What the Ladies of Disney Truly Teach Us

Olivia Hixson (10th), Editor

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Recently, the internet has scrutinized the princesses of Disney for being terrible role models to the little girls and boys of this new generation. These people say that the princesses only rely on men to save the day and that they never truly speak their minds and that they are simply glorified victims of female oppression.

Now, this is honestly a load of smelly bullcrap because anyone who actually thought about the Disney women would see that these lovely ladies truly have unique and important lessons to teach children and adults alike.

So, without further ado, here are the top Disney ladies and their lessons to every viewer:

  1.  Mulan (Mulan, 1998)

Mulan is a self-evident candidate for a powerful Disney woman for her obvious signs of courage and strength as she took her father’s place in the Chinese war against the Huns. Perhaps the coolest thing about Mulan is that she is not a Disney princess but she is a war hero- a million times more awesome than being a princess. She teaches anyone to be brave and to have courage.

She could also teach that everyone needs to be themselves. As she has her difficulties with the matchmaker and eventually her army general, she truly grows into herself and does what she thinks is best.

At the beginning of the movie, Mulan’s father shares this beautiful wisdom: “The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.”

This quote just embodies the spirit of Mulan. She teaches that it takes quite a bit of time to truly find and become oneself and  once that is achieved that person is the most beautiful and brave of all.

  1. Cinderella (Cinderella, 1950)

Cinderella is perhaps the most scrutinized princess of them all. However, she teaches one very important lesson: kindness is a strength. She also totally practices what she preaches because she is nice to everyone, even her wicked stepmother and stepsisters and the mice that live in her house.

Eventually, Cinderella gets just what she wants (a lovely night out in the beautiful castle) and this victory can only be traced back to the specific moments where she displayed kindness to the mice, who made her a dress to wear to the ball, and her kindness to her fairy godmother, who made everything perfect for a dreamy night.

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  1. Lady (Lady and the Tramp, 1955)

Lady is the sweetest and the cutest dog of Disney. She is the typical goody-two-shoes (or paws?) and she lives for her beloved owners Jim Dear and Darling.

However, Lady shows so much more than that. She teaches that one needs to be responsible but allow themselves a wildly fun time every now and then. When she runs away from Aunt Sarah when her owners are away, she goes after what she wants to do and allows herself a night full of star-crossed and puppy love.

Even though she does this, she still understands her true responsibilities and will not let anyone turn her away from those things, even the charming Tramp.

  1. Aurora (Sleeping Beauty, 1959)

Aurora is another highly-scrutinized Disney princess but she does have some great wisdom to share with viewers.

She mainly teaches that it is okay to rely on friends for help and love. Her faithful friends Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather are always there for her and Aurora is always willing to accept their wisdom and guidance.

  1. Alice (Alice in Wonderland, 1951)

Alice simply teaches that everyone should never give up their imagination, no matter how old or young they are.

As she dozes off during her sister’s boring lessons, she adventures through Wonderland and finds very peculiar people and objects. This shows that anything that can be imagined can be done.

Alice emulates Walt Disney’s famous quote, “If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse.”

  1. Rapunzel (Tangled, 2010)

Rapunzel is the cutest modern Disney princess. She teaches to let one’s light shine. In the movie, Rapunzel dreams about literal lights that appear outside of her window every year on her birthday, however as the movie progresses she lets her true light shine as she stands up to her mother and as she explores the world outside of her tower window.

She also teaches that everyone should keep their promises with this one quote: “And when I promise something I never, ever break that promise.

  1. Merida (Brave, 2012)

Other than having great hair, Merida is an awesome princess. She is a straight-shooter and does not let anybody sway her from what she wants to do. When her parents try to marry her off to some comically lame suitors, she fights for her own hand and wins because she is amazingly talented at archery.

She can teach viewers to not let anyone force one into something they do not want to do. She also teaches and represents the importance of good relationships with family members. At first, she and her mother cannot seem to get along on anything but as the movie progresses, she learns that having the strength of her mother and father behind her is essential to a happy life. Also, Merida and her mom are so goals when it comes to mother/daughter relationships in the end.

 

  1. Tiana (The Princess and the Frog, 2009)

Tiana is so much more than a princess. She is a hard-worker, a loving daughter, and a sassy individual all in one gorgeous package. She saves every single penny, and skips opportunities to spend time with her friends, she may be a bit extreme but shows how hard work is essential in dreams. She finally gets her long-awaited restaurant in the end and displays the sweet rewards of hard labour.

