Since times unknown, fictional princesses have been visualized as fragile beings which their Prince Charming must rescue. Being in touch with nature pits them as softhearted individuals who need to rely on a male figure for sustenance. Anyhow, in recent years Disney has given somewhat equal precedence to the portrayal of brave princesses.
Disney caters to a huge audience, out of which the animated content attracts the younger demographic. We have a plethora of superhero movies emerging from the same studio generally glorifying male characters. Therefore, bringing forth diverse representations has become a necessity—especially the kind that can speak to kids and inspire each one of them from the beginning itself.
This is why we took it upon ourselves to present you with a list of the Bravest Disney Princesses. If fearless women characters are your sole force of motivation, then you’ve come to the right place.
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Let’s read on to find out how each one of them challenged the social status quo to emerge as strong voices within the fictional realm.
Bravest Disney Princesses
12. Tinker Bell
Owing to the fact that Tinker Bell is counted as one of the fairies, she isn’t exactly a princess, but that doesn’t take away that she is one of the bravest female Disney characters out there. Hence, it’s safe to reserve a spot for her on this list. Birthed from Peter Pan’s tale, she has secured an exclusive space for herself in the Disney-verse. This can be attributed to her lovable and quite relatable personality.
Tinker Bell isn’t portrayed as a grand character, yet one cannot ignore how loyal and confident she is. You can ask Peter himself, and he will affirm this well-known fact for you if you need any further assurance. Her mind works in great ways, and so she never backs away from a challenge; rather, she will rise up to it and prove that she’s the best at what she does, even if it means righting her own wrongs as she did in Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure.
It would be a disgrace to leave out our favourite mermaid princess when discussing the bravest Disney princesses. Ariel is the embodiment of the term “best of both worlds.” She is the only non-human princess among the lot, but she gets her shot at being a human being as well. Frankly speaking, she slays both these sides to herself.
Any of us might’ve been easily scared out of our wits if we had to face Ursula. On the other hand, Ariel has no problem dealing with her even after losing her voice to the evil sorceress. Furthermore, it’s not easy being the daughter of King Triton, yet her lovable personality is enough to soften her dad’s heart. Besides that, she always finds a way out to swim to the top of the sea surface and admire the beauty above. With all that on her back, she even saves Prince Eric without breaking a sweat.
Characters become even more special when they’re based on real-life people. It’s become a pattern for Disney princesses to break the unfair societal norms and forge a new path for themselves. This is exactly what makes them the brave and lionhearted characters we have come to love.
Considering the colonial endeavor, a Native American woman and an English man falling in love with each other may be seen as an unacceptable turn of events by the Native population. Not only do they come from contrasting cultures and backgrounds, but their respective sides have also grown into sworn enemies with conflicting value systems. In a situation as grave as this, Pocahontas emerges as a bold leader endorsing peace across the two sides. She becomes the tying link and bridges the gap between the two, reminding them of their human values.
Not only is Belle one of the bravest Disney princesses, but she is also one of the most intelligent ones. Her story starts by depicting her as a strong-willed woman who loves to read. This move smartly puts it across to us that she’s not on the lookout for a prince, or any man for that matter.
Even after she is taken in as the Beast’s prisoner, she still stays the same. Her opinions never waver despite being in a completely foreign space, and she keeps up her independent persona under his roof. Contrarily, when followed around by Gaston, she dismisses the idea of marriage with a man like him out front. Her relationship with the Beast is also a genuine one, especially because she too is well aware of the feeling of being outcasted by society.
Being trapped in isolation can give birth to the worst in the best of us, but that doesn’t work on the purest soul of them all, Rapunzel. Having spent most of her life locked up in a tower with no access to the outside world, Rapunzel is easily one of the bravest Disney princesses.
Separated from her parents at birth, Rapunzel grows up believing her abductor to be her mother. Her lost sense of identity confines her and reduces her individuality to her magic hair, which is deemed the sole cause of her uniqueness. Despite staying aloof from her own and the world’s reality, she never stops dreaming of escaping one day. One’s self-esteem would’ve been shattered in such a situation, yet Rapunzel remains hopeful till the day she finally makes it out. Even after that, she doesn’t fret when she has to face robust thugs and cleverly fights her way out. The sheer strength of her determination helps her achieve all this, thereby proving how strong-willed she truly is.
Tigers scare away the best of the best, but not Jasmine. This brave Disney princess literally has a tiger as her pet, which says a lot about her. She is a headstrong character who stands for her beliefs. Certain sources reduce her portrayal to being Aladdin’s love-interest, but it’s more than evident that she is the worthiest candidate for the post of Sultan. On the other hand, her warm heartedness is reflected in her love for her people and her just character.
