I don’t know about you, but I’m really looking forward to Angelina Jolie’s “Maleficent”. Because when I was little, I never wanted to be Sleeping Beauty. Hell no! Princess Aurora was so passive. So boring. What a snore!
In fact, I never wanted to be the pretty, sweet princess in Disney movies. I never gave a shit about the prince, either. The princes were interchangeable. They all seemed like high school heroes who become the boring assholes who think they’re cool when they use last months internet slang at the company Christmas party.
No, my attention was always riveted on the villains. They were my favorite part of any Disney movie, and my secret role models. I know they weren’t supposed to be. When you look at most of these villains, the message is clear: powerful, colorful, strong-willed women are bad. Docile women who wait for their prince and do what they’re told are good. I didn’t care. The villains I loved were bizarre, ambitious, larger-than-life and had a unique sense of style. Many of them endured great tragedy in their past. So they were forced to fend for themselves. They didn’t wait for someone to change their life. They schemed, plotted and vowed revenge. They stirred shit up and looked fabulous while doing it. They never followed the traditional rules of society or beauty or morality. They were outsiders and rebels. Now that was the life I wanted to lead.
Let’s just break this down:
Snow White vs. The Queen? No contest. Who’s the chirpy moron cooking and cleaning for seven annoying little bastards in a shitty hut and who’s the beautiful bitch striding around in a castle, wearing a glorious flowing cloak and a crown? Guess which one I wanted to be?
Madame Medusa from “The Rescuers” and her flaming shock of red hair? SHE WORE FAKE EYELASHES! Love her for that fact alone. Plus, she ran that incredible pawn shop. Look at this place. I would fucking move in there tomorrow. And I’d wear that crazy cool feathered purple coat with the matching hat every day. I’d wear that shit to the supermarket. Actually, no I wouldn’t. Another great thing about villains–they never have to shop for groceries.
Best of all…what about the evil drag queen of the sea, Ursula? Those big, sloppy tits in that strapless gown! That fancy vanity! That lipstick application technique! The fact that she got a glamorous, Old Hollywood-style “reveal” in “The Little Mermaid”!
Maybe I feel this way about Disney villains because of my childhood. My parents divorced when I was two, and I was raised by my Finnish mom. We had no family but ourselves. We were broke and lived in a tiny apartment next to a gay disco in Honolulu. Our friends were not sweet, cookie baking housewives or hearty, smiling suburban dads. They were immigrants like my mom, with heavy accents, peculiar ideas and murky backgrounds. They were disco divas in sequin covered turbans and way too much blue eyeshadow. They were nightclub performers, astrologists, and restless people who just got on a ship one day and never looked back. Above all, they were hustlers. They were people who didn’t have the luxury to wait for someone to make their dreams come true. And sometimes they were like my mom, whose prince had come and gone. So is it any wonder I love the Disney villains, with their unique determination, their hustle, their outrageous style?
In the pantheon of beautiful villains, I’d say Eartha Kitt reigns supreme. She sizzled as Catwoman, voiced the sublime Disney villain Yzma and gave all of us villains, rebels and scarred outsiders an anthem to sing: “I’d rather be burned as a witch than never be burned at all…”