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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

"Ranked:Disney Princesses From Least To Most Feminist" Response

With the trend of so-called "feminist" Disney princesses in more recent years, many feminists are bashing the older princesses for "not being feminist enough". Is this true? If a female meets "feminist" standards more than "conventionally feminine" standards, does that make her a better female? I thought feminism claimed to be about choice and women being able to choose whichever kind of woman they wanted to be?

Many feminists like to say that feminism is the "belief that women are equal to men/deserve equal rights". If this is real feminism then how can anyone compare how feminist they are without creating specific standards to be a feminist? Once you add these standards, you are no longer talking about equal rights between men and women. These "standards" bully and pressure girls and women to conform to a certain type of "feminist" rather than being encouraged to make their own choices.

Take this article for example: Ranked: Disney Princesses From Least To Most Feminist
*Note: This article only lists franchise princesses from Snow White to Rapunzel

(Article comments in regular font, my response/comments in bold; Rankings are the article's, not my own:)

10. Aurora

"Aurora has no interesting qualities; she's pretty, demure, and generally kind, in the way princesses are (i.e., "to animals)."

So feminists can't be pretty or demure or generally kind? Why are those the only qualities listed anyway? Poetic and philosophical aren't interesting? When Aurora is out singing in the forest, she sings:

"I wonder, I wonder
I wonder why each little bird has a someone
To sing to, sweet things to
A gay little lark melody?
I wonder if my heart keeps singing, 
Will my song go winging
To someone, who'll find me
And bring back a love song to me?"

The way Aurora articulates herself is very poetic. Unlike Snow White who wishes for love and Cinderella who might dream for love, Aurora wonders about love and is talking here about the concept of soul mates and how it works.

How can someone say she has no interesting qualities? She is also strong and humble, willing to make sacrifices and put her kingdom before herself. While some people might not agree with this choice of hers, isn't feminism supposed to be out respecting a woman's choice?

"The early Disney films were all strange fables with beautiful scenery and women who made no choices for themselves."

This just isn't true at all. Even in Sleeping Beauty, the main heroines are the 3 good fairies who are all women. They get the most screen time of all of the characters. They do equal or more work than Phillip to save Aurora. Their choice to take Aurora into the forest and raise her for 16 years was completely their idea and it beat out the King's choice.

9. Snow White

"Snow White also conveniently falls asleep for much of this film"

Clearly this person has never really seen this film as Snow White is awake for the majority of the film. She only goes to sleep at the end, after she meets the prince for the first time, after she is warned by the Huntsman to run away, after she finds the Dwarfs' cottage and cleans it then falls asleep, after she meets the Dwarfs and makes them wash up for dinner, after they all have a song and dance after dinner and she tells them the story of her falling in love, after she sends them all off to work, after she bakes the pie for Grumpy and after she gets tricked by the Evil Queen. Then she eats the apple and falls asleep, the Dwarfs chase the Queen and she dies, the Prince gives Snow a kiss of true love and she wakes up. So the notion that she's asleep for much of the film is a lie.

"she doesn't demonstrate a lot of agency or courage. Still, she outranks Aurora, because when she runs sobbing to the tiny cottage and finds that it's populated with seven small men, she doesn't turn tail and flee. She puts some steel into her spine and makes do, which is pretty impressive for a woman who talks to birds."

Snow White is told that her stepmother wants her dead and that she has to leave everything she knows behind, including the new love she finally found after being treated so horribly. She has a frightening ordeal in a dark, scary forest and yes, she cries at the end like a regular human being might do after going through such a traumatizing event. However, then something happens. She chooses to be optimistic, to stop her crying and focus on finding a solution rather than focusing on the problem. She is all alone yet she has the courage as a princess to figure out how to make do with her new life. She doesn't go sobbing to the cottage, she finds the cottage because she asks the animals if they know of a safe place where she can go.

Not only does she not turn and flee when she realizes the cottage owners are the seven small men, but she basically runs that house and becomes their leader. She doesn't "put some steel into her spine", she was courageous and strong to begin with. That's why all that time being treated like a servant didn't break her.

8. Cinderella

"I've never understood why kids enjoy this movie, because it's just one disaster after another"

Actually, this movie shows the ups-and-downs of life and how we have to be able to handle both. Towards the beginning, Gus is in a mouse trap but Cinderella frees him; the mice successfully devise a plan to distract Lucifer so they can all get food; when Cinderella cannot make her own dress, the animals step in and do it for her; when the evil stepsisters destroy Cinderella's dress, the Fairy Godmother comes in and makes things even better than they were before; when Cinderella is trapped in her room, the animal friends (she had chosen to make) help her escape; when Lady Tremaine (evil stepmother) trips the royal guy and the glass slipper breaks, Cinderella pulls the other shoe she chose to keep, out of her pocket and guarantees her own freedom.

"not only is this poor girl kind of enslaved, but then pretty much everything she tries to do to make her life better blows up in her face. Anyway, Cinderella doesn't get much of a chance to be feminist"

Except that her choices don't blow up in her face, they lead to her finding her happy ending. Cinderella was never going to be invited to the ball but she chose to stand up for herself, cite the law and assert her right to go. In that moment her entire life changed because it led to meeting her Fairy Godmother and her true love in the Prince.

"Of course, she still needs to be rescued by outside forces, so it's hard to place her too highly."

