Mulan does throughout the movie: she also proves everyone wrong about her (in a time when women were not even close to being equals to men or being treated like equals) and changes her own opinion about herself, finally finding a peace and harmony within.