On Saturday, January 21st, millions of women, men, and children around the world marched to stand up for equality, human rights, and in solidarity with the Women's March on Washington. The turn out was more than anyone could have predicted as protests in support of the movement happened everywhere around the world. And guess who would've been marching hand in hand with protesters around the world? These 15 Disney characters of course! Because beyond all that singing, dancing, and falling in love, a lot of our favorite Disney characters were strong and powerful feminists. They stood up for themselves, challenged gender norms, and kicked some serious butt. So which of our favorites would be marching on the pavement, waving signs, and chanting along with the rest of us? And what would their protest signs say?
Mulan would obviously be the first one to take up the cause. She would probably be on the organizing committee for the Women's March and she'd lose her voice by the end of the day after shouting so much. Because Mulan is the ultimate feminist hero. She had to pretend to be a man just to show them that she was just as tough and strong as any of them. She challenged gender roles and proved to the men that she was ready to face the Huns. She even taught them that sometimes you need a woman's touch to get the job done. And Mulan wasn't afraid to take matters into her own hands and do what she needed to do to protect her family and the rest of the kingdom. She taught the entire society that females really are strong as hell! Mulan was one empowered and progressive lady. She would've been at the front of the Women's March and would keep marching until things changed.
Belle showed us that you can be a beauty and have a brain at the same time. She was fearless about her intelligence and her love for books and reading. We love that Belle wasn't afraid to be the first one at the book store or to keep her nose in a book all day long. She couldn't be bothered with silly things like what other people thought about her. The whole town thought she was loopy and Belle couldn't care less. And then, when the "hottest" man in town started to pursue her, Belle told him exactly where he could shove it. Good for you, Belle! Girlfriend was not about to be a trophy wife and give in to a misogynist like Gaston. She knew what she wanted and it was not him! Belle would definitely be at the Women's March, standing up for her rights and we bet, for educational reform. Because this is definitely a woman who cares about education and literacy.
Tiana is one of our favorite feminist Disney characters. She was a woman who knew that she needed to work hard to make her dreams come true. Tiana had a dream to own her own restaurant. And she was working damn hard to make sure that dream came true! She was serving pancakes and saving away every dollar. She had her eye on the perfect place and she was going to make her father's famous gumbo. And then a prince and some voodoo magic came along and messed that all up! But Tiana knew how to roll with the punches! She was able to make things work for herself, even in frog form. And in the end, she got her restaurant and her man. Tiana was no damsel in distress! And she certainly wouldn't be sitting quietly in this political climate. She would be going out and making her dreams come true no matter what is holding her down.
Merida is the perfect example of feminism on the rise in the next generation. Her parents wanted to arrange her marriage and give her away to the best archer in town. But Merida was having none of that. Because in fact, she was the best archer in town! How's that for showing the patriarchy who was in control? Merida refused to be a pawn in society with no agency of her own. She wanted to choose her own path. And so she did! She showed her parents and the rest of the people in her village what a strong woman looks like. Her wild child, tomboy habits even helped to redefine what it means to be female. Merida was true to herself and wouldn't let anyone change that. She would have been a strong ally to have at the Women's March.
Something tells us Pocahontas would have had a lot to say about land rights, pipelines, protecting the environment, and immigration. Because Pocahontas was part of the original Americans. But unlike some, Pocahontas was extremely open to immigration and refugees. She made peace with the settlers and even started a budding romance with John Smith. But Pocahontas wasn't about to throw everything away for a man. She chose what was best for her people because she was a strong woman who cared about her home. Pocahontas would've been marching arm in arm with the scientists helping them to spread the truth needed to protect our environment. We wouldn't have the "Colors of The Wind" without it! Pocahontas was even able to convince her stubborn father and the other elders that John Smith meant no harm and that not all settlers were evil. If she was able to do that and stand up for herself, who knows what she would be capable of in Washington?
Of course Elsa is a shining example of feminism in the Disney world. Elsa was one of the first princesses who proved that you can be a heroine and rule your own kingdom without a love interest or prince in your life. In fact, Elsa might not even be interested in men. Good for you, Elsa! We love that she isn't afraid to be an independent woman and that becoming a wife is not the number one objective in her life. Elsa doesn't let men define her. She is powerful and secure in herself. Her greatest love is for her sister. We could definitely use a powerful woman who supports her sisters on the front lines of the Women's March. And some of that ice power probably wouldn't hurt either! We can think of a few people we might want to freeze in place or throw snowballs at.
Jasmine would definitely be joining the Women's March, if she was allowed in the country, that is. But wherever she is, Jasmine would be marching in solidarity for equality and human rights. Jasmine's father was all set to choose a rich man for her to marry. But Jasmine wasn't having any of that. No one was going to tell her what to do with her life! Jasmine was all about making her own choices. She fell in love on her own terms and made sure her relationship was based on true love, not just money. Sure, Jasmine was stubborn and opinionated, but that's exactly why we need her in the Women's March. She's not afraid to stick it to powerful men and stand up for her right to choose her own path in life. In a time where many women and men are finding their paths blocked, Jasmine's voice would be a great addition to the protest.