Tiana also shows that it is okay to try new things and to have an open mind. Through her trials in the Bayou as a frog, she still sticks to her ideals but slowly realizes that there are some things more important than working all her life.

  1. Ellie (Up, 2009)

Even though she is mainly featured in the first ten minutes, audiences were swept away by Ellie’s sweet and excited demeanor. Her dreamy disposition and outlook on life enthralled everyone and unleashed the inner child in every viewer if only for a few minutes.

However, Ellie also teaches other things aside from being adventurous in all things. As she grows older and experiences more trials and events in her life, she shows a quiet strength and a loud optimism for life. She teaches to always be oneself and to have fun and that it is okay to allow oneself time for grief and joy alike.

  1. Ariel (The Little Mermaid, 1989)

Ariel, in one word, is a rebel. However, she is also not afraid to pursue what she wants. When she falls in love, she defies her father and trades her awesome mermaid tail for a set of legs.

She may not talk for more than half of the movie, but she also teaches that actions speak louder than words ever can. As she relies more on her actions as opposed to her words, she shows how a true princess behaves and it really builds her as a character and role model.

  1. Dory (Finding Nemo, 2003, Finding Dory, 2016)

Dory is one of the most beloved fish in all the sea. Audiences first got bits and pieces of her adorable personality in Finding Nemo and fell absolutely head over heals for her. After Finding Dory was released this year that same love was rekindled more than ever.

Dory has most likely limitless lessons, but her main is simple: just keep swimming! She teaches in both movies that when adversities roll one’s way, it is best to take the best with the worst and to always be optimistic.

  1. Miss Jumbo (Dumbo, 1941)

Miss Jumbo is one of the sweetest mommies in Disney’s history. Even though motherhood is another heavily scrutinized topic in today’s society, Miss Jumbo shows all of the best attributes in a mother and woman alike.

She is not afraid to stand up for her loved ones and she shows her baby all the love she has. Miss Jumbo is not fearful to protect and comfort her loved ones as well and she truly shows courage and bravery.

  1. Belle (Beauty and the Beast, 1991)

Belle mainly teaches one lesson: looks truly do not matter. Even though she is pursued by the local “hottie” Gaston, she looks past his perhaps dreamy exterior and sees him for the awful pig is and does not allow him to get his way with her because he is considered good looking. She also shows this as she accepts the Beast for who she sees him really as, which is no beast at all.

Belle also shows audiences the joy of reading. She is not afraid to be open about something that interests her and she is not afraid to dream and fantasize about different worlds.

  1. Nani (Lilo and Stitch, 2002)

Lilo’s older sister Nani is simply amazing. She is basically a mother to Lilo and is her biggest fan, not to mention she works full time. She teaches that sometimes there are times where one has to be a grownup and take full responsibility for oneself and others.

When she loses her job because of her little sister and Stitch mess up the restaurant, she plays it off and doesn’t let Lilo feel bad over it.

Another important thing to remember about Nani is how much love she shows the ones she holds closest. Sure, she and Lilo have occasional fights like most sisters, but she truly loves Lilo and even Stitch eventually.

  1. Judy Hopps (Zootopia, 2016)

Judy Hopps teaches so many things it’s crazy. First off, she teaches that it is okay to be a little spontaneous and to dream huge dreams. She really wants to become the first cop that is a bunny and does all she can to achieve that dream. Another lesson she teaches is to not care what people think. She does not let other animals in Zootopia who laugh at her or doubt her abilities to taint her knowledge of her own capabilities.

A more obscure lesson she shows is that anyone can give into stereotypes. She does become discouraged at one point and returns home to do what their society accepts as the best job for bunnies, being a carrot farmer. She shows that even in this low point, it is possible to break out of it and to become the best at whatever it is one wants to do.

  1. Mulan’s grandma (Mulan, 1998)

Mulan’s grandma is the wisest Disney woman. She imparts great lessons onto her granddaughter and also doesn’t neglect that having a sense of humor is one of the best qualities of a person. Seriously, she is not afraid to crack a joke about anything!

With her witty humor, she is herself and brings joy to the lives of her loved ones. She is also ever supportive of Mulan and shows that there are appropriate times to be serious and others to be plain silly.

Honorable Mention: Boo (Monster’s Inc, 2001)

Boo just shows – in the most adorable way – that leggings are totally pants!

All in all, these wonderful ladies have so much to teach their viewers. Whether they are being brave or kind, the Disney women are some of the best role models for every human being, so give them a break and understand what their true lessons and wisdom are!

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