Women characters have always been in abundance in the animated genre movies or series. But the way they have been represented since the beginning is what needs to be pondered upon. The initial movies had some criterion set for a female character, like, timid, dutiful, fragile, submissive, resigned, dependent and more. Like, Ariel who was rescued by her father from Ursula, or Aurora who’s waiting for her Prince Charming in order to wake her up from the cursed sleep, the concept of damsel in distress has been quite evident there.
However, the scenarios have started changing and it has started reflecting on the characters that have been coming up lately. Brave, independent, courageous, and powerful, are the characters who are finally breaking the stereotypes and inspiring the young viewership to break out of their cocoon and see the world the way they want to.
Here are a few such powerful characters who has been successful in creating an impact among the audience:
Merida – Brave
Merida is a ‘just go out and get it’ kind of character as she’s portrayed wild, outgoing, rebellious yet kind and soft at heart. Where her mother expected to be lady-like and marry and have a family, Merida had her own plans to discover places, travel, and was motivated to control her own destiny. When the girls were expected to learn weaving and stitching, she learnt the art of archery and horse riding. In fact, she was one of the most skilled archers in the kingdom.
Merida taught young girls to follow their heart instead of succumb to what’s culturally or socially expected on them or being forced on them.
Elsa – Frozen
Elsa first appeared in Disney’s Frozen, back in 2013, with her magical powers and things she could do with ice. Elsa had the powers to manipulate ice and water as per her wishes but since childhood she was made to believe it was a curse. At her coronation, she brought eternal winter to Arendelle without intention while struggling to control her powers. Throughout her journey, she learns to embrace her true self and brought her out of the fear of harming others. The way she handles all of it is something that speaks of power and sets an example for other women to know you can do it all.
Fa Mulan – Mulan
Fa Mulan challenges gender stereotypes when her elderly father was made to stand in the war frontlines when the nation was at war. At the time when girls were expected to be delicate, she was bold and fierce, when girls were made to learn how to be a good wife, she learnt sword-fighting, when girls around her wished to find and marry a rich guy, she went to battle disguising as a boy.
Mulan shattered each and every stereotype and did what she do best and she wanted to.
Pocahontas – Pocahontas
Pocahontas has been one of the most rebellious characters of the Disney world. She too defied her parent’s wish to enter into an arranged marriage and chose her own dreams and aspirations rather succumbing to the expectations. She loves kayaking and diving into the lakes from the top of the waterfalls and feeling the air rushing between her locks, and all of it would have been gone if she’d have suppressed her wishes and did as per other’s convenience.
Parvana – The Breadwinner
Extremely different than the mainstream animated cinema, The Breadwinner follows Parvana, an 11-year-old girl from Taliban’s Afghanistan (1996-2001). Parvana’s father got arrested just because a young Taliban follower felt that he was insulted by him. In order to free her father and be the breadwinner of the family, Parvana disguised herself as a boy as girls weren’t allowed to be out without a male family member.
The film sets an example of how an 11-year-old broke the gender barriers and did what was supposed to be done for her family.