The first essay for this class asked us to write about how a fictional heroine impacted our lives. I chose to write about Belle from Beauty and the Beast because as a young girl, I was constantly exposed to Disney princesses and I believe that they had a strong impact on my life. After writing the essay, I began to think of all Disney princesses and whether or not they could be considered super heroines or not. They may not have the same tools, disguises, or crime fighting skills as Wonder Woman or Bat Woman, but they do often become the saviors of the story.
Disney princesses are probably not the first thought most people have when they think of super heroines, but some of them are worthy of this title. It is true that some of them are saved by the male heroes of the story, such as Jasmine in Aladdin, or are more interested in following their own dreams than being a hero, such as Ariel in The Little Mermaid. As role models, these two characters have many flaws that make them less independent and strong. For this reason, Disney princesses in general may not be seen as heroines, though they are often characters that young girls look up to.
Even though Disney princesses do not all seem to be typical super heroines, two who are especially heroic are Mulan and Pocahontas. Mulan comes to the aid of her entire family, while risking her own safety and future. The other characters believe that women are not worthy of fighting, so Mulan gives up her femininity and pretends to be a man. However, she proves that she is capable of being brave and strong regardless of her gender. While Mulan is characterized by her physical strength and bravery, Pocahontas is heroic for being noble and wise. She uses these traits to save herself and her entire culture. Both Mulan and Pocahontas are concerned with helping others, something characteristic of heroines.
Disney princesses offer two different types of heroines. Some of them truly are shown to be strong and heroic, while others are more dependent on males in the story or are more worried about their own hopes. Even the characters like Mulan and Pocahontas who are more heroic may not be as “super” as the classic comic book heroine, but they do act valiantly in their storylines. Ultimately, a heroine is someone who works for the greater good and for justice. This is what Mulan and Pocahontas were fighting for in their villages and societies. In this way, these Disney princesses can be seen as a true heroines.