So if a gunman held you hostage and the police had to rescue you, would that make you less of a feminist because you couldn't take out the gunman and rescue yourself? As stated before, Cinderella did her part in making the choices to stand up for herself where she could, but we don't live in this world alone and a fact of life is that at one point or another, we are going to need someone else's help. That doesn't make us a weaker person, it makes us part of a society.

7. Ariel

"But on the other hand, the thing she loves is a boy she saw playing a flute on a boat for twenty seconds."

Loving a boy should be Ariel's choice. What's so bad about wanting love or fighting for it? Are feminists not allowed to fall in love? Furthermore, it is not "a boy she saw playing a flute on a boat for twenty seconds" and I have made an entire argument defending this relationship which I will not go into again now. (Link provided.)

"Ariel disempowers herself for the patriarchy, actually trading her voice — her voice — for a chance with a cute boy."

Honestly did this person even see the movie? Ariel traded her voice to a matriarchal figure, a woman, Ursula, who knowingly took advantage of her. She traded her voice for everything she ever wanted - to be on land and the "cute boy" that she fell for was a bonus. Again, is there a rule that feminists aren't allowed to have feelings for cute boys?

"She's either mute or unable to walk until the very end, when her father has to bestow freedom upon her."

She's either mute or unable to walk because of the choice she made or because of the woman who tricked her (Ursula). When her father bestows "freedom", it was more than that: He was using his power for something that she wanted and even though he was the king and father, he was submitting to what she wanted and accepting that he had been wrong and she was right.

"Oh yeah, and the whole time, she's wearing a clamshell bikini."

Are feminists not allowed to wear 2-piece bathing suits? Does this person know Ariel is supposed to be a mermaid - which in some myths are often just topless? Doesn't feminism fight for women's choice to wear what they want? Then how is that used against her?

"her overall message isn't terribly progressive."

How is it not progressive? Ariel transcends two completely different cultures. While her father is limited to his fear and bad experiences with this other group, Ariel is the one who is progressive and open-minded and even eventually gets her father to change his mind. How is that not progressive?

6. Belle

"Her major feat might be that instead of giving up her voice, she voluntarily makes herself a prisoner, but that's not much of a step for womankind. At least she's empowered enough to resent her imprisonment, though."

While I think Belle's choice to voluntarily become a prisoner was foolish and impulsive, what does that have to do with being a step for womankind? The way this person talks, I'm sure they would not have appreciated Belle going back to the village and getting "outside forces" to rescue her father so what did they expect? Would they have preferred for Belle to be a murderer and killed the Beast to rescue her father? Or for her to have been murdered by the Beast trying to physically fight him? And why would resenting oneself for the choice they made be a sign of empowerment? She put her family before herself because she wanted to. Why is that selflessness not considered empowering?

"she's the first princess to express some skepticism about married life."

So do feminism and anti-marriage go hand-in-hand? Why would being skeptical about marriage in general be considered empowering? Furthermore, Belle didn't express skepticism about married life, she expressed skepticism about marrying someone like Gaston. She told her father that she wanted love, but she had higher standards for a marriage partner than Gaston. That's empowering.

"But ultimately, Belle falls for a domineering man, because she thinks she can change him."

Anyone who watches this film knows that she did change him. That's the whole point of the film and his physical transformation proves it. The way the Beast was before, was not deserving of love. Her positive example and willingness to meet him half way is what helped him change and become a better man. This is very representative of what happens when men (or women) fall in love - they often start worrying about this other person more than themselves and it changes their perspective and makes them less selfish. This was a tribute to how much better Belle's character was then pretty much all of the male - and other female - characters around her.

5. Jasmine

"Like Belle, she's skeptical of marriage, and demonstrates the same nerve and curiosity."

Wrong. Like Belle, she demonstrates a desire and determination to marry for love and not convenience, power or status.

"Jasmine is also pretty brave in matters of the heart, falling for a completely inadequate "street rat" and whisking him out of poverty, instead of the other way around."

Why is it considered brave when Jasmine falls in love but not the other princesses, especially when the other princesses have more reason to be skeptical of love? Snow, Cinderella and Aurora had all (presumably) grown up for quite some time without a father to show them a positive example. Jasmine did grow up with her father though and had a man who loved her before Aladdin - albeit different ways. Why was it not brave of Ariel to fall in love with someone from a different species or for Belle to fall in love with the Beast? It seems the only reason Jasmine is being considered "brave" here is because of the feminist agenda to get more women to pay for men instead of the other way around. Why should that be forced on women? Why can't some women choose the original way, especially if they find it to be more romantic and their husband still respects them for that choice?

"Unfortunately, Jasmine's only power lies in her sexuality. At the end of the movie, she's reduced to seducing Jafar to save her life. And though that's sometimes the only power women have in the real world, it's sad to think of little girls walking away with that message."

This is not Jasmine's only power but unfortunately, it's the one she keeps choosing. Jasmine is intelligent and outspoken, she just hasn't learned to harness those powers the way she did with her sexuality. I do agree that little girls should not be taught to focus on their sexuality though, as I think it is too mature and harmful for them.

Different people have different perspectives and therefore make different choices. Why do feminist articles about the Disney Princesses constantly undermine the diversity of women?

