After lots of dillydallying, I finally got around to watching Frozen at the weekend, the latest Disney film based on Hans Christian Andersen’s tale The Snow Queen. It is superbly funny with fabulous music and wonderfully crafted characters, and it has been praised for being one of the only Disney films where the heroine is not rescued by a man, but by the true love of her sister.
Refreshingly, the film also acknowledges the stupidity of ‘falling in love’ with someone after knowing them for about five minutes, a plot point which has often featured in many Disney love stories. The Prince falls in love with Snow White after hearing her singing at a wishing well (I know from experience that a good singing voice does not guarantee sweetness of character). Even more disturbingly, Prince Eric falls in love with Ariel when she doesn’t even have a voice, and let’s just forget about the dancing scene in Sleeping Beauty..
So is there any hope for Disney-loving feminists? Yes there is! Here are four Disney heroines who aren’t immediately seduced by the first man they stumble upon:
Belle - Beauty and the Beast
After her father is captured by the Beast and locked in his castle, Belle steps forward to take his place as prisoner. Needless to say, she is hardly mad about the Beast until he proves his human side to her, and she realises he’s actually a pretty nice guy. At this point she develops Stockholm Syndrome and it all gets a bit Freudian.
Jasmine – Aladdin
Bored by the countless suitors her father forces upon her, Jasmine is by no means gagging for it. When she first meets Prince Ali, she is put off by his arrogance and nobility. Eventually, she realises he’s just a humble street-rat and falls in love with his mischievous ways.
Meg - Hercules
It’s only fair to point out that Meg has already had her heart broken by some tramp she sold her soul for, but the important thing is she learnt not to give in so easily again. It takes Hercules an awful lot of flattery and kindness to make her even speak to him, and eventually she realises he is worth endangering her life for. In the end he even sacrifices his own immortality just to be with her, which definitely shows commitment.
Lady - Lady and the Tramp
When Lady first meets the Tramp, she is far too preoccupied with family issues to give him much consideration. It is only when she finds herself lost on the street that she sees how kind and caring he is, and they soon begin to fall in love over Italian cuisine. At the end they have tiny puppies because ladies, just because you want to have children doesn’t mean you’re a bad feminist.