11 Forgotten Disney Heroines We Should Celebrate

11 Forgotten Disney Heroines We Should Celebrate

Princesses are not the only Disney characters kids look up to
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Sure, everyone loves the Disney Princesses. They’re beautiful, have unrealistically perfect hair, sing with voices of an angel, and always get the lead guy at the end of the day. But sometimes we forget about all the other female characters that created a big impact in the childhoods of kids who were raised on Disney. From fiction to being based on true events, here is the best of the forgotten Disney heroines that we know and love.

Megara (“Hercules”)

This “damsel in distress” is the beautiful female lead in Hercules. With her stunning hair and Greek goddess figure, she proves that confidence is the most beautiful part of a woman’s personality. When she meets Hercules she is in a rut where she could use help being saved. But that doesn’t stop her from holding her own and fending off weirdos all with her own power. The best part about her is that she doesn’t fall for Hercules right away and enjoys the chase. Soon she realizes she does indeed love him and lets the audience know via a hit song, “I Won’t Say I’m in Love.”

Moana

In her self-titled movie, Moana makes it a well-known fact that she is NOT a princess. She is adventurous, she is carefree, she does things by her own rules and she’s not afraid to question the social norms. Her friendship with Maui is one we all wish we had, along with her beautiful hair, killer skirts, and love of animals and family. Moana doesn’t need ANY man to fulfill her needs or to help her save the day. What she does need is a reliable sidekick (Pua), and the approval of her family. Not to mention Gramma Tala always has her back, even if it’s not what her parents suggest.

Mulan

Mulan taught us how to bring honor to our family, save an entire country, and fool people into believing just about some of the craziest fibs in order to protect those we love. With a fabulous soundtrack, Mulan was one of the first movies that appealed to both audiences of boys and girls. Girls got to see the scenes where she dresses up in full hair and makeup, is taken to the matchmaker, goes through town picking beautiful dresses, and holds her own against the boys. Boys everywhere got to see the action packed fighting between the people of China and got to see some a crazy cool dragon voiced by Eddy Murphy that somehow helped Mulan save all of ancient China. Mulan is one of the first characters to prove she can hang with the boys. She was going against social and gender norms before that was ever even a thing.

Alice

In 1951, Alice became the first female lead who was not a part of royalty and doesn’t marry into it. The young British girl who falls down a rabbit hole is as normal as anyone else. When she gets to Wonderland, she meets all sorts of odd characters from the Cheshire Cat to the Mad Hatter. When she has tea all sorts of chaos happens, forcing her to side with the Queen of Hearts or else it’s off with her head. The chaos and oddity that is consumed in this film are questioned amongst the viewers at first glance. The classic novel goes in depth about a parallel world to ours and how the oddest things can sometimes be the most beautiful. Alice in Wonderland has had multiple reenactments, many remakes, and different interpretations. This movie has been a classic since it’s release and will continue being a silly story for future generations to enjoy.

Esmeralda (“Hunchback of Notre Dame”)

Throughout the entire duration of the Hunchback of Notre Dame, the story follows Quasimodo who is a deformed man who has a hunchback and has lived up in the bell tower his entire life. As a baby, he was rescued by sinister Frollo who allows no fun and no freedom for Quasimodo go out in the public. The only people Quasimodo knows is the gargoyles who keep him company and come to life when no one else is around. Esmeralda, the gypsy who makes her living by stealing and running place to place, is the most admirable characters in this entire film. She is the first and one of the only humans to treat Quasimodo fairly and as though he is actually human. Everyone else treats him like an animal and fear his presence. Esmeralda is one of the most caring, compassionate characters that may live a lifestyle that is frowned upon, but always puts others before herself, even when she has nothing to offer.

Tinkerbell

Teaching us that being sassy is what every little girl can do to hold her own, Tinkerbell gave Peter Pan a run for his money. Though she has approximately 0 lines in the entire film, she proves actions speak louder than words. When she becomes jealous when Wendy is about to kiss Peter, she does what all girls want to do but are too scared of: she pulls her hair and makes her pay for it. The most important lesson she taught us is that all we need is to spread our wings and fly.

Nani (“Lilo and Stitch”)

Not only did Nani give us realistic body expectations, but she also gave us realistic behavior expectations. When we think of family-friendly movies, we expect families to be one big happy group of people who love each other and never disagree on anything. Boy, was Nani the total opposite. After her parents' deaths, she took charge of taking care of her little sister. She became not only a role model figure of a big sister but also played both parts of mom and dad for Lilo. She and Lilo bickered more than any other set of siblings we’ve seen on the big screen, but they always made up with each other before bedtime. She was responsible for raising Lilo, taking care of their financial status, and making sure there was always food on the table. Best of all, whenever Lilo had a weird way of doing things, Nani never discouraged her. She only encouraged her behavior and allowed her to do whatever she wanted as long as it was safe and appropriate. Don’t we all wish we had a big sister like that?

Chicha (“The Emperor’s New Groove”)

The first Disney character to ever be visibly pregnant went to Chicha. She was the wife to Pacha and mother to soon-to-be-three children. When Pacha must help Kuzco get back to his human form and back to his throne, she doesn’t question the antics but rather continues on with her day-to-day busy life with sass, grace, and somehow productivity all while almost popping out a child. I won’t forget, she was also talented at making amazing ponchos.

Jane Porter (“Tarzan”)

Many of you might not know who Jane even is until you hear the name Tarzan attached to it. Though Tarzan is the hero in his self-titled movie, let’s not forget Jane, who helped him become the hero. The daughter of a professor who comes to Africa to study Apes meets Tarzan. The two are intrigued by each other as this is the first human Tarzan has come into contact with, and Jane is surprised to find a human living amongst the apes. The two form a relationship and Jane ends up helping Tarzan remember his past and teaches him to read and write. Jane, who originates from a high-class British family, learns to go out of her comfort zone and takes a chance on Tarzan who proves to a “knight in shining armor," in a manner of speaking.

Wendy (“Peter Pan”)

Speaking of British, next is Wendy Darling. The female lead in the classic “Peter Pan.” We must not forget how amazing of a character she was. During her last night spent in the nursery with her younger brothers, Wendy comes from an upper-class family in 1940’s London. She is taught about responsibility, etiquette, and is being brought up to become a prim and proper lady. Then Peter Pan comes to her room. When he takes her to Neverland he convinces her that staying there and deciding to never grow up is what is best for her. Though she goes on an adventure she’ll never forget, she does the mature thing and leads herself and her brothers back to their nursery. Fast forward just under 50 years, and we’re given a sequel that answers our unfinished questions. Wendy’s daughter meets Peter Pan and goes on a similar adventure. When Peter comes back he realizes Wendy grew up but she always holds a soft spot in her heart for Peter and their adventures they went on so many years ago. Fun fact, until this movie was made, Wendy was not a name. It all started with this Disney masterpiece.

Lilo

Last, but not least, Lilo. The spunky five-year-old who beats to her own drum taught us all that being different was not bad. Her most important lesson, “ohana means family,” proved that there’s nothing more important than your ohana, and you don’t need to be blood-related to be considered family. Even though she and Stitch gave Nani continuous headaches, Lilo took us on adventure after adventure, proving that she and Stitch would never part.

The next time you pick up a Disney movie don’t forget about these leading heroines. Sure, it’s great to wear a crown, but you don’t always need one to prove your self-worth or to be memorable. Remember, a majority of these leading ladies didn’t have a man in the picture and didn’t always end up with one. But they still had their own version of a happily ever after.

Cover Image Credit: List Challenges

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.

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Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.


I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.


I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.


As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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