In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments.
Who is your favorite Disney Princess?
“I’m a damsel, I’m in distress, I can handle this. Have a nice day.”
Meg from the highly under-rated Hercules is by far and away my favorite Disney Princess. She’s smart, independent and witty, but she’s also dark and twisty and literally soulless (no really! she sold her soul to Hades to save her boyfriend who then dumped her for a younger, hotter model.) Basically I love her because she’s one of those damaged and flawed characters that I love so much, which is not at all the typical Disney Princess. In fact, Meg is not included in the officially branded Disney Princesses. I think it’s partly because she’s dark and twisty and partly because I think Disney likes to kind of sweep Hercules under the rug.
So, if we’re talking the branded Disney Princesses, I have to pick Ariel.
Yes, she’s kind of a spoiled brat. But she proactively makes the changes she wants to see in her life, even though she makes some really poor choices in execution. And once when I was in fifth grade, someone told me I looked like Ariel and it was probably the best moment of my epically awkward tween life.
For me, it’s a tie between Belle and Pocahontas. Belle was made for me to fall in love with – her favorite pastime is reading, she’s a brunette (okay, so this probably mattered more to me when I was a kid than it does now, but even today she’s the only Disney princess with hair that even remotely resembles my own), and she’s totally brave. When she volunteers to take her father’s place? Damn girl. Plus that library, with the sliding ladders? That’s pretty much the only thing I want from my life.
But I’ve always had an affinity for Pocahontas too. She’s just…awesome. And so different from every other princess Disney has to offer. The songs she sings are beautiful, I love how her “palace,” so to speak, is the world around her, and, again, she’s just super brave and awesome. I’m not normally into it when historical-based narratives make big changes to, you know, history, but I’m completely on board with the way Disney chose to end Pocahontas. It’s completely atypical for them. She has the choice to leave with John Smith, and she doesn’t. She decides that there is something more important than following her boyfriend across the ocean to an unfamiliar land. As a character, she’s super strong. And breathtaking, also. Those lips? Those cheekbones? She’s completely gorgeous even though she looks nothing like any of the princesses who came before her.
Although she isn’t technically a princess, I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Mulan. She’s a heroine that you can root for: she’s clever, funny, and she tries no matter how staggering the odds are. At the beginning of her journey, she starts out as a girl who isn’t quite sure who she is or knows where she belongs. It’s a pretty relatable and universal problem–especially among the young girls that belonged to the movie’s target demographic. I found her whole arc touching and fascinating because she goes through all the emotional ups and downs of coming to terms with not only she is, but who she wants to be.
I also like her because she can kick serious ass and knows how to use a sword.
This is, without a doubt, the most difficult question I’ve had to answer in a long time. Choose a favorite Disney princess? I’d no sooner be able to choose a favorite star from the heavens.
(Bonus points to those who picked up that quote!)
It comes down to two, really, and those two represent two facets of my being: who I am most like and who I most want to be.
As to the former, I am the most like Belle. Love of reading? Check. Stubborness? Check. Daddy’s girl? Check. Need to have more than a provincial life? Double check.
Belle is someone I never really considered as a favorite growing up. I looked more to Jasmine then, for both the Arab/Middle Eastern background and the insanely hot prince Belle is someone I grew to appreciate as I grew older and my personality was much more defined by my interests. Plus, she has the most beautiful dress!
To the latter of my posed dichotomy is Tiana, a woman that I desperately want to be more like. She is strong, hard-working, dedicated. Honestly, to a procrastinator like myself, I cannot fathom a better role-model than Tiana.
Plus? She also has the most beautiful dress!
But, in all seriousness, Disney provided me with my first (and, in some cases, most influential) role-models. Disney women do not sit idly by. They take life by the reins and steer themselves to happiness. Tiana’s story is the most blatantly characteristic of that ideal and I love her for it.
So what about you? Who is your favorite Disney Princess?