5 Female Disney Characters Who Make Awesome Role Models

Mulan. Enough said. These female Disney characters rock.

(Faiz Zaki / Shutterstock.com)

When we think of female Disney characters, it’s princesses in puffy dresses and shiny shoes that come to mind - not necessarily the best role models for the young girls of today. But the heroines of some of Disney’s best movies are about so much more than looking beautiful, finding a man and falling in love. These five female Disney characters set impressive examples - they are women with moral conviction, courage, wit and a whole lot of sass.


As woman in the time of the Han Dynasty in China, Mulan takes a very different path than most of her peers. By assuming the role of a man to save her father, she discovers her own strengths and excels as a warrior - building her own life and accomplishments before going on to fill the role of wife and mother. Mulan teaches young girls to embrace life’s challenges and find the best in themselves.
QUOTABLE QUOTE: “The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.”


The heroine of The Hunchback of Notre Dame is an activist through and through, going in to bat for Quasimodo when she sees him being mistreated. Esmeralda teaches young girls to stand up for what they believe in - even if it means going against the crowd.
QUOTABLE QUOTE: “You speak of justice, yet you are so cruel to those who are in need of your help!”


A Native American woman in the 17th century, Pocahontas has a strong female community that she values and turns to for help. She is in touch with nature and spirituality and represents the classic free spirit. Her relationship with John Smith is based on awe about the world and learning from one another - a fine example for young girls.
QUOTABLE QUOTE: “What I love most about rivers is you can't step in the same river twice.”


Frozen’s elder sister lives her own life - making her own decisions and doing what’s right for her. She’s grounded and practical, bringing her sister Anna down to earth when she wants to get married too fast and moving away when she feels she can’t control her powers. Ultimately, Elsa and her sister teach young girls about sisterhood and the bond between women.
QUOTABLE QUOTE: "Let it go, let it go, can't hold it back anymore!"


What starts off as a cute friendship between Nala and Simba blooms into romance later in the movie - but that’s not what makes this female Disney character such a great role model. It’s Nala’s courage and conviction that saves the day in The Lion King when she wanders off into the wilderness to find Simba and bring him back to the Pride Lands. Nala teaches young girls to take initiative and follow their guts.
QUOTABLE QUOTE: "I can't believe it. He's gone back!"