"On the other hand, major points for at least verbally refusing to be objectified. 'I am not a prize to be won'"

One of the most harmful quotes ever spoken by a Disney princess. So many people confuse it for being empowering when in reality it is not. EVERY GIRL SHOULD BE A PRIZE TO BE WON IF SHE VALUES HERSELF. When you respect yourself and you want the best for yourself, you will see yourself as a prize to be won by only the kind of person who deserves you that you choose.

And no points for being hypocritical. If you do not want to be objectified then do not objectify yourself, you are sending the wrong message that way.

How can this author complain about Ariel's "clamshell bikini" as a mermaid yet not complain about Jasmine's attire?

4. Rapunzel

"She's one of the few Disney princesses to wield a weapon"

Why would wielding a weapon be a positive thing? Most feminists are fighting for people to use less weapons, not more, so why should it ever be considered empowering just for a princess to wield a weapon?

"She also recognizes the unfairness of her plight and finds a way out of it, outwitting her "mother," who is in fact her kidnapper, to venture to the outside world."

Did this person watch any of these Disney Princess films? Actually she lies to her mother and tricks her but that gets a pass only because the "mother" is actually a kidnapper. Also, anyone who saw this film knows that it was actually Eugene and not Rapunzel, an "outside force", who outwitted Mother Gothel in the end as HE is the one who took the knife and cut Rapunzel's hair with it, which is what ultimately rescued Rapunzel from Mother Gothel.

That being said, unlike this person, I don't believe that a woman choosing to fall in love with a man who chooses to support her and save her is "not" empowering nor that it takes anything away from their other good qualities.

3. Tiana

"I'm also fond of Tiana because she falls for a penniless loser (albeit one who's actually a prince), subverting the whole idea that girls need to be saved."

So this person has no concern at all that Naveen is a huge flirt who wasn't really sure if he could give up all other women and was cut off from his parents for being a loser? Is it really better if he needs to be saved? Under the idea of equality, how is that not just as bad as if the genders were reversed?

"But then Tiana pulls a by-this-point-fairly-typical Disney princess stunt, where she has to sacrifice something she really cares about for the man she loves."

What "by-this-point-fairly-typical Disney princess stunt" is this person talking about?
Snow White sacrificed nothing for the man she loved, she was freed and treated better.
Cinderella sacrificed nothing for the man she loved, she was freed and treated better.
Aurora sacrificed nothing for the man she loved, she had chosen her kingdom and duties over love but it ended up working out anyways. (What makes one sacrifice more feminist than the other, either way it is her choice?)
Ariel sacrificed her voice for legs, but then she got her voice and legs back, and ultimately sacrificed nothing but still got everything she wanted.
Belle sacrificed her freedom to save her father, but then she got herself freed anyway and also sacrificed nothing in the end yet found love and happiness and everything she wanted.
Jasmine sacrificed nothing for the man she loved, she got the laws changed in her favor because her father wanted to make her happy.
Pocahontas sacrificed nothing for the man she loved, she chose to sacrifice the man instead so she could stay and presumably become Queen of her tribe someday. (Again, what really makes one choice more feminist than the other if feminism is supposed to be about women having the right to make A choice, not forcing them to choose a specific one?)
Mulan sacrificed nothing for the man she loved, she took her father's place because she loved her father and she ended up saving China and bringing honor to her family. Then the man she loved came to her at the end, so she got to have love despite the matchmaking failure after all, as well as being a hero.

And anyways, sometimes love does come with sacrifices. Sometimes the man makes sacrificed, sometimes the woman does, and sometimes both do. That doesn't make it any less empowering as long as it is their choice.

"Still, she eventually opens that business and name it after herself. For that alone, she has to rank pretty high."

So if she called her business "New Orleans' Best" or "Creole Utopia" or "Bayou Comfort" or anything that wasn't her name, would that also make it less feminist? Aren't all of these "feminist standards and points" getting plain silly and ridiculous?

2. Pocahontas

"Pocahontas doesn't need saving by anybody."

Lucky Pocahontas, what does that have to do with equality for women? We cannot choose the life we are born into and we cannot control every situation that occurs. If something happens and we end up in a scenario where we need to be saved, why should that be held against us? Why should that be held against someone just because they are a female? If a man gets locked in an elevator and needs to be saved, does that make him less empowered? I don't think so. How can someone make a blanket notion like a woman "needing to be saved" means she's less empowered when anything like that could happen to anyone - male or female? That seems pretty sexist to me.

"she even breaks up with the guy with a whole 'it's not you, it's my path' speech."

It's interesting to me. I have never heard a woman, especially not a feminist, say that a guy breaking up with her and giving her an "it's not you, it's my path" speech was just him being empowered. It's very hypocritical that they would call it empowering when a woman does it though. Sounds like more sexism rather than "feminism" as defined by "equality for men and women".

For anyone who cares about the real Pocahontas:

Interesting how the feminists don't say her tribe was sexist, rather that they just have different cultural values. So why would it be seen as sexist today rather than a cultural preference?

1. Mulan

"She's the only one to overtly challenge the gender roles of her society"

Overall Summary:

Some women want to embrace their femininity rather than reject it (or bash it). Whichever choice they make, the empowering part is in their ability to make that choice, not picking the one that feminists tell you that you have to pick. Let women be diverse - including conventionally feminine women.

