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Many of us grew up watching Disney movies and playing Dress-Up with princess dresses and tiaras. Looking back, idolizing movies where a damsel in distress waits for Prince Charming to save her was not the best for our senses of self-worth and confidence as young girls. However, since then, Disney has released movies that are more feminist and more inclusive. If you want to watch a wholesome film, consider one of these feminist Disney movies (in no particular order) …

1. Moana

There is no hint of a love interest in Moana. Instead of finding someone, the movie is about finding yourself. Also, in one scene, Moana asserts that she is not a princess, but the daughter of the chief. Her mission is to save her island, not herself.

2. Brave

Merida rejects her apparent need of a suitor and actively seeks to change her fate instead of just accepting it. The movie is also a great mother-daughter story, showing the different but co-existing sides of feminism.

3. Lilo and Stitch

Lilo and Stitch is a touching story about sisterhood and family. Nani has to raise her little sister, Lilo, all on her own and always puts Lilo before her love interest. We also cannot forget how despite not fitting in with the girls in her luau class, Lilo does not change herself.

4. Frozen

Another tale of sisterhood…First of all, Elsa does not need a man to be queen and seeks her freedom from a kingdom that judges her. When she does return, it is out of love for her sister. And ultimately, Anna puts her sister first – before herself and her love interest. The love between sisters is the most powerful force of all.

5. Mulan

Mulan defies gender stereotypes and not only proves that she can do everything a man can do, but that she can do it better. She does not let anything hold her back and saves China, showing that women deserve the same respect as men.

6. Tangled

Disney revamps the classic tale of Rapunzel with a feminist take. Rapunzel does not wait for life to begin and, on her own, frees herself from her tower. She takes her hair and a frying pan – two classic symbols of femininity – and reappropriates them, using them as power. Also, Rapunzel ends up saving the man, not the other way around.

7. Beauty and the Beast

Although the story has some Stockholm syndrome mixed in, Belle is still a very feminist character – in both the original and live action. She educated herself so she could think for herself. She also rejects patriarchal ideals and the cocky Gaston, who only values her looks. When it comes to Beast, Belle actually orders him to change and be a decent person. We can all learn from Belle, who wants “much more than this provincial life.”

8. The Princess and the Frog

Tiana works effortlessly to try to achieve her dream of opening her own restaurant all on her own. She only kisses the frog in hopes that the Prince will reward her with money for her dream. The movie shows us that women must work hard to be successful.

9. Zootopia

Besides combatting other cultural issues, Zootopia also addresses feminism within the character, Judy Hopps. Despite being told she could never be a police officer, she fights to be the best one. Being in a male/large animal-dominated field does not intimidate her; it motivates her. She defies the roles society tries to make her conform to and saves her city.

10. Aladdin

Jasmine battles against the oppressive law of arranged marriage, rejecting men who want to marry her and escaping her palace to see what else the world has to offer. She proclaims, “I am not a prize to be won,” and forces the law to change so she has the power to marry whomever she wants, and so she can control her own future.

Disney movies are increasingly becoming more feminist, teaching children strong values of work ethic and determination. The new live actions, like Beauty and the Beast, are also giving feminist twists to the classic stories. So, next time you need a movie marathon but also want to feel empowered, consider one of these feminist movies.


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Alexandra Kallfelz is a senior studying journalism at Boston University. Besides writing, Alexandra's passions include color guard, travel, Netflix, music, and Disney. She is a pure-blood New Englander and a dog fanatic.
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