Commentary #38: “In Defense of Villainesses”

Kristen Johnston - anquotes

Image Credit: azquotes.com

One of my dearest friends, Michaela Leigh, tagged me, along with 31 other amazing women, in a Facebook post the other day with this article and the following script:

“this one is for all the vibrant and ambitious Outlaw Women, Cowgirls, Gunsmoke Gals, and Femme Sharks in my life. your dreams and accomplishments inspire and delight me. may every day be filled with such unbridled joy that all you can do is throw your head back and laugh.”


Entitled “In Defense of Villianesses,” the author brilliantly starts to describe characteristics of powerful, confident, self-assured women.

Then, she applies those characteristics to Disney villianesses.

Here’s some of the examples she used:

  • Maleficent
  • Cruella de Vil
  • The Queen from Snow White
  • Yzma from The Emperor’s New Groove
  • Shego from Kim Possible
  • Ursula from The Little Mermaid

I eagerly started searching the Internet for quotes and images:

Disney Villains - pinterest

Image Credit: pinterest.com

Little Mermaid - pinterest

Image Credit: pinterest.com

Maleficent - pinterest

Image Credit: pinterest.com

Cruella - quotesgram

Image Credit: quotesgram.com

Queen - pinterest

Image Credit: pinterest.com

Villainesses - pinterest

Image Credit: pinterest.com


One line stuck out to me instantly:

  • ” … Why is it that I can easily remember the faces and voices of female cartoon villains, but if asked about female cartoon heroes, all I can remember is the clothes?”

Wow.

She’s absolutely right.


And then, towards the end of the piece, she blew me away again:

  • ” …How might you laugh if you’d burned every bridge that needed burning, and there was nothing standing in the way of your ambition? How might you look, if the only person you needed to please with your fashion choices was you? It’s delicious and frightening to think about becoming the type of woman that a Disney illustrator would light from below, surrounded by billowing smoke, with your henchmen cowering in the background and every opportunity spread before you. It’s thrilling to imagine a life where your only fear is mortality, and even that can be negotiated out of the way if you know the right people or brew the right potions. It’s wonderful and terrible to think about having that much power, because as we all know, that much power makes you a villainess. …”

Her writing blew my mind.

I grew up admiring the Disney Princesses, especially Belle. I wanted to live in the Beast’s castle and fawn over that gorgeous, amazing, stunning library.

Beauty and the Beast - kardsunlimited

Image Credit: kardsunlimited.com

Belle - pinterest

Image Credit: pinterest.com

As a child, and then transitioning into a woman, I remember fearing these villainesses.

The Queen from Snow White gave me nightmares for a while.

SW_Queen - disney.wikia

I pictured Glenn Close as Cruella de Vil for several years.

Glenn Close - disney.wikia

Image Credit: disney.wikia.com

Maleficent made me instantly cringe.

Maleficent 2 - pinterest

Image Credit: pinterest.com

Ursula gave me goosebumps.

Ursula - disney.wikia

Image Credit: disney.wikia.com

Yzma’s voice sounded like nails on a chalkboard.

Yzma - pinterest

Image Credit: pinterest.com


But, in a way, Sarah’s right.

Most of the Disney Princesses are portrayed as brave, heroic, ambitious, and determined.

However, the villainesses also have those characteristics.

And they don’t get the credit they deserve.

Like Sarah, I stand in defense of these villainesses.

I still admire Belle, but I admire her for her love of books.

I hope to have children one day, and because of this, I want to show them both sides of these characters. Yes, these women may be portrayed as villainesses, but they’re not all bad.

In fact, some of their qualities are significantly better than those of the princesses.


What do you think?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

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35 thoughts on “Commentary #38: “In Defense of Villainesses”

  1. Welcome Laura ! Nice post again !

  2. Ahhh!!! I absolutely love this!!

  3. Excellent post!! I am a huge fan of the Disney Villainess! 🙂

  4. Wow! Awesome post! Never really thought about this!

  5. OMG! Thank you for sharing that article – it’s brilliant! I never thought about the qualities w/which we allow our “villainesses” to be imbued & what they say about women w/ambition, power, & drive to get what they want in life. But, it makes perfect sense – telling women to be quiet homebodies who don’t step outside unless directed/forced by an extreme situation… or rescuer (usually male).

  6. I’ve never thought of villainess in this way before, and now sense I think of it, it’s so true! The villains are actually quite wise too from the quotes. I think Disney over exaggerates certain roles, when in reality a human is a mix of them all–good and bad

  7. “A villain is a victim whose story you don’t know”

    “Evil queens are the princesses who saved themselves”

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