The Disney Princesses, merely a few of the Disney heroines
A lot of people say that the Disney heroines are bad influences on girls for a variety of reasons: they "teach girls that beauty is most important" and "you need a man to be happy" and "females always have to be damsels in distress" and plenty more of the like. I disagree. Disney heroines can teach all
of us plenty of important lessons.
1. Be Yourself Despite the World's Opinion
A lot of the Disney heroines didn't really fit into the norms of their society, but they never changed to fit into their communities better. Eventually, that would prove to be a very good thing.
*Ariel, who loved humans even though they were considered dangerous by the rest of Atlantica
*Belle, who was particularly intelligent and book-loving in a time when it wasn't beleived women should think
*Esmerelda, who was one of the gypsy outcasts of Paris
*Giselle, who maintained her fairy-tale values even in the tough real world
*Pochahontas, who wanted to welcome the new settlers
*Jasmine, who didn't just want to marry the first guy who came along like a good princess
*Mulan, who wasn't a proper traditional Chinese girl
2. You Can Save the Day, Too!
Not all damsels are in distress, and plenty of dudes are in distress, too. Many of the Disney heroines not only helped to save the day -- they did it themselves.
*Mulan, who saved her father from the army AND her country from the Huns all on her own
*Pochahontas, who stopped her father from killing John Smith AND averted a full-out war between her people and the settlers
*Esmerelda, who defended the weak at personal risk, saved Phoebus from drowning, and basically set in motion the whole chain of events over-throwing Frollo and saving Quasimodo.
*Ariel, who helps Eric destroy Ursula
*Nala, who leaves her home to bring Simba back to defeat Scar
*Belle, who breaks the spell keeping the Beast in beast-form and brings him back to life as a human
3. Being Smart is a Good Thing
Many, many of the Disney heroines are shown to be highly intelligent, clever women. And they usually then use those smarts to help those they love.
*Belle, who is uncannily intelligent -- especially for a woman of her day -- and reads all the time
*Mulan, who repeatedly uses her head to figure out how to fight more effectively (avalanching Shan-Yu's entire army instead of shooting just him, sneaking soldiers into the palace as women)
*Jane, who is very much the scholar
*Esmerelda, whose quick-thinking saves her and her friends many a time
4. The Inside is More Important than the Outside
Several of the Disney leading ladies know very well that you can't judge people by their looks.
*Esmerelda, who helps and becomes friends with Quasimodo even though everyone hates him for looking deformed
*Belle, who loves the gentle Beast and hates Gaston (the handsome jerk)
*Pochahontas and Ariel, who love guys who're different than boys of their own "kind"
*Jane, who loves Tarzan even though he's a little wild and scary looking at first
5. It doesn't Matter Where You Come From
Plenty of the Disney heroines -- even the Disney Princesses -- started off in less than perfect worlds, but overcame the adversities to find happiness.
*Cinderella, who was treated like a slave by her step-family
*Belle, who was but a peasant girl
*Mulan, who was a commoner
*Esmerelda, who was an out-cast of society
*Megara, who was being forced to work for Hades
*Snow White, who lived in the forest in a shack with seven other people for a while (albeit, after fleeing a castle)
6. All Ethnicities and Colors are Beautiful
Disney heroines come in every color of the proverbial racial rainbow. And they all have rich cultural environments and backgrounds to teach us.
*Mulan, an Asian beauty
*Esmerelda, a Spanish beauty
*Tiana, an African-American beauty
*Belle and Jane, brunette beauties
*Pochahontas, a Native American beauty
*Snow White, a raven-haired caucasian beauty
*Jasmine, a Middle-Eastern/Arabic beauty
*Nala, an African beauty
*Ariel and Maid Marian, red-headed beauties
*Megara, a Mediterranian beauty
*Cinderella and Aurora, blonde beauties
*Giselle, who's hair color I can't even figure out, but who is still lovely
7. You Can be Tough and Independent, but Still Feminine
Of course, almsot all of the Disney heroines prove their independence in one way or another (even if only in a small way for some). But more than just a few of the Disney heroines are every bit as tough and able-to-fight as their male counterparts.
*Mulan, who disguises herself as a man and becomes a war hero
*Esmerelda, who proves she can hold her own in a fight against multiple, trained foes who're bigger than her and have actual weapons
*Nala, whose teeth and claws are every bit as effective against her enemies as Simba's
8. Kindness is Key
Quite a few -- most, in fact -- of the Disney heroines epitomize the concept that being kind to others is vastly important. They show that you have to be nice to people if you want to succeed.
*Cinderella, Jasmine, and Snow White, who are very sweet to people from all classes, and also to animals
*Belle, who shows kindness even to those who are mean to her
*Esmerelda, who helps others even though she herself has it plenty rough
*Pochahontas, Jane, and Ariel, who save people who are very different than themselves
9. Love is Important
Every single heroine has a true love. And they do everything that they can to get to him and keep him and help him. They love him despite all odds, what everyone says, and any outward flaws he might have. Because love is important. They show that, no, you don't need a man to be happy, but it doesn't hurt. And they show that when you love someone, you have to show them and you have to stay by them.
10. It's OK to Dream, and Dreams Can Come True
Every single Disney heroine also has a dream. And with a little luck and some hard work, all of their dreams come true. And that's what's truly beautiful. In fact, it's what Disney is all about.