Rapunzel is definitely a bad-ass feminist hero. First of all, she starts her adventure by escaping an evil witch who has her imprisoned in a tower and tricked into believing that she is Rapunzel's mother. It takes a lot of bravery to break out of the only home you've ever known and risk it all for the chance to be free. Rapunzel wasn't exactly a refugee but we're sure she could relate to their plight and the feeling of being stuck in a bad situation. But Rapunzel knew she was destined to do something great with her life. She was a leader and she wasn't going to let her restrictive upbringing hold her back. That's the kind of spirit we need to lead this movement! Rapunzel is a woman who knows what she wants and goes after it. She wanted to see the lights so she roped Flynn (quite literally, with her hair) into taking her there. Rapunzel gets it done!
Ariel is another woman who knows what she wants. She has big dreams and she isn't going to let anyone hold her back. Ariel is creative and imaginative. You better believe she would have the most amazing protest sign. And Ariel is no stranger to protests either. She practically spent her whole underwater life fighting against her father's rule and pushing to pursue her own dreams. Girlfriend wanted to be human and live on land. Nothing was going to stop her! She risked everything to make her dreams come true. Sure, she was a little bit careless. It probably wasn't the best idea to sign a contract with an evil octopus without reading it. And giving up your voice? C'mon, Ariel! Surely you know your voice is your most powerful weapon. But in the end, Ariel persevered and was able to achieve her goals. That's exactly the kind of determination we needed at the march.
Giselle was the sweet and naive princess from Disney's non-animated movie, Enchanted. She played opposite James Marsden and Patrick Dempsey as a princess who finds herself magically transported to the wild and cynical streets of New York City. But does Giselle let that get her down? No way! Giselle isn't going to let a bit of negativity and cynicism change who she is or her outlook on life. She stays true to herself, like singing in the middle of the park, wearing a ballgown at all times of the day, and recruiting mice to help her with her errands. In the end, Giselle even chooses to stay in New York instead of returning to her magical kingdom (spoiler!). She made a hard choice to stick things out in an unfamiliar city that challenged her. But Giselle was up for the challenge! She ended up getting the man and opening up her own business. Giselle would've been an awesome role model to have at the Women's March!
Yes, there's space for bad-ass feminism lions in the Women's March too! So make room for Nala, the biggest bad-ass feminist of them all. Nala spent her childhood holding her own with the future male heir to Pride Rock. She never let Simba steal her spotlight or leave her behind just because she was a girl. As she grew up, Nala had to face Scar by herself because there was no one around to protect her. She stood up to Scar and fought for the rights of the rest of the pride. Now there's a powerful woman! Nala was also the driving force behind getting Simba back to Pride Rock. But if you ask us, Nala could've handled the whole Scar issue by herself. She certainly didn't need Simba to come to her rescue. But if Simba wants to join the cause and fight for lioness equality, we're happy to have him join the movement.
That's right, a man raised by gorillas in the jungles of Africa has made our list of Disney characters who would march at the Women's March. Okay, so he's not a princess, but Tarzan is absolutely a feminist. He believes in equality and would probably be very concerned about environmental issues like climate change and deforestation. From a young age, Tarzan was surrounded by powerful women. He was raised by a single mother who he loved and respected. And his best friends were a female gorilla and an elephant, who were an entire different species. But did Tarzan care? Not at all! When he met Jane, Tarzan was very respectful of her knowledge and experience. He had no problem letting her teach him all about the human world. He knew he didn't have to be the authority on everything. And being the only human in a tribe full of gorillas, Tarzan knows what it's like to be discriminated against for being different.
3 Mrs. Banks
You may not remember Mrs. Banks. She had a very small, but important, role in the Mary Poppins movie as the mother to the two Banks children. So why didn't we see more of Mrs. Banks? Well, first of all, because the children had the coolest nanny ever in Mary Poppins. But secondly, because Mrs. Banks was out there fighting for women's right to vote! Mrs. Banks was a suffragette! She was out there protesting and working to get women the right to vote. Thank you, Mrs. Banks! You would be an absolute legend to have as part of the Women's March. So while Mary Poppins may have impressed the kids with dancing penguins, singing chimney sweeps, and magical purses, it was really Mrs. Banks who was doing the impressive work. We imagine her coming home every night and filling her kids in on the brave day of protesting she had.
In the Angelina Jolie remake of the Sleeping Beauty story, we see a softer side to Maleficent. She wasn't really evil - just betrayed and then misunderstood. But she was also incredibly kind and caring. She loved Aurora like she was her own daughter. They were able to get over all their differences and form a bond, despite the fact that Maleficent originally wanted Aurora dead. If those two could work through their issues and unite, surely we can do that with our fellow sisters? We need a strong woman like Maleficent to show us how it's done. She has powers, she runs her own kingdom and she has the most fierce cheekbones (we need those). That's definitely someone we want on our side! And if Angelina wants to bring her six kids, we'd be happy to find a place for the young ones to march for their future.
1 Jyn Erso
Since Star Wars is now a part of the Disney family, we get to invite Jyn Erso from Rogue One to join the Women's March. And we know this is one heroine who would definitely say yes! Jyn is a survivor and a warrior. She practically raised herself and constantly had to fight and protect herself. She'd be great at a protest. Plus, Jyn knows how to stand up for herself. On a ship of all men, Jyn made sure her voice was heard and convinced the team to follow her instincts which lead to them saving the rest of the galaxy. And Jyn was right there fighting on the front lines. She didn't sit back and watch. She dove head first into the fight to save her family and her people. In the end, Jyn even had to sacrifice herself for her very important cause. Now that's some determination!