Growing up, Disney movies were my favorite to watch. And throughout my life, there have been strong female characters that have taught me about life, love, and womanhood. There are countless figures to be talked about, but below are the top 5 that really stick out to me as not only being 'woke' but also being great examples of women and role models that girls of all generations and cultures can look up to.
Pocahontas is clearly a Disney princess that really knew what was going on. She is a beautiful representation of Native American culture. She also says powerful things in the song "Colors of the Wind." She brings to light the oppressive nature of colonizing and teaches us all how to stop and appreciate nature. She was not fooled for one minute by the strange men coming to her land. She truly is a woke queen.
Besides being one of my favorite Disney movies made, Mulan is a perfect example of a woman not letting society tell her no. Mulan is one of the earliest representations of a woman who knew she was more than just a wife and that was not her calling, although there is nothing wrong with that. She loves her family, and from that comes her desire to fight in her father's place. She teaches us that women can do anything we put our mind to, and in the end when the world sees that we are a woman underneath it all, we still gain victory in the end.
For years the story Rapunzel has been told and retold. Disney's "Tangled" brings a whole new light to the story. In this version, Rapunzel is adventurous, has many hobbies and talents, and is strong. She introduces us to a woman who can fight off men with a frying pan, is not afraid of a long journey full of the unknown, and cares about people and animals deeply despite what they look like or where they come from. She is full of life and love and is a strong embodiment of a powerful woman who doesn't even know she is a princess but carries herself with all the compassion and grace of one.
Although Jane is not technically a "princess," she is still a strong female character. She faces some pretty crazy things on her journey (like all the monkeys that chase after her), yet she still stays around. She has a desire to learn about things she doesn't know, and instead of being afraid of Tarzan she is curious and trusting. She is also an amazing example of reaching out to others — when she and Tarzan struggle to communicate they find other ways of teaching and learning to get to know each other. Jane immerses herself in another culture and falls in love. She teaches us to look beyond the outside and the typical boundaries to see where your family really is — in your heart.
Last but not least we have Belle. Belle is smart and creative and kind. She teaches us about standing up for the ones we care about and protecting our loved ones. She also teaches us about second chances and loving someone despite their looks or the misconceptions around them. She is fearless and a strong lover and truly a woman to look up to.
I am surrounded by strong women — my mother, my grandmothers, my aunts, and my friends — who inspire me to be strong. Whether I am a stay-at-home mom or a working woman, there is a fearlessness and bravery that the women around me carry themselves with. From the women around me to the women in these movies, I am proud to be a female and hope to convey that one day to my own daughter.