Remember that moment when Pocahontas gazes out over the waterfall, starts to walk away, then decides to run back and do a flawless swan dive like a boss? Well, we sure do. That moment was only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how brave, powerful, and inspiring Pocahontas actually is. She taught little grade school us, watching the film in theaters, to stand up for what we believe in, to be ourselves, to do what’s right.
In honor of International Women’s Day, we’re counting down our favorite Disney heroines who taught us some important lessons. Sometimes they also made us laugh, but they taught us stuff, too.
Edna Mode Taught Us to Be Bold
Every word that comes out of Edna’s mouth is an inspiration. She espouses boldness, bravery, and being your best self—as if doing otherwise wasn’t even an option. Most of all, she taught us how to take action! Sage words like “I never look back, darling. It distracts from the now.” And “Words are useless, gobble gobble gobble …” help teach her friends to tackle their problems head-on instead of waiting for (another) hero to step in. Plus, her personal fashion sense is absolutely flawless.
Mulan Taught Us To Be Ourselves
It might sound strange to think that Mulan taught us to embrace our true selves, considering she spent most of the film dressed up as someone else. But as Ping, she got to be more herself than she ever was in the Matchmaker’s house or serving tea. Mulan was able to be brave, break convention, and make a difference. Plus, her famous line “when will my reflection show who I am inside?” is the perfect call for being your most confident and best self.
Rapunzel Living Her Dream
After being locked up in isolation for years, Rapunzel learned a thing or two about being independent and taking care of herself. She tested herself by going outside for the first time and embraced adventure in order to see the lanterns, a dream she’d had since she was little. Rapunzel teaches us to let nothing get in the way of our dreams, and even more, that Pub Thugs can have dreams too.
Anna’s Sisterly Love
Even if you don’t have a sister, you probably have a friend you consider one. Anna would do anything for Elsa, and in fact, went through great lengths to bring her back to Arendelle. She proved that being a sister means loving another for who they are, even if they have crazy freezing powers.
Though Jessie talks a big talk and is a rootin’ tootin’ cowgirl, she actually can get just as frightened as any of the toys in the box when trouble is afoot. But, as soon as one of her pals is in trouble or needs help, Jessie will stop at nothing to come to their rescue. Jessie taught us that it’s fine to be scared, but that we can do great things if we push ourselves to overcome that fear.
Ariel Taught Us Seek Out Knowledge
Ariel consistently questioned the world beyond the sea, and was eager to learn what she didn’t already know. She knew there was a world outside her own, and was anxious to be part of it. In our world, she taught us not to be afraid of what we don’t know, but to seek out knowledge about new cultures and places. Her free-spirit and sense of adventure are reminders to always get outside our comfort zone.
Belle’s Courage and Compassion
Belle’s story is a unique one that taught us a number of lessons in acceptance, compassion, and friendship. She shows us the importance of family (no matter how eccentric) when she seeks to rescue her father from Beast. She learns that Beast is approachable, kind-hearted, and much more gentle than his appearance makes him seem. Despite her love of books, she teaches us not to judge one by its cover, and to keep an open heart to new acquaintances.
She shoots for her own hand—enough said.