Disney princesses are a fascinating and multi-faceted concept. Once considered role models for young women, Disney princesses have now become a controversial archetype of one-dimensionism, and in recent years, they have become a character type through which Disney has tried to inject a little modernism. So, in order to better understand this complex and nuanced topic, I decided to rank the top five Disney princesses in order of hotness. I’m not talking just looks–personality is part of the criteria, because, you know, feminism and stuff.
Oh, and for the record, “princess” in this case means “the lead female character of a Disney animated film,” because I know some pedantic asshole is going to say something about “so-and-so, who isn’t technically a princess.” I hate those guys.
I’ve never understood why Meg never got more play as a top Disney draft choice. She’s feisty, witty, and doesn’t take shit from anyone. Everyone in the world is all on Hercules’ jock after he becomes a hero, and she still rolls her eyes and calls him “Wonderboy.” It takes a special kind of cynical cool to withhold your admiration for a guy who’s essentially a superhero.
Meg is also a complex and conflicted character, which isn’t something you can say for a lot of Disney princesses. It turns out that she works for Hades. She doesn’t do this because she’s evil, but because she sold her soul to save a guy who ended up dumping her. No wonder she’s so damn cynical.
Lest we get too deep into emotions and stuff, let’s also not forget that she’s damn hot, too, you guys. Sure, she suffers through the same awkwardly-large-in-some-places hair that befell most women in the ’90s (hence why Julia Louis-Dreyfus is hotter now than when she was on “Seinfeld”) but she’s got that great “coked up Michelle Pfeiffer” body that guys go crazy for.
Here’s the thing. I honestly don’t get the fascination with Ariel. Even though we get a pass on her character being 16 due to the elaborate math subject that is mermaid years, I can’t get past the fact that she acts like an annoying teenager. I witnessed enough “my dad is suffocating me and OMG I love this guy I’ve never talked to” drama in real life that I really don’t need more from a cartoon.
But I know that I’ll be tarred and feathered by several close friends of mine if she doesn’t at least make the list. I sort of see where they’re coming from. There’s a weird assumption that guys don’t like redheads, but that is patently false. Guys LOVE redheads, provided they’re the Isla Fisher-type, and not the Kathy Griffin-type. Ariel fits into the good category of that. She wears nothing but a seashell bra for most of the movie, and actually looks pretty good once she figures out how to use her legs.
I’ll admit this right now: I don’t remember a fucking thing about Esmeralda’s character, or pretty much anything about “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” altogether. I think there was a fire at some point? Anyway, this means that her ranking at number three is entirely based on her appearance. And I mean, holy shit. I may not remember any plot points, but when she starting doing her gypsy dance? Pre-adolescent me didn’t really know what was going on, but he knew he wanted more of it. I also remember this moment of her winking–it was in the trailer that played before “Toy Story” on VHS. I’ve seen that wink hundreds of times, and it still enthralls me.
Also, I just went back and watched her dancing scene on YouTube to see if my hazy memory was correct. She steals a spear from a soldier and uses it as a stripper pole! How is this movie G-rated? Not that I’m mad about it.
This is where the debate gets heavy. From my experience, most guys rank these next two ladies as first and second in a pretty even split. For me, though, Belle is the runner-up. She has a lot of qualities I like. She loves books, takes care of her cuckoo father, and doesn’t go for guidos like Gaston. Granted, she does fall in love with a big, hairy beast. This raises some interesting zoophilia questions I won’t address here.
She has a bit of a daredevil streak in her, too, given that she sneaks into the West Wing when explicitly told not to by a murderous beast. I’m not saying I’m the best example of courage, but I know for a fact if that dude told me to stay out of the West Wing, I’d keep my ass out the West Wing.
Appearance-wise, she’s extremely pretty, but she lacks that ethereal intensity the femme fatales of the world have, which is sort of my type. Basically, she just doesn’t have “it”–except when she has her hair down and fights off the wolves. If that was the Belle we got for the whole movie, things might be different.
How do you possibly rank the seductive, belly-dancer attired daughter of the ruler of Agrabah any lower than number one? You can’t. She has it all: the intelligence of Belle, the independence of Meg, the exotic beauty of Esmeralda. She knows what she wants, and she goes after it. Also, it’s a tall order to expect someone to wear an exotic dancer’s clothing every day and still be taken seriously, but she pulls it off. She doesn’t take anyone’s shit, either. When she senses Aladdin is disingenuous with her, she pulls the plug immediately. She can also turn on her charm like a switch. That scene when she distracts Jaffar so Aladdin can get to the lamp? Hot damn.
Plus, she has a pet tiger. Who the hell has a pet tiger?!
I’m sure I’ll catch some flack for leaving certain princesses off the list. It’s pretty simple, though. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White are just not very compelling human beings (Disney didn’t do so well with representing women once upon a time). Mulan spent too much time dressed as a man to qualify and Pocahontas’ dad scared the shit out of me. I was super tempted to put Nala on the list, but I think that would have opened up a debate I wasn’t willing to have.
Anyway, I look forward to the raucous argument over the order of the list from guys, the sadness over the order of the list from girls, and the irrational anger over the existence of the list from feminist blogs.