Disney princesses and role models

I've been thinking a lot about role models lately, and which ones I've had over the years. And while my role models today are women and men who have done something of high importance (at least, I believe they have), they are incredibly different from the ones I had as a child. 

My role models were Belle, Jasmine, and Mulan (from Beauty and The Beast, Aladdin, and Mulan respectively.) I will be the first to admit to think that the Disney princesses were all wusses who sat around until their prince charming found them. You can say that about Snow White, Ariel, and Cinderella; but Belle, Jasmine, and Mulan? Oh, hell no. 

Now why those three? Belle was smart, she didn't settle for what people expected of her, and that's what I admired about her. Jasmine was so adventurous! She didn't want to be married off to some guy she didn't know, or love. So she decided to control of her own life, and leave her beautiful palace. And Mulan was just kick-ass. She saved her father's life by going in the army, which resulted in her saving the whole nation of China. She couldn't pretend to not be who she was inside. 

Obviously as I grew, I found other people to admire, others to look up to. I now look up to my mom, my aunt, Hunter S. Thompson (what do you expect? I'm a journalism student), Eve Ensler, Tina Fey, and Rachel Maddow. But I will always love my original three Disney characters, no matter how old I'll get. (cue in sappy overture)


Rachel said...

I definitely relate to you, because the Disney woman I thought was the most kick ass was Mulan. She broke all the rules and proved a woman could do just as good (or better) as a man by sneaking into the Chinese army. How cool is that?

I have to wonder, though, what became of the girls that idolized Snow White or Sleeping Beauty.. I can't help but feel like all the Disney princesses should be positive role models, not just some of them. We shouldn't have to settle for that. :)

JoJo said...

I just wrote a cheeky article in the paper on this. Yes, pre-1980s, Grimm's fairy tale princesses are not very inspiring.

Rachel said...

Wonder what's spurning all this talk about it all of a sudden? Maybe because they're all coming out to DVD now...

I found this article, which is pretty badass: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/778203/five_positive_fictional_role_models.html?cat=2 (five positive fictional role models for girls.)