True love is empowering and so is embracing yourself and your femininity. Don't let feminists take that away from you (or the Disney Princesses). Equality does not mean not being feminine or not finding romantic love.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Thoughts On The Live-Action Remake Trend

Disney has definitely been on a wave of live-action remakes lately and has had much success exploiting previous characters for more money. While this is great for the company financially, is it really great for the true Walt Disney fans?

Walt Disney achieved his success in animation, that is his legacy.

From the 1920s to today, many of Disney's original animated characters have stood the test of time and appealed to generation after generation. Disney princesses and other classic films have been passed down through generations and just as Walt Disney wanted, his films provided an experience that the entire family could enjoy together. This is the "magic of Disney", the charm that has resulted in so many fans all around the world.

Until the recent live-action remakes, these Disney characters and films stayed consistent through each generation and served as something a family could have in common. Now, however, generations are starting to be separated with older ones being more acclimated with Walt Disney-inspired animated classics and younger generations being more acclimated with remakes [and sometimes remodeling] of animated classics. This is so sad to take away from families and to take away from Walt Disney.

The animated classics honor Walt Disney and his company, while the remakes exploit the classics to make money. This is why I do not support any of the live-action remakes of classic Disney animated films. I love the magic that Walt Disney created and how much he cared about families. I support keeping his legacy for more generations to come - not changing it.

This doesn't mean that I think the characters can't change up, Disney characters are very diverse and dynamic! I'm not trying to be exclusive to any type of characters or stories here, I am just defending the classic films that most of us Disney fans grew up on. I think we should think twice about allowing all of these live-action remakes to change that.

The latest animated Disney films, especially Frozen and Moana have received much success for Disney. Why can't we focus on continuing to create diverse, new animated characters that honor Walt Disney rather than insulting him by changing his stories? I'm even in more support of animated sequels that expand on existing characters rather than redoing original ones with so many changes in format, style and story.

And can we bring back the drawing-animation style please? It's so much more gorgeous and creatively talented than the CGI-animation! Much better storybook/fairy-tale/animated feel!
Rapunzel 2D Concept Art
Rapunzel 3D vs. 2D
Fan Art Example of Merida in 2D
Frozen 2D Concept Art

Beautiful 2D versions of 3D princesses by NicoleBalcom
Moana Concept Art
Moana Concept Art

Friday, March 31, 2017

Most Intelligent Disney Female Countdown Part 3/3

Some Disney females are prettier than others, some are braver than others, some are sweeter, some are sassier, etc etc. These little details are what make them different. I find it fun to rank them on different quality/trait scales because it makes me look deeper at these characters and I end up learning more about them and why they are the way that they are. (This is made obvious by my many countdown lists.) So this time, I thought I would look at potential IQs. I have gone through and analyzed the actions of each character in her movie along with any other information I could use to try and rank them as accurately as possible. Additionally, with each icon I tried to pick a moment that shows off the respective character's intellect (are lack thereof). So, who are the smartest Disney females of all? Here are my results:
11. Penny
The very first we see of Penny is a bittersweet moment. She is being held kidnapped by a malicious woman with alligators for pets. However, she is sneaking away and sending out a message in a bottle (as shown in the picture) which will ultimately lead to her rescue. This act was a definite sign of Penny's intelligence for coming up with this plan as well as seeing it through. In addition, what Penny chose to write in the note was smart as well. The note was made out to the orphanage that Penny had been staying at. This was smart, not only because they were the only ones who knew her, but it helped anyone looking for her to know where she went missing from. Her spelling wasn't too good but she was pretty young and writing such big words as "orphanage". When Rufus was explaining the concept of faith to Penny, she understood it pretty quickly and very accurately. This was a definite sign of her intelligence as this is an abstract concept. When Bianca and Bernard try to come up with an escape plan and Bianca mentions the alligators needing to be "locked up in a cage", Penny immediately thinks of the elevator as a cage. This was smart thinking. Additionally, Penny is the one who thinks of using the fireworks as a distraction to steal Medusa's swamp-mobile.

10. Cinderella
The fact that Cinderella was able to make tiny clothes for the mice shows off some of her intelligence, especially where her creativity is concerned. When Cinderella was told about Gus, she also showed her intelligence when she relied on Jaq to help him relax and talk him out of the cage as she knew Jaq would be more successful at this than she would be. Since Cinderella was close to Bruno, as it was the dog given to her by her father, it was smart of her to try and keep Bruno out of trouble and keep him from going after Lucifer. When it came to feeding the animals however, it was not very smart to feed the mice alongside the chickens as they had to fight over the food. When Lady Tremaine read the invitation of "every eligible maiden"to go the ball, it was very smart of Cinderella to realize that it included her and to stand up for her chance to go. She smartly pointed out to Lady Tremaine that it was a "royal command" so that she could not be denied. The fact that Cinderella knew how to make her own dress and understood fashion as well as she did, was a good sign of her intelligence and creativity as well. Although it's understandable that Cinderella was excited about her dress and going to the ball, it wasn't exactly the smartest move to point this out and ask them about it as she came down the stairs. This is because she must know that she's hated by her step-sisters and step-mother so showing them her happiness could only make them want to take that away from her. However, it doesn't mean Cinderella is unintelligent for making this "mistake" either. Although the point is supposed to be that Cinderella is so humble that she doesn't realize she's with the Prince, it doesn't really make sense. They were dancing all alone on the floor, had a curtain pulled to give them privacy and walked/dance around the royal courtyard. Thanks to all of these obvious signs, Cinderella should have been able to tell that she was with the Prince, even if she was lost in love at the time. She also should have given the Prince - or regular young man she thought she was with - her name so he could find her, even while running away. It was her chance at love and freedom. When Cinderella found out that the Prince was the man she had spent the night with, and that he was looking for her, it was also foolish for her to let herself be so taken away by the notion and not pay attention to her surroundings. There's no way she could have known that she'd be locked in the tower but she knew enough not to trust Lady Tremaine and her daughters, especially after what they had done to her just before the ball. She made it way too obvious that she was the girl with the Prince and she should have played it cool until the King's men showed up. That being said, when Cinderella realized that Jaq and Gus had the key to get her out but were trapped by Lucifer, it was incredibly intelligent for her to think of telling the birds to go and get Bruno (as shown in the picture). This was really smart because she was in a high-pressure and very stressful and frustrating situation yet she was able to think of this and using Bruno's (natural) hatred of Lucifer to help get herself out of the locked tower and onto her happily ever after, once and for all. It was also incredibly smart of her to bring the other slipper with her downstairs, as the ultimate proof that she was the girl that the Prince was looking for.

