Ever since Disney+ launched last week, I’ve been revisiting the movies of my past, almost obsessively. I work from home, it’s nice to have something on in the background, and also, like basically everyone in human existence I’ve always wanted to be a mermaid.
I don’t know when Disney Princesses became a thing, but when I was younger, it wasn’t the industrial complex it seems to be today. That said, I definitely had my favorite heroines growing up (Aurora, Ariel, and Belle) and sure, they’re great, but that favoritism was mainly grounded in the dresses they wore, and the animals they hung out with. Want to know who’s the
fairest greatest of them all, though? Moana. Moana is the best, hands down. No question about it.
Friends, I really, really, really love Moana. Let me tell you why.
She’s Not About That Princess Life
All Disney Princesses are a product of their time—and unfortunately, until very recently, the highest achievement any of them could accomplish was going through some s*it and then getting married to live their happily ever after. Even Tiana, a successful small business owner/entrepreneur, has to be saved by love before she can realize her dream of being a restaurateur. Huzzah…?
Not my gal Moana, though. Moana’s greatest dream in life is not to find some Prince to change (or be changed) through true love (looking at you Snow White,) but to just get out and see the damn world. The best part is—she does that without basically any support from her family because she knows who she is at her core, and nothing can change that. She follows her own moral compass instead of giving into familial pressure, an extremely hard thing to do.
A lot better than giving up your damn voice for a dude you’ve only seen once, right?
She’s a Leader
When her village gets infected with the creeping plague, Moana ignores her father’s (bad, fear-based) decree, and takes to the ocean to try to help her people. Thus, saving the day and ultimately getting her village back out on the ocean exploring where they belong. She does this not because of birthright, but because she earned their respect through her actions. That’s a lot better than inherited power.
She’s a Problem Solver
Other than self-discovery and an insatiable desire to see the world, the whole point of Moana’s first journey into the ocean is to restore Te Fiti’s heart to her, which Maui took in some pointless, vainglorious quest. (Side note, I absolutely love the environmental message of this movie, which is basically, you take from the earth too much, the earth will lose her s*it and protect herself and it’s up to you to try to make that right.)
Moana is a damn problem solver. She appeals to Maui’s vanity in order to get him to help her in the first place. Not to mention that after Maui fails to restore Te Fiti’s heart, and literally strands Moana in the ocean, alone (although he does come back, in the end) it’s Moana who saves the damn world by realizing that Te Fiti and the angry volcano monster that’s ruining the world are one in the same. Rather than fight her, which is Maui’s solution, Moana restores what was taken to her and all is right in the world, again.
Her Songs Are Bangers
Look, I am not above admitting “How Far I’ll Go” is the song I put on when maybe I’ve had too much to drink, and I want to be in my emotions.
…and yes, I most definitely tear up every time, at this one because her ancestors are giving her strength to carry on, and oh my god, I love her grandma so much:
You know what else gets me? When she finds out how far she can go, and she gets to explore with her family (and village) and they reprise “We Know the Way” because now they’re ready to get back onto the ocean because of Moana:
Moana did that, y’all.
Love didn’t save Moana, Moana saved herself, and as a result, the rest of her world.
Am I here to shit on other princesses? No, honestly they’re a product of their time, even the more recent ones—but let’s not pretend that Moana isn’t the best of the lot, hands down.
Header Image Source: Disney/YouTube