Serving as a princess comes with a price that thrusts a whole lot of expectations onto Jasmine. Nevertheless, the old animated version of the character already stood up against the people who demeaned her and voiced out her agency by marrying the person she loved. The modern and latest rendition of the live-action movie’s character is an even more empowering figure. The song “Speechless” featured in the movie voices her insecurities while she makes a firm claim that “I won’t be silenced/ You can’t keep me quiet/ Won’t tremble when you try it/ All I know is I won’t go speechless.”
Dreaming is the easiest thing one can do, but working ahead to translate it into reality is the hardest task one can accomplish. Leave it to Tiana to fulfill her dreams and make her parents proud. She is probably the bravest Disney princess out there in the most unconventional Disney terms.
Although the movie Princess and the Frog introduces supernatural elements like Dark Magic, one of the most important arcs is that of Tiana and her ultimate dream of opening a restaurant. Most of the Disney princesses we know are either merely running away from witches and waiting for their prince to save them. However, Tiana is a realistic character who looks forward to financial stability and aims to achieve it based on her hard work. She works tirelessly to win this battle against a society that’s hungry for power and gives precedence to the aristocracy. Therefore, it becomes a race against time for her as she aims to climb the social hierarchy ladder.
The first installment of the Frozen franchise already proved how brave Anna is. While Elsa had to deal with her icy powers, Anna never left her side. An entire montage depicts how she persistently kept at it to appeal to her sister to come out and spend time with her. She was just as lonely as Elsa was after their parents’ death, yet she tries to be as cheerful as possible because she acknowledged that they only had each other. At the end of the first movie, she proves this by literally melting her sister’s fear by embracing her and letting her know that she’s not alone.
The sequel further develops her character individually while simultaneously strengthening the bond shared by the two sisters. Anna is the kind of person who’d stay by your side and assure you that you’re not a monster. And so, despite all her ebullience, she’s quite mature and understanding; basically, the best kind of sister, friend, and person one could hope to become.
Elsa used to be the Queen, but she had to step down from her position due to her out-of-hand powers. More importantly, she did so because she didn’t want her sister to get in harm’s way. Turbulent thoughts in her head created havoc for her, yet she is still one of the bravest Disney Princesses because she kept going on.
After her parents’ demise, she confined herself to her room just so that she wouldn’t end up hurting her sister. We can’t ignore the fact that she had to deal with her icy abilities during her childhood as she was grieving the death of her parents. Although Anna offers to help, we know that her powers’ nature was quite puzzling, and therefore Elsa couldn’t fall back on anyone and had to manage them herself. Furthermore, she grows up to become a disciplined and orderly Queen who knows how to balance the affairs at hand despite her personal issues.
Perseverance and determination are two qualities best possessed by courageous characters, and Moana, being one of our bravest Disney princesses, can relate to it very well. Ever since she was a baby, her elders forbid her to go anywhere near the ocean. Nevertheless, she kept holding on to her pure dream and finally attained it by sailing across and becoming the sole protector of her island.
Moana’s demeanor is similar to that of a child. That’s because she is one. Still, that’s not enough to stop her. Our young and fearless princess is even good at negotiation since she persuaded Maui to accompany her to restore the heart of Te Fiti. Finally, her restoring the heart at its right place is probably the most emotional moment of the entire movie. It’s hard to hold your tears back as you witness Moana prove herself, leaving no stone unturned.
This Disney character’s tale may seem a bit cliche, but taking on an entire army isn’t as easy as Mulan makes it seem to be. Multiple sources claim her to be the Bravest Disney Princess, and they’re not wrong! It may be seen as a regular task for a young man to take his father’s place in the army. However, it takes a lot of courage for Mulan to step forward for this. She isn’t just pulling a brave face by doing so. In fact, she has to fight a patriarchal society that only pushes women into the realm of domesticity.
Her struggles require her to engage in a tussle with the community for her morals and beliefs. Before getting into a battle of arms, she has to divulge into a mental game of destabilizing the hegemonic hierarchy that solely seeks to empower men and treats women as bystanders of History.
Merida and Mulan have become the sole bearers of taking the top spot alternatively in terms of being the bravest Disney princesses. This doesn’t come as a surprise. Rather it is a very well-deserved stance earned by these characters. Both, in their own ways, subvert the social paradigm ascribed to women. This becomes an even highly notable feat achieved by them because they’re only 16 years old in their respective movies.
It has been essentially normalized to wed girls when they reach a certain age. Merida’s parents are on the lookout for a decent suitor for her as well. They’re especially pressurized because Merida’s father is the King, and so his daughter must follow the social order and obey her parents. However, she reaches beyond that constricting set of ideals to establish an identity for herself. This is avidly represented in her cry to carve out a path for herself when she declares that “I am Merida, firstborn descendant of Clan DunBroch, and I’ll be shooting for my own hand.” By doing so, she asserts her subjectivity, even if it demands a face-off against the entire clan.
That’s it from our side! We would love to hear your take on the case of Bravest Disney Princesses. Let’s follow their good examples and lead our own respective narratives courageously like them. Thank you for staying with us this long!