9. Tiana
The fact that Tiana showed so much ambition at such a young age was a definite sign of intelligence. She already had plans for her future and she already wanted to be a part of something bigger: "Bringing folks together from all walks of life." It's debatable whether Tiana knew what would result but either way it was very smart of Tiana to offer the advice to Charlotte of using food to get to the Prince. This was smart because it was good advice but also because it resulted in Charlotte paying Tiana for her food/cooking. When Tiana first encountered Naveen as a frog, it was smart of her to immediately ask who Charlotte was then dancing with. It was not smart that she let the frog-prince continue to mistake her for a "princess", as he kept calling her that multiple times before trying the kiss. This is why the frog-prince thought the kiss would work and Tiana should have known this - it would've saved her from turning into a frog herself! Even though it was very self-centered and somewhat cruel, it was also smart of Tiana to use her position in the tree as leverage to get Naveen to give her what she wanted when the alligators were coming after them in the swamp. When it came to dealing with the Frog Hunters, Tiana also showed some quick thinking and intelligence quite a couple of times as well. As Tiana got to know Naveen a little better, it was really smart of her to make Naveen do something for himself, specifically to mince the mushrooms (as shown in the picture). This was smart because it was teaching Naveen so many things in what seems like a really simple task. Despite her mother and father's advice along with Mama Odie's, it was very hard for Tiana to get in touch with her deeper needs of human companionship over the want for her restaurant. When Naveen set up a romantic night for him and Tiana, tried to wear a bow tie and was clumsy and nervous instead of conceited and arrogant, Tiana didn't seem to pick up on all of these signs. She and Naveen were really bonding and very comfortable together but she neglected the growing romance that was budding right before her very eyes. This was not a very smart move on her part as she was denying herself love. Also, when Tiana saw the human Naveen, it was not very smart of her to think this was the real Naveen. She knew a fake Naveen had danced with Charlotte before and there was no reason for her to think that frog-Naveen had already been transformed back to human again. However, when Tiana was tempted by Dr. Facilier to make her dreams come true in return for returning his medallion, it was very smart of her not to trust Dr. Facilier and to choose what she needed - love - instead. It was even smarter of Tiana to use her abilities as a frog to snatch the medallion from Dr. Facilier and crush it, defeating him in the process.

8. Jane
When a baby baboon steals Jane's book, it was not very smart of her to chase it through the jungle. It's understandable that she'd want her notes and drawings back but no one knew where she had gone and she was increasing her chances of getting lost or even dangerously hurt - which almost happened had Tarzan not intervened. When Jane saw the way Tarzan reacted to her human hand and heart, as well as the English language, she quickly realized that he was unfamiliar with humans and she responded appropriately. This was a sign of her intelligence. She also immediately realized that his group was the gorilla group as soon as she saw him interacting with them. When Jane was explaining about Tarzan to her father, she also showed her intelligence in her accuracy and analysis. Furthermore, she knew how to communicate to Tarzan so that she and her father could teach and understand him (as shown in the picture). It is heavily inferred that Jane takes after her father in terms of intelligence, especially when it comes to her curiosity and knowledge of the world. When Tarzan was teaching Jane how to speak ape, she seemed to be a quick learner as well, even though she wasn't taught too much.

7. Ting-Ting
The Princesses of China are betrothed to Princes that they have never met in order to keep peace between the 2 kingdoms. When Mulan says "Really? So you have no idea what they're like at all?" It was Ting-Ting who immediately picked up on Mulan's subliminal point and addressed this by saying "It's alright, Fa Mulan. It's our honor to serve the Emperor." This was a sign of Ting-Ting's intelligence as she was able to read between the lines and understand the point that Mulan was slowly getting at. It was also Ting-Ting who reminded Mei of their duty as betrothed Princesses when she spoke of her feelings for the soldier Yao. In addition, Ting-Ting was the only one of her sisters who decided to sit and read in her spare time (as shown in the picture) which is another sign of her intelligence. Furthermore, while Su was flirting with Chien-Po and Mei was flirting with Yao, Ting-Ting was the only one of the princesses who chose not to flirt as she was choosing to be mature and responsible, yet another sign of her intelligence. When the carriage that the princesses were riding in got loose, Ting-Ting smartly got both of her sisters out and given over to the soldiers very quickly, which saved her sisters. Her responsible actions and quick-thinking were signs of her intelligence in this situation. Even though Ting-Ting refused to laugh out loud at Ling's jokes, she understood every single one as none went over her head. After Shang caught the princesses and guards just after Mulan had, Ting-Ting was also the first to apologize to Mulan for what happened (later). When Mulan and the soldiers were fighting the bandits, it was smart of Ting-Ting and Su to help out by throwing rocks from their position above (as long as their aim was accurate).

