So sometimes I wonder what the criteria is to get into the official line of Disney Princesses. The main roster is pretty self-evident and makes sense: Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora/Sleeping Beauty, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Tiana, Rapunzel, and now Merida. Okie-dokie! Less marketed, but still “Official”, are Pocahontas – okay, still with ya there – and… Mulan. Which is where I stop and say “Wait, what?” because Mulan isn’t a princess. Like, at all. She’s a rural peasant who saves her nation but she’s still not actually royalty. Not even by marriage. Not like nobody else has ever pointed this out, or anything, and I like Mulan so I’m not trying to dis her at all, but she’s just not a princess. So why is she there, but others aren’t – let’s say, Alice, or Wendy, or… or Mary Poppins? Well, it’s not really relevant to the rest of this article, so let’s let that one drop. 😀
Anyway, what really is odd to me though is the fact that they brought in Mulan but they leave out a few actual legit princesses. More than a few really, they have numerous princesses over the years – official princesses – who just haven’t been interesting, main-character-ish, or – let’s go ahead and say it – profitable enough to rate official inclusion in the Princess line. So with all that said, here’s my Top 5 Forgotten Princesses (plus an Honourable Mention, because I can do that when I want to!).
Honourable Mention: Charlotte LaBouf (Princess and the Frog).
Yes, Tiana is the ACTUAL Princess by the end of the movie, and as I always like to point out, she has the best princess dress design EVER (lily pads!!); but let’s not forget that her friend Charlotte is a princess, in more than one way, quite before Tiana. Enough so that she even fulfills the “Kiss A Princess” rule, albeit temporarily! Okay, Charlotte is really a princess wannabe, but she lands the role for 24 hours anyway, and she’s been living the lifestyle for pretty much her whole life. This one doesn’t really rank, b/c she’s a backup in a movie that HAS a “legit” Princess, but hey. I love Charlotte almost as much as I love Tiana, and I’d like to see her more. So there! 😀
Now on to the real list!
#5: Tiger Lilly, Peter Pan
Indian Princess Tiger Lilly is really a background character with no actual lines (except half of a word), and she’s really not “glamourous” the way the official Princesses have to be. Plus I suppose they’ve already got Pocahontas filling out the “Native American” requirement. But let’s be fair, if Poca counts then Tiger counts too! She fills all the typical requirements of her time: rescued by the hero, remains noble, even gets a little kiss in by the end. 😉 Despite my jab at first about her lacking the glamour factor, I think it would be kind of nice to have a young princess get some attention in this line. Without being glittered up like they tried to do with Merida. Never happen, but it would be a message I’d like to see from the Princess line, which I find a little – um, questionable in certain aspects. You can be a Princess, hold yourself in high esteem, be valued and respected, and be YOURSELF. (Okay… I confess I’m glossing over the less-PC aspects of the portrayal of the Indian tribe in Peter Pan. I don’t care to go into it with this particular Top 5 list, but it’s a legit complaint in terms of example being promoted, and we’ll leave it at that.)
#4: Eilonwy, The Black Cauldron
There is actually a good chance you have no idea who this is. 😀 That is, if you haven’t seen “The Black Cauldron”, the – well, the animated flop from the mid-80s. It’s based on a rather good series of books fantasy books, but they didn’t do the best adaptation of all-time. A bit on the boring side as I recall. Eilonwy is a fun character – more so in the books, they kind of defanged her a little in the movie – but she is indeed a princess, and a bit of an enchantress, too. And she’s cute as a little firecracker button, she is! She’s got a temper and a giant stubborn streak in the books, as I recall, though she mellows over the course of them; in the movie, she’s just a bit feisty, if I’m remembering right. I’d like to see her again, regardless. I like her name, her design, and her general Eilonwyness.
#3: Megara, Hercules
C’mon. Megara. Megara, guys. She’s got one of the best songs of any Disney film out of the later half of the 1990s, she’s a great conflicted character, and really now… wife of the son of the king of the gods? You’re going to tell me that doesn’t count as a princess? FEH. Megara ought to be represented here. You know why she isn’t – because she doesn’t have a big poofy dress. THAT’S WHY. Well, maybe it’s also because she spends half the movie working for the bad guy, or because she’s quick with a sarcastic quip, and maybe Disney decided that wasn’t the “image” they were promoting with their Princess line. That makes more sense than the dress thing, I guess. If you ask me, that’s WHY she should be included in the Princess line. DIVERSITY, Disney! Not all princesses have to have good attitudes all the time!
#2: Kida, Atlantis
I haven’t seen this movie since it came out. I’m not even joking. I haven’t seen it since 1999 or whenever it was released. 1998? I don’t know. I was looking forward to Atlantis and I was more than a little let down by it, though I enjoyed it, I guess. I don’t remember it that well since I haven’t seen it since. 🙂 But I still think Kida honestly should be recognized here, even if it’s just as a “backup” the way Pocahontas is. She’s got an interesting design, she’s powerful, independent, smart, and maybe kind of dangerous. But kind. She’s a very different kind of princess, one with experience and wisdom, and I bet she’d be the oldest member of the Princess line if she made it on there. I’m not just saying that because she has white hair, I know that’s just cosmetic. 😉 But weren’t the inhabitants of Atlantis all, like, hundreds of years old? Oh well. Bring out Kida. Her movie should be given another fair shake, and I’ll tell you why: Because the guy who plays Father Guido Sarducci is in it, and I could listen to him read the phone book and still laugh.
#1: Giselle, Enchanted
Okay, if I’m honest, Giselle doesn’t meet the standards for Princess-hood either (see my complaint about Mulan). But she SHOULD. Sure, she isn’t actually a princess at the start of the movie, but really, all that’s missing is the formal title! She talks to animals, wears floofy dresses, has flowers in her hair, and breaks into spontaneous song in public parks. And manages to get others doing the same. Everyone else on this list is debatable, but Giselle IS a Disney Princess, and Disney knows it. She was a walkaround character for a while and nearly was added to the permanent pantheon. However, what I’ve read (might not be true, this is the internet) is that, because she was portrayed by a living person, Disney did not own the intellectual copyright on her appearance and would have to pay royalties to Amy Adams, the actress who portrayed her, if they wanted to use her image. Since this is a unique case among their princesses, they removed her from the lineup instead. 😦
So! Share your thoughts in the comments! Please don’t pick any PC arguments though. It’s not a matter of whether or not I think they’re valid, I’m just not going after that right now. 🙂 I’ve mentioned before that I like to keep this blog mainly positive, and if I’m going to debate things like Disney and PC, I’m going to do it in a different post. Thanks for being respectful! 🙂