Jasmine is an especially interesting Disney Princess. She’s the first to not star in her own movie for one thing, but she’s also the first to be clearly of non-European origin, which adds a whole new layer of problems as Disney actually semi-accurately tried to portray the culture of the time (including thieves getting their hands chopped off, ewww).
Of course Aladdin is the main character, but Jasmine is no slouch in the world-savage department. Naturally Aladdin has the big guns to call on, in the form of the Genie, but he’s the main character so what do you expect? This isn’t a “Disney Princess” film in the same way that Snow White or Beauty in the Beast is, so you have to deal with the female being slightly more secondary in the story.
If you have a problem with that then please address your complaints to the author of 1001 Arabian Nights, where the movie got it’s original concept.
But let’s just address these so called problems that this picture brings up.
Yes, the Princess does have to get married to satisfy the law. I’m not sure how historically accurate that is, but they didn’t exactly have a lot of female’s running countries in that area and time period. Address complaints about this to early Muslim cultures, not Disney.
Jasmine’s reluctance to marry isn’t really what causes problems for her father, I’m pretty sure that’s never brought up. Actually her reluctance to be forced into a political marriage should be something that feminists are celebrating rather than bitching about, but I don’t expect consistency from them.
The Sultan’s real problems come from the fact that his main adviser is a creep with a fetish for power and an extreme narcissistic streak. This would have been a problem for the Sultan whether Jasmine had gotten married to the first “overdressed, self-absorbed” suitor she had.
Then of course their’s the “enslaved” bit. Yeah, Jafar does do that, but he enslaves the Genie and the Sultan as well. This isn’t an “anti-feminist” thing.
And of course she’s rescued by the main character. That’s sort of how Disney movies usually work.
Now let’s look at what feminists missed.
Jasmine, from the very beginning, has a mind of her own. She may have some fantastic romantic notions that seem a little unrealistic, but she also refuses to be forced into marrying someone just because of the law. Then she, a princess who has never been outside the palace walls in her life, decides to run away to make her own life on her terms.
Of course she doesn’t exactly plan her escape very well, but we can put that down to being naive about life outside the palace.
She saves Aladdin’s life from the guards, giving up her own attempt to get freedom, proving that her romantic notions aren’t just born from selfishness on her part.
Upon finding that Aladdin has been executed, she vows to remove Jafar from power permanently…which is actually what causes the main problems in the film.
Last, but certainly not least, Jasmine shows extreme bravery in the face of Jafar even while he has her enslaved. She refused to marry him, throws a glass of wine in his face, repeatedly defies him, and ends up being instrumental in distracting Jafar while Aladdin is attempting a rescue.
I mean, really, how is this not a feminist character? You guys are really grasping at straws. Of the earlier (meaning pre-21st century) Disney Princesses, Jasmine is probably the most feminist!
Aladdin isn’t my favorite of the Disney films, but a parent could do much worse for their daughter’s role model (especially these days) than Jasmine.