Saturday, August 6, 2016

Top 10 Feminist Disney Quotes

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By: Lillabeth B.




           When we think of Disney Princesses, even the biggest Disnerd will first think of the prim, proper maidens Snow White and Aurora, with high-pitched voices, long, flowing skirts, and a true love’s kiss to wake them from an evil curse’s eternal sleep. But a majority of Disney Princesses are actually resourceful, brave, smart, and loyal. Here are my Top Ten Feminist Disney Princess Quotes, each from a different princess, and keep in mind as you read that there are only thirteen Princesses. Here’s your daily dose of feminist awesomeness!

“You said you’d trust Ping. Why is Mulan any different?”
-Mulan, Mulan

            In a society where men are considered smarter and stronger than women, Mulan challenges stereotypes and sums up the movie’s moral. To be honest, this should be the motto of the feminist movement! Was there ever a more perfect way to summarize the goal of feminism? All Mulan wants is to be considered equal to men. To prove this, she posed as a male warrior, Ping, in a Chinese training camp instead of her father, for though he used to be a famously skilled warrior, he is too old for combat. When China drafts one man from each family to fight the Huns, Fa Mulan knows her father will die if sent to war, so she takes his place and eventually saves China.

“I'm a damsel, I'm in distress, I can handle this. Have a nice day.”
-Megara, Hercules

When we think of feminist Disney characters, who cannot think of good ol’ Meg? Right as we meet her, in a forest facing an evil monster as Hercules swoops in to save the day, our girl shows him the door. “Thanks for everything, Herc. It’s been a real slice.” She’s sassy, she’s stubborn, she’s savvy, she’s everything a feminist could wish for, and she totally rocks it.

“Look around you. This is where the path of hatred has brought us. This is the path I choose, Father. What will yours be?”
-Pocahontas, Pocahontas

            In this scene, as Pocahontas’s father, Chief Powhatan, prepares to kill John Smith and plunge his tribe into war with the colonists, Pocahontas speaks out against him, the leader of her people, and shows him the danger in what he is about to do. That takes courage, confidence, and heart.

“How dare you! All of you! Standing around deciding my future. I am not a prize to be won!”
-Princess Jasmine, Aladdin

            All Jasmine wants is the freedom to do what she wants, be what she wants, and marry who she wants. That is a choice Arab women in Jasmine’s time were not supposed to have. To challenge not only your father, but the culture of your people, takes guts, which is not a word we normally associate with princesses.

“You were never there for me! This whole marriage is what you want! Do you ever bother to ask what I want?”
-Merida, Brave

            Merida, similar to Jasmine, is challenging a society with a tradition of marrying off women with as much thought as wearing kilts. Merida, with her famous “shooting for my own hand” quote, publicly denounced her family’s choice to find her a husband by showing the large crowd that has gathered that she is a better archer than all her suitors. On top of that, Merida is one of the few Disney princesses, and even female Disney characters, to be single at the end of her movie. Do they hand out trophies for these kinds of things?

“Is he gone? Can you imagine, he asked me to marry him! Me, the wife of that boorish, brainless...”
-Belle, Beauty and the Beast

Belle also defies stereotypes. In a society where simply thinking is considered “a dangerous pastime,” she loves to read stories of bravery and loyalty. Speaking of bravery, Belle is brave enough to venture through dangerous woods and into a creepy castle in search of her father, and even to take his place as prisoner of a great beast. We don’t need a Sorting Hat to know this girl’s a Gryffindor. Or is she a Ravenclaw? Maybe we need one after all.

            Mulan, Hercules, Pocahontas, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast were all made in the 1990’s. An incredible majority of animated movies by Disney in the ‘90s were female-centric, and incredibly feminist. The ’90’s marked the beginning of the third wave of the feminist movement, which focuses largely on gender violence, reproductive rights, and rape. Disney was supportive of this by creating strong female characters who took action without a man’s guidance or assistance. They rejected suitors they disliked, and did not think first of love when they did meet the men they would end up with at the end of the film. Many of the women who grew up watching these films grew up to be strong, independent, and brave. And the best part is, Disney seems to be keeping up this feminism in their new movies, princess or not.

“You can't marry a man you just met.”
-Elsa, Frozen

Cutting right to the chase here, Elsa! A no nonsense QUEEN (and uninterested in love from beginning to end), the elder sister is quick to utilize her superiority when Anna makes a choice that Elsa can see will go south. You go, girl!

“The only way to get what you want in this world is through hard work.”
-Tiana, The Princess and the Frog

One of the reasons I love Tiana is that her story directly contradicts Cinderella’s famous song A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart. Cinderella sings, “No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true.” Tiana tells us that you can dream all you want, but that dream isn’t coming true unless you get out there and do something about it! She should be a role model to all of us.

“The only frozen heart around here is yours.”
-Anna, Frozen

Ooh, ROASTED! I think we all remember when (spoilers) Anna’s well-placed punch sent her former sweetheart Hans of the Southern Isles flying off the edge of a ship. Especially because Anna (and many young viewers) believed in true love at the beginning of Frozen, this sudden change of heart symbolizes a change not only for Anna, but for Disney.

“I could go running, and racing, and dancing, and chasing, and leaping, and bounding, hair flying, heart pounding, and splashing, and reeling, and finally feeling, now's when my life begins!”
-Rapunzel, Tangled


We all know the story of Rapunzel, a beautiful damsel in distress in desperate need of a haircut who escapes her imprisonment from her evil guardian with the help of a dashing young prince. Tangled puts a fresh spin on this classic tale by making “blondie” the (spoilers) princess, though ignorant of this until the finale—when she (spoilers) saves her “prince” from death! In this quote, sung as she runs through grass for the first time in her life, her dream for freedom and adventure is finally fulfilled. Nothing can stop this gal with a frying pan and an agenda from seeing the floating lights and becoming the woman she was meant to be.

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