Why Disney Villains Are Way Better Role Models Than Disney Princesses For Women

by Lauren Martin

Transitioning into the adult world comes with many harsh realities and shattered illusions. What we once thought as good and sacred, many times ends up being nothing more than a farce. The movies we watched, the songs we loved, the views we held of our parents -- all take on a new identity, a new meaning when seen with mature minds. One of those shattering illusions that came with age was the emptiness of our favorite Disney movies, the hypocrisy of the tales we grew up on.

As young children, we were raised on the tales of our favorite Disney heroines. We spent hours watching the pale-faced beauties sing their way to happily ever after. Belle was beautiful, Ariel had a singing voice that would definitely land her a spot on "American Idol" (not to mention a sexy seashell bra), and Aurora was a blonde bombshell.

They were the most beautiful, charming, well-bred women we'd ever come in contact with and they would later come to stand for all those girls we looked up to in high school and college. They were the girls who always got the guy. They were our first taste of envy, the first real desire we had to live our lives like someone else.

We'd watch the movies over and over again, just wishing our lives were like the beautiful fairytales. We'd create impossible scenarios in our mind, dreaming of the day that our prince would come and sweep us off our feet. But what were we really picturing? That we'd marry the first rich guy that hit on us at eighteen? If you really look at it, the Disney Princesses were all just a bunch of entitled socialites obsessed with marrying the first rich guy who popped the question.

They had no real motivation, no ambition, no sense of work ethic (except Cinderella, she deserves everything she got). Ariel was the heiress who betrayed her family to go after some guy she never even spoke two words to. We all know Jasmine likes it dirty, as she just lets princes come in through her bedroom window. Snow White lived in a house with seven dudes, doing God knows what.

Aurora was a lame blonde who didn't do sh*t with her life, but wait around for a guy. From the moment she was born, she got everything handed to her because she was beautiful and rich. Honestly, all she needs is some night vision goggles and she's Paris Hilton.

As I've grown older, I wonder if I've just become resentful, knowing that I'm probably going to marry the guy that washes Prince Charming's carriage, or the village dude who gets two seconds of screen time during the group number. Maybe years of resentment have built up because of these false illusions, as I realize I can't lie in my bed all day until some hot rich guy comes and takes me to his palace.

But how realistic is that? What kind of woman would I be if my aspirations were to marry a rich prince and spend my days living in his castle? A gold digger, that's who. Now, let's look at the villains.

Maybe I'm just an aging, bitter millennial whose blonde locks are slowly turning a mousy brown, but I can't help but become suddenly defensive of those evil Disney villains we always hated. With the release of Angelina's new trailer, Malificent, I can't help but wonder, maybe those evil Disney villains didn't get a good enough rep. Maybe there weren't that evil at all. Maybe they are just scorned women, like the rest of us, trying to make it in this cruel world where the blonde bimbos always get the guy.

It's the villains who are more representative of the women we are now. They are the ones we grew up to become. They are single, hardworking, somewhat moody and bitter women just looking for their place in the world. They have aspirations, goals and dreams, even if they are somewhat evil. It's the villains who have the personalities, the thirst for power and the desire to succeed. They are the modern day women.

Unlike the princesses we grew up admiring, it's the villains who have flaws and character. They are filled with sadness, envy, desire: all the emotions that 20-somethings are just trying to understand. They are also smart and perceptive, a force to be reckoned with. They are highly analytical, extremely intelligent and motivated by their own ambitions (even if those ambitions aren't always good). So as we continue to grow and form into our adult selves, it's important to take a moment and reevaluate the women we never paid any attention to: the real women of our favorite Disney movies.


Considered one of the most menacing villains in all of the Disney movies, she's multifaceted. Her name aptly suggests the combination of both malevolent and magnificent. Unlike the heroine in her story, she has motivation.

She hatches a plan that spans sixteen years, an accomplished feat by those standards alone. Her bitterness stems from feeling left out, rejected upon not being invited to the christening of Aurora. Like many women, her evil side was created through isolation, feeling excluded and ostracized.

Cruella De Vil

She's a woman dedicated to her career. Without a man in her life, that's the only thing she has, isn't it? If you break it down, she's just a career-driven successful woman who owns her own fashion line. Her anger stems from when one of her more promising employees tells her she is leaving for a man. Though her actions are questionable, she is motivated by a desire to succeed.

Cruella must make the unpopular decision to use puppies because as they age their fur becomes very coarse, which does not sell as well in the fur fashion industry. Cruella has to deal with the Machiavellian idea of whether or not the ends justify the means, a decision every modern day woman faces on a regular basis.


She's a real woman, she's curvy. She's also an expert in her field, no one else under the sea can make magic through potions and sorcery. She's feared and respected and an expert negotiator. In the world of business, she would be a force to be reckoned with, as she is known for her talent of making great sense and making persuasive points when trying to strike a deal.

Queen Grimhilde

The queen from "Snow White" is a reflection of all women in society. Obsessed with her fading looks, she will do just about anything to stay young. Does that not sound exactly like all of our favorite Real Housewives? Her fears are similar to any aging woman, that the younger girl will swoop in and get the man. And is she not right? She may have gone too far with the poison apple, but her motives are not unrelatable.