The movies have come a long way from showing women as the damsels in distress that they used to, and Disney is one of those that have changed their characters quite a bit over the years. It might have started happening a while ago, but the fact is that the women that are a part of the Disney family now are undeniably tough and have shown as much in their own movies over the past couple of decades and more. I know very well that including the Marvel characters would be a wise idea, but I did want to stay a little more traditional since some of these characters deserve a lot of attention and the Mouse House does deserve some credit for making these female characters into those that are capable of doing more than waiting for a prince to come and save them. These are the ladies that are bound and determined to do things on their own. With that said, here are ten of the toughest female Disney characters.
10. Belle – Beauty & The Beast
Belle was one of the first that really showed more than an ounce of toughness since to put up with the Beast, who was anything but kind or patient, she had to snap back a few times in order to remind him that she wasn’t about to be intimidated. In terms of being a physical person she was still lagging behind, but she had the heart and the will that was necessary to be a strong person.
9. Rapunzel – Tangled
Admittedly, Rapunzel was still a bit timid at times, but once she was out of her tower and started to take in the world around her, the confidence she needed started to grow, at least until she was tricked into seclusion once again, almost. If she needed a man for anything though, it was to agree to take her to see the floating lights, since everything else came after and was kind of a formality.
8. Tiana – The Princess and the Frog
Tiana is another character that isn’t physically imposing in any way, but she’s got the heart and brains to be an interesting character since her ingenuity and her ability to keep moving forward are impressive. That, and the fact that she’s as fearless as they come at times is definitely a reason for putting her on this list.
7. Jasmine – Aladdin
One might be able to say that Jasmine has a little more courage than others because she has the backing of her royal lineage, but that wouldn’t be entirely accurate since she’s still a fiery-tempered individual that enjoys being a free-thinker and doesn’t want to be tied to anyone that will see her as just a woman. This is just a part of what makes her so tough, and her attitude is another.
6. Elizabeth Swann – Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
It’s true that throughout history, women have been looked down upon and discounted far too often. While this might have been a nice work of fiction when it came to pirates and how things work, it was still inspiring since Elizabeth went from being a lady to commanding a fleet of pirates. True, in reality, pirates are typically brigands that are looking to do bad things, but it doesn’t take much to see them in another light.
5. Merida – Brave
I have to admit a personal bias since I do like this character a lot, but there’s more to it since not only is she possessed of a serious amount of attitude that is sometimes encouraged by her father, but she’s the type of young woman that stands up for herself even when it gets her in trouble. Merida strikes me as the type of person that doesn’t even beg for forgiveness that often and rarely asks for permission.
4. Mulan – Mulan
It’s true that the Chinese didn’t appear to appreciate the way this movie was made, but in the interest of making fiction, some liberties are going to be taken, which is something that one might think that every nation would recognize when it comes to legends, myths, and even reality. It’s not so much that dissenters need to calm down about this movie, but it is accurate to say that they might need to take a chill pill and realize it was a real character who was made into a child’s story that was meant to be inspirational.
3. Moana – Moana
People actually tried to gripe about the representation that Moana and her people were given, but the truth is that there were a few body types in her village and despite the fact that Maui was a huge, buff demigod, the same idea as was mentioned above applies. It’s a KIDS movie, not a documentary on how things went way back in the day.
2. Elsa – Frozen
Out of most of the Disney characters on this list, Elsa is without a doubt one of the most dangerous since she has the kind of power that could make her a true terror if she had no moral compass. But thankfully, this movie made it clear that she didn’t want to hurt anyone, but the fear she held onto was what was tripping her up.
1. Princess Leia – Star Wars: The Last Jedi
This is the type of person, yes, and woman, that one could find themselves following simply because she’s the right person for the job and because she cares deeply about the people that follow her. Out of all the leaders in the Disney movies and shows, Princess Leia is one of the only characters that has been loved by just about everyone. The female characters of Disney have toughened up a lot, and it’s very inspiring.