6. Attina
Attina is very responsible and she easily puts herself in others' shoes. The ability to place oneself in someone else's positions and trying to see things from their point of view is a definite sign of intelligence. One of the first things we see from Attina (in Little Mermaid 3) is her trying to impart this lesson to Ariel, asking her to look at things from her father's point of view and what it's like to be responsible for an entire kingdom. When her father asks if Attina and her sisters have all been attending to their royal duties, she responds "Yes father, we've been working very diligently." This is not a very common adverb which shows that Attina has a wide vocabulary. In addition, the word means "in a way that shows care and conscientiousness in one's work or duties", which linguistically is also meant to signal just how intelligent Attina's character is. When everyone is questioning Ariel on where she was the night before past curfew and things get off-topic, Attina is the one to set things back on topic, another little sign of her intelligence as she's not as easily distracted. When Ariel twists the story about where she was, Attina confronts her (as shown in the picture) with evidence, forcing Ariel to come clean. This is again, yet another sign of her intelligence as she knows how to get the truth from Ariel and plays her cards right. After Ariel goes missing, Attina "looks everywhere" for Ariel but once she can't find her, she smartly goes to her father to fill him in on the situation, another sign of her intelligence as she knew when a problem was bigger than her and she needed assistance. Furthermore, it is noted in the special features that Attina loves to research the "history of the sea" and that her biggest pet peeve is "littering", showing that she cares about the big picture and long arch. These are also definite signs of intelligence.

5. Kida
We may not realize it at first, but the first time we see Kida, she is disobeying the rules of her culture by allowing Milo and his group to live. However, Kida sees that her culture and society is dying and she sees the wide range of talents in Milo's group - especially Milo's talents - and knows that this rule of isolation isn't helping her or Atlantis. Kida's father points out that in the past, Kida would not have disobeyed the law but she points out that in the past, Atlantis was not in such turmoil. While she wants her kingdom to flourish again, she is not too vain to see when she needs help from the outside world. As she tells her father, "Our way of life is dying" and expresses her hopes that the outsiders' knowledge may help give the city new life. This is a great sign of her intelligence. Not only does Kida want to learn more so that she can save her kingdom, but she also seems to just have a general curiosity and thirst for knowledge as well. This is another sign of her intelligence. Although Kida relies on pattern to assume that Milo is a scholar, she is not limited to pattern. She tries to think outside of the box and immediately asks Milo a ton of questions as soon as she has the opportunity to do so. The first question that Kida gets an answer to, is the question of how Milo and his people found Atlantis. When Milo pulls out a book and says he could not have found Atlantis without the book, she is immediately interested and tries to start reading the book (as shown in the picture). Unfortunately, no one in Kida's culture knows how to read but she does not let this stop her, as she asks Milo to read the book for/to her. Next, Kida shows Milo a transportation device that she hasn't been able to figure out how to work. Despite not being able to read, Kida has gotten pretty far with the written instructions, even though she hasn't been able to get the machine started. This is not the strongest sign of her intelligence but nonetheless it is definitely a point towards her intelligence for getting as far as she has (as even Milo points out). For not having anyone to really practice her English with, Kida is pretty fluent and able to pick up on nuances pretty well. This is shown when she sums up and recites the new information about Milo's companions to him. Kida had gotten confused when Milo first started explaining everything, which was to be expected, but she really got the hang of it all pretty quickly which shows her high intelligence. It seems that Kida's intellectual curiosity has motivated her to explore her entire city, which is how she was able to take Milo to the underground mural. However, it could also be that the mural was not underground when Kida first discovered it. Either way, after over 8,000 years, Kida never forgot about this mural and clearly understood it's importance, hence why she asked Milo to translate it for her. This is yet another sign of her intelligence.

