Strong Female Role Models in Disney Movies
When we think about Disney’s female role models our mind inevitably turns to the princesses and eponymous heroines. But there are so many other really strong female characters that fly under the radar. Here are some of my favorites. I bet they jog a “oh yeah, she’s great” response in you!
1. Nala (the Lion King)
Come on, you know it, I know it, we all know it, if Nala had not decided to venture into the desert to find adult Simba, then Scar would have been able to take over the entire animal kingdom and The Lion King would have had a very different ending! The young lioness’s courage and conviction is the true turning point in the entire film.
2. Kanga (the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh)
The adorable and loveable characters of Hundred Acre Wood are a pretty rag tag bunch really. With all their scrapes and adventures, they need someone to look after them. Step up Kanga. Not only is she mom to baby Roo, but she’s a strong mother figure to all the creatures of the woodland.
3. Wendy (Peter Pan)
For such a young girl, Wendy took a lot of responsibility in her stride. She was not only a mother figure to the Lost Boys in Neverland, but also had the courage to stand up for herself and let Peter Pan know at some point, he was going to have to grow up and save the day. We also see at many points during the film that she is completely fearless, a great quality to have.
4. Mrs. Potts (Beauty & the Beast)
Voiced by the legendary Angela Lansbury, Mrs. Potts is pretty much the matriarch of Beast’s enchanted castle and she knows how to get things done! She looks out for all of the magical household staff, including her incredibly cute son Chip, and is one of the first to welcome Belle into the community and make her feel less scared and more at home.
5. Megara (Hercules)
Megara, or Meg for short, is one of the great Disney female role models. She’s a strong, sassy woman who can more than handle herself. Hercules has his work cut out for himself in trying to woo this feisty lady, and though Meg’s character does revolve a lot around the theme of romance, she is still developed enough to be a three dimensional character within the film.
6. Esmeralda (the Hunchback of Notre Dame)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame is one of Disney’s most underrated films, as is the character of Esmeralda, voiced by Demi Moore. In a city full of unkindness, Esmeralda shows pity towards Quasimodo and sets a brilliant example of how we should treat one another in life. A wonderful role model in the Disney universe.
7. Lady Cluck (Robin Hood)
To put it simply, Lady Cluck does not have time for any of your nonsense! This bold and bubbly chicken proves to be a match for any foe in Disney’s animal version of the classic folk tale, and her archery skills are most definitely on point. Do not mess with Lady Cluck, she will show you what it’s all about!
8. Kala (Tarzan)
Kala is more than a match for any number of leopard villains in Tarzan, and she shows her inspiring maternal side when she fiercely protects baby Tarzan from danger and brings him up as one of her own. Kala sees past difference in species and loves and cares for a child in need, which is a great message to put across.
9. Jessie (Toy Story 2)
Jessie is everything that Woody is, with the added bonus of being a kick-ass female role model! She also has a heartbreaking backstory of being abandoned by her owner, and her ability to recover and find the strength to be an integral player in the antics of Toy Story 2 is testament to her personal strength!
Who is your favorite non-princess/lead character female role model in the Disney movies?