I’m not quite sure it was Walt Disney’s original idea to have such troubled, rebellious, and badass women, taking the lead in so many of his movies, but it’s one of my favorite aspects of the Disney “Princess” ‘verse. And after watching the glorious Lilo and Stitch last week, which, by the by, is hysterical, I was really picking up some very rebellious ‘tude from Lilo. She is such a little problem child! And despite Disney being the stereotypical “rainbow and sparkles” of the movie world, they write some great female characters, with a depth and realism that is so believable. Here are my top 5 favorite Disney rebel chicks.
1. Lilo Pelekai from Lilo and Stitch
Lilo’s an orphan with a tragic past, and some serious disciplinary issues. Her parents died in a car accident, and she was left to be raised by her young adult sister, Nani. They fight as most sisters do, screaming insults at each other, and wrestling. Lilo is pretty hard to control for Nani, and as a result she even almost gets taken away from Nani by Child Services. Wow, Child Services Disney? That’s dark. Lilo is not only a problem child, but a very queer sort of Luna Lovegood oddball. She has a fish friend, who lives in the ocean, whom she feeds a sandwich every day. She claims he predicts the weather. She has an oddity about her, but a rebellious and fun loving spirit. Lilo really showcases the result of a a not-so-perfect home life, and breaks the mold of stereotypical perfect Disney princess lifestyle. She’s the product of a troubled upbringing, and ultimately it shines through when the pressure’s on. She acts out in her hula classes, even getting into a fight and biting a girl. Om nom. She’s such a little wild child!
2. Ariel from The Little Mermaid
The Ariel we all know and love from Disney’s The Little Mermaid is quite different from the original Hans Christian Andersen fairytale. The original story depicts a young mermaid who falls in love with a Prince, and gives the Sea Witch her tongue in exchange for legs. She then goes to be with the Prince, who ultimately ends up marrying someone else. The Sea Witch tells the mermaid that if she kills the prince, and lets his blood drip onto her legs, she will turn back into a mermaid. The mermaid loves the Prince too much, and instead she sacrifices herself and turns into sea foam. Yep. She dies. Though she does get into heaven, so it isn’t all bad. In the Disney tale, she’s so not interested in the human world for the Prince initially. Instead, Ariel has collected a trove of human trinkets and treasures that make the people on hoarders look like bare minimalists. She is obsessed with everything about the human world, and to her sisters, father, and friends, that is just the weirdest thing. She’s sort of like that goth teenage daughter who drives their parents insane by painting their fingernails black and blasting Marilyn Manson. Well, her daddy-o, King Tritan, ain’t having it. He’s like, “Yo, Ariel, you’re a mermaid, be happy with that! Now I’m going to destroy all your stuff!” Great move dad… you’ve got an angsty teenage daughter and you blow up all her stuff. There will be no repercussions from that. But… let’s be honest, Ariel… I think you had it pretty sweet living Under the Sea… I mean you’re a freaking mermaid! None the less, she completely defies her father’s wishes, and goes to visit the notoriously evil Sea Witch, Ursula. Ursula lives in this sort of back alley cave, and it totally looks like Ariel is going to buy some weird drugs from her. And she kind of does. Yep. She sells her soul to the witch. When it comes to rebels, selling your soul to a Witch and leaving your family for another world is pretty dang rebellious.
3. Tinkerbell from Peter Pan
Tinkerbell is rebellious in both the original novelization by J M Barrie as well as the Disney flick, though probably a bit worse in the book. In the novel, Tink is a jealous and spoiled little fairy who loves Peter, and hates Wendy. She even tricks the Lost Boys into shooting Wendy while she flies through the air, striking Wendy’s heart with an arrow (though as it turned out, Wendy was spared as she was wearing a necklace.) That’s pretty psychotic, Tink. That’s some Mean Girls stuff from there. In the Disney movie, she’s still pretty snotty. She pulls Wendy’s hair, sticks her tongue out spitefully, and even betrays Peter by revealing Peter’s hidden location to Captain Hook in a fit of jealous rage. She’s like an hormonal ticking time bomb. Someone get this chick some Midol, for real. But I do love her wild and free-spirited pixie nature. She’s a ball of emotions, but she knows what she wants, and won’t even let a human girl stand in her way. Gotta love it.
4. Meg from Hercules
Meg is an anti-hero, for sure. She starts off as the bad guy, and you don’t get any more rebellious than that. She’s in league with Hades, paying off her debt to him by helping him with his evil deeds and wicked chores. Yeah. She kind of sold her soul to the devil. Really Disney!? Now of course, she originally did this because she was in love with a guy. So it’s not like she’s a total idiot. “People do crazy things… when they’re in love.” And Meg is true blue: she loved a man so much she gave up her soul for him. And from the get go, she is conniving and sneaky, tricky Hercules into falling for her, so she can have her soul back. Hades wants him dead, you see, and Meg is totes willing to oblige to get her soul back from Hades. Ultimately, she ends up falling for Hunkules and rebels against her… rebelliousness. She’s all over the place, really. But I love that about her.
Mulan! That gender-bending balls-to-the-wall crazy chick from China. Her father is drafted into the war, despite him being older and injured, so she’s all like, “Nope.” She chops off her long hair, suits up in her father’s armor, and enlists on his behalf. So she’s going to war, dressed as a man, on behalf of her family. You are breaking all the rules, girl. It’s the first time a Disney Princess has kind of been a Disney Prince. She even has an entire song about how she doesn’t feel right wearing all that traditional geisha make-up, and prancing around in fancy dresses. She really loves that rough and tumble tomboy lifestyle. And on ABC’s Once Upon A Time, it’s even revealed that she’s bisexual! Woah! But in this particular time period in Ancient China, for a daughter to commit this heinous act, is probably punishable by death. Definitely punishable by death. She takes the cake on this list, for being the most crazy rebellious of all the Disney princesses. Go Fa Mulan!