4. Moana
As a child, Moana is prone to the sea and is constantly trying to run away there. However, as she gets a little older, she starts to be more mature about her role in her tribe and takes that more seriously. This sign of maturity is also a sign of intelligence, as she can think beyond herself. When the roof of one of the huts has a constant leak, she smartly figures out the source, and is able to fix it properly. Showing her love for sailing but also a sign of her creativity, Moana makes a little sailboat in her drawings (at a young age) and out of the material usually used for the baskets. After Moana foolishly tries to venture into the ocean and hurts her foot, she decides it’s time to give up this pursuit and take her place as Chief. When her grandmother doesn’t try to discourage her from this and starts to act weirder than normal, she realizes there is more beneath the surface and inquires about it, another little sign of intelligence on her part. Even though Moana has never sailed before, she adapts to it quickly for a first-timer. When she discovers HeiHei on her sailboat and he won’t stop walking off into the ocean, it was smart of her to keep him in the box underneath. When Moana’s boat crashes even after asking for help, she immediately gets upset at the ocean, kicking it and yelling at it. This was not very smart and a very emotional, impulsive moment for Moana. When Moana first met Maui and he sang his “You’re welcome” song, she got so distracted by the song and dance that she didn’t realize he was in the middle of saying “’Cause I’m gonna need that boat. I’m sailing away, away” and stealing her boat from her, as well as trapping her in a cave. This wasn’t a complete lack of intelligence on her part, but it didn’t show a strong intelligence either. When she was looking for a way to escape the cave, her first instinct was to try to push the rock out of the way, which is not the most sensible plan. However, it was smart of her to use the ladder and statue to get herself out – albeit very dangerous too (though just staying in the cave was also dangerous). When Moana turned the little “You’re welcome” phrase back around on Maui, this was a definite sign of intelligence. When HeiHei ate the “Heart”, it was smart of Moana to ask for Maui’s help (even if he didn’t help as much as he could’ve). The way she managed to retrieve HeiHei and the “Heart”, as well as orchestrate her escape and return to the boat was very smart and impressive. When Moana is trying to talk Maui into helping her return the “Heart”, it was smart of Moana to appeal to Maui’s ego, although it was manipulative as well. Asking Maui to teach her how to sail was especially a sign of Moana’s intelligence. However, trying to argue that she wasn’t a princess – even though she was the Chief’s daughter and next-in-line for the throne – was very nonsensical, since she is obviously a princess. If she wants to argue that she’s not an average or common princess, that would make sense; but arguing that she’s not a princess at all is silly. When Moana accompanied Maui to the Realm of the Monsters, she showed her improvisation skills by being able to distract the crab, especially when she came up with the fake “Heart” idea (as shown in the picture) so she and Maui could escape, which was very smart. When Maui couldn’t get his magical hook to work quite like it used to, it was smart of Moana to think that the root of the problem lied beneath the surface – and the way she prodded the story out of him was a clever choice. It was also smart the way she got him to cheer up as well as helped him practice his shape-shifting. As Moana watched Maui take on Te Ka, it was smart of her to see the opening to get past the “lava monster”, however her execution of her idea wasn’t as clever. Once Moana found herself alone, it was smart of her to question the ocean on why it chose her. When Moana realized that Te Ka was actually Te Fiti, the way she went about restoring the “Heart” showed her wisdom and maturity. 

3. Pocahontas
The first time we see Pocahontas, she is standing at the top of a cliff while her best friend announces that her father and the other warriors are back from defeating another tribe in war. Instead of taking the sensible route down to the river though, Pocahontas decides to jump off the incredibly and dangerously high cliff. This was definitely not smart as she could have gotten very hurt. When confronted with the decision of whether or not to marry Kocoum, Pocahontas very smartly chooses to weigh her options. In addition, she is intelligent enough to objectively understand that each option has it's own benefits and consequences, not just assuming that the choice she wants is completely beneficial and the other completely consequential. Furthermore, she does not take this monumental life-changing decision lightly, as she goes to her Grandmother Willow seeking advice. The advice that Grandmother Willow gives Pocahontas, is to follow her heart which shows that Pocahontas is someone who goes with her head more when choosing for herself. Choosing logic over emotion is a great sign of intelligence, as well as knowing when to choose which one over the other and being able to adapt accordingly, which Pocahontas can do. Pocahontas' curiosity and open-mindedness of John Smith and his culture also show a great sign of Pocahontas' intelligence (as shown in the picture). Perhaps it was Disney magic or just Disney's way of shortening a very realistically long time frame, but either way Pocahontas' ability to pick up English so quickly and accurately is yet another sign of her intelligence. When John Smith was excited about sharing his culture with Pocahontas and her people, she overreacted a bit. It's smart of her to want to protect her land but she should be more open to hearing his ideas (just as he should be open to hearing hers as well). It was very smart of Pocahontas to take John Smith to meet Grandmother Willow so that she could give an informed opinion of him. It was also smart of Pocahontas to question her choices about continuing to see John Smith or not. After Kocoum's death, even though Nakoma immediately admitted to Pocahontas that she had sent Kocoum, it was smart of Pocahontas to accept some responsibility for his death (but not all responsibility). It was smart of Pocahontas because she understood the chain reactions that led from her choices. When Pocahontas finally saw the compass for the first time, she immediately and smartly recognized it as the spinning arrow from her dream. The way that Pocahontas put herself in between her father and John Smith and the advice/explanation she gave to her father showed much intelligence and maturity on Pocahontas' part. Her wisdom helped to stop the two sides from fighting. It was not very smart of Pocahontas to give up on love and a whole new world to explore at the end though - especially considering her intellectual curiosity and adaptability skills.

