Disney: 15 most empowering female characters of all-time

Photo Credit: Mulan/Disney Image Acquired from Disney Media Distribution
Photo Credit: Mulan/Disney Image Acquired from Disney Media Distribution /
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June 1996. From The Film , Hunchback Of Notre Dam, The Gysy Called Esmeralda Give Quasimodo A Hand (Photo By Getty Images)
June 1996. From The Film , Hunchback Of Notre Dam, The Gysy Called Esmeralda Give Quasimodo A Hand (Photo By Getty Images) /

15. Esmeralda

The first lady to make the list probably isn’t the first one you’d think of. Featured in the movie Hunchback of Notre Dame, Esmeralda is usually forgotten about. It’s for multiple reasons as Hunchback isn’t remembered as fondly as its counterparts and Esmeralda is unlike any of the other gals who made the list. Most notably, the film ends and she doesn’t end up with the main character. Instead, she ends up with Phoebus.

Regardless, the impact Esmeralda had on the film was immense. Without Esmeralda, there’s no way Quasimodo would have escaped. It’s her compassion and willingness to look past his appearance that ultimately saves him. Things don’t get easier for Esmeralda, though, as she has to hide out from Frollo and almost gets burned at the stake. She does get her happy ending with Phoebus and still maintains a friendship with Quasimodo.

Esmeralda screams empowerment from her first moment on screen. She stands up for her own people and all the other outcasts. She doesn’t turn her back on them or Quasimodo despite Frollo’s attempts at killing her. Even though this film is for kids, Esmeralda is empowered by her body and uses it to get what she wants.

Her beauty isn’t what defines Esmeralda. As the film proves, it’s her heart and the kindness she shows others. Even though it almost cost her her life, she was willing to die. Thankfully, she didn’t but her willingness to accept all people and treat them with respect is truly what makes her such an empowering character.