- Beauty and the Beast
Of course the Little Mermaid and the Lion King would also definitely make top 5, but this is a strictly Disney list. None of this Disney/Pixar business, because they are in two very different leagues, my friends - like comparing apples and oranges. AMAZING DELICIOUS fruits, but two different kinds of fruit nonetheless.
In any case, let me justify my choices. What sets these 3 films apart for me is their fierce heroines. These women aren't wimpy princesses who wait around all day for a prince (think: Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, et al) - although I would also include Ariel and Pocahontas in this category. These are women who don't stop at dreaming, but actually actively pursue these goals. And what I really like about these women is that their lives don't revolve around men. They can be just as strong without them. They're not waiting for true love's first kiss - they want adventure. They demonstrate courage, confidence and charisma - they are women who know who to stand up to and defy the patriarchal society in which they are prove they need not - and indeed can not - be condemned.
Mulan is by far my all time favourite Disney films, mainly because I watch it and feel proud to be a woman. Yes, it makes my feminist heart happy. Mulan is funny, smart, sassy, bold, fiercely loyal and doesn't pine for a man in her life. She doesn't think twice about making sacrifices for the ones she loves, or to do what is right. She is a heroine to admire and aspire to be.
Belle is probably a close second, because I can relate to her - off in her own world, a day-dreamer, a book lover. Belle, too, is someone who won't settle, who makes up her own mind, sets stock in her own opinion, sees through the facade of others (see: Gaston), doesn't judge people by their appearances (see: the Beast), is selfless, kind, and wants to believe the best in people.
Really I love Aladdin for the genie and his musical numbers, but also because Aladdin himself is a total babe, and yes, Jasmine is a fiesty symbol of awesome. She will not marry for anything less than love, and takes it into her own hands to find it.
Actually Tatiana would be 4th on my list of favourite Disney heroines, because there's a girl who is working towards her dream. She's made of stern stuff, and knows what is needed to make her dreams come true.
What makes me sad though is the prevalence of Disney at the school I'm working at here in La Fortuna. They have the Princess pencil cases and stickers and bags. Now hear me out, because clearly I'm a fangirl and certainly not above these things. But what I truly hope is that they can weed out the weaker princesses; that they don't aspire to be Snow White, and wait around, dreaming of their Prince, but they try to be Ariel, who knows what she wants and goes after it. I worry about how Snow White and Cinderella and Aurora influence young children, because they are the "true" Disney Princesses, and therefore the most often/typically portrayed, but thankfully Jasmine, Belle and Ariel are there to balance them out and offer themselves as the embodiment of Walt Disney's quote (one I try to live by):
I would also argue that being a Princess is not about a title, it's about character, which is why the definition of Disney Princess is usually extended to include Mulan, Pocahontas, Tatiana, etc.
So: your top 3 Disney films?
[All pictures from thedisneyprincess.tumblr.com, except the Walt Disney quote, which is from heartdisney.tumblr.com]