2. Rapunzel
Her intelligence undeniably sticks out as she is shown exhibiting quite a variety of intelligent skills throughout the film. She has a very eclectic and creative nature which are both signs of her intelligence. The way she was able to study the stars and figure out astronomy all because of her curiosity about why the lights are there, is one of her biggest signs of intelligence. She manages to keep Pascal hidden from Mother Gothel which is a little feat in itself as well. She seems to have a natural curiosity which is shown by her choice of hobbies when she's stuck in the tower as well as when she leaves the tower and enters the city for the first time. This is a major sign of intelligence. Even in her artwork you can see Rapunzel's intelligence. For example, on her bedroom ceiling, Rapunzel painted a mirror image of herself on the bed, which is pretty creative. When Rapunzel realizes that Mother Gothel isn't ever going to let her out of the home, she quickly improvises a plan to sneak out. While this is a risky move, it does show her intelligence as to how she pulled it off. When Eugene breaks into her house, she acts very quickly, imprisoning Eugene and then bribing him into getting what she wanted. The only inconsistency here is that she doesn't connect the dots she already has at this point. She knows the lanterns only appear on her birthday (as shown in the picture) and that Eugene said they were done every year for the princess, yet she doesn't even ask if the princess has the same birthday as her or anything. It was clearly only for the script that she didn't question more about this, as it would've changed the plot of the film. It's also a bit inconsistent that she never realized her "mother" was using her to stay young. But again, that would change the entire story. When she first entered the bar, she immediately realized that the bar did not seem safe, showing she wasn’t too na├»ve despite the fact that she had never met anyone like those in the bar. (Perhaps that was instinctual.) As unbelievable as every scene in which Rapunzel relies on her hair is, it does show her ingenuity to use it the way she does. She didn’t seem to pick up on Eugene’s criminal aspects in the beginning (despite "breaking" into her tower) but she definitely picked up on when he started having feelings for her. So for someone who has only ever been around 1 other person her entire life, her people skills aren't too bad. After all, she is being raised by a wolf in sheep's clothing! Her survival skills seem pretty good for someone locked in a small tower her whole life as well.

1. Mulan
The first time we see Mulan, she is "studying" for her "test" with the Match Maker. While it's not really smart of her to write on her arm as she can get caught, it's not exactly an unintelligent decision either. In order to get her chores done faster and with less effort, Mulan devises a plan to attach food and a bone to her dog to get him to feed the chickens for her. This was incredibly clever and showing off Mulan's ingenuity. When Mulan brought her father tea, it was smart of her to carry a spare cup as she ended up needing it. While Mulan was getting ready for her meeting with the Match Maker, she stopped along the way to get involved with what looked like a Checkers type kind of board game. This showed off Mulan's intelligence, particularly when it came to strategy, long-term thinking and big-picture seeing. Even though her grandmother meant well, it was foolish of Mulan to wear a cricket into her meeting. It was also foolish of her to depend on the writing on her arm and not pay attention to what she was saying more closely. Instead of trying to snatch the cup away from the Match Maker, Mulan should have just told her about the cricket in her tea. Even though Mulan meant well, it was very foolish of her to disrespect her father by interrupting his accepting of the call to go to war. It's understandable for her to be against it and not want her father to go but it was not smart of her to embarrass her father in public like that. Once Mulan had decided to impersonate a man to take her father's place, it was smart of her to practice out loud a bit before she showed up. When Yao tried to start a fight with Mulan, she showed off her intelligence in the way she was able to quickly duck and get away from the violence without getting hurt. It's understandable that Mulan wouldn't know how to be a man but thinking there was a "manly urge" to kill things was definitely foolish and extreme. It took Mulan a long time to think of a boy's name and it was not smart of her to think of one before she showed up at the camp. It took ambition and dedication for Mulan to catch onto the process along with everyone else but it also took some smarts as well. Since Mulan was pretending to be a male, she should not have gotten fully naked to shower since the other soldiers could show up at any time. Mulan really displayed her intelligence when the Huns attacked them in the mountains. The best example of this, is when she came up with the idea to shoot her cannon at the mountain to create an avalanche to stop the Huns (as shown in the picture). The ingenuity of this action saved many of the lives of her fellow soldiers. This was also shown when she used the arrow tied to the string to save herself and company while falling down the mountain. When Mulan was accused of treason, it was very smart of her to immediately explain her case as well as to do so as concisely as she did. She didn't waste her time and chose her words wisely. It was a very intelligent sign that Mulan was able to reflect on her choice to join the army and how it wasn't entirely for her father but also somewhat for herself. The ability to look deep inside herself and understand the reasoning behind her actions was a very smart move. When Mulan saw that a few of the Huns had survived, it was really smart of her to try and warn Shang and the other soldiers instead of just going home and allowing a sneak attack to happen. When Shang did not believe her, it was smart of Mulan to tell the other soldiers to keep their eyes open as she was giving them their best chance by alerting them. The following battle scene with the remaining Huns and Shan Yu displayed a ton of examples of Mulan's very high intelligence, especially her ingenuity and improvisation. When Shang and the soldiers were trying to break through the doors of the Emperor's palace to save the Emperor from Shan Yu, Mulan came up with a very smart alternative based on what she had learned in training. This saved them time and allowed them to reach the Emperor safely as well as reserve more of their energy. It also provided a disguise for the soldiers to trick the Huns and get the upper hand. Mulan was smart and used what she had around her, to her advantage. This was very resourceful and clever. In addition, it was very smart of Mulan to tell Chien-Po to save the Emperor and get him away from the battle with Shan Yu. When Shan Yu was going to go after the Emperor, Mulan cut the line so that he could not get to him. This saved the Emperor's life. The entire plan with Mushu to lure Shan Yu to the roof and shoot fireworks at him was a brilliant idea. It was also clever the way Mulan used her fan to steal Shan Yu's sword as well as use it to keep him pinned in place so that he was a still-target. It was thanks to Mulan's intelligence that she was able to be so successful in saving China.

So what did you think about the ranking? Any surprises? Feel free to share your reaction and comments below! ❤