9. Ursula (The Little Mermaid)
Yes, naming a villain as a role model is a controversial move. To be fair, there are certainly parts of Ursula’s story that are perhaps not ideal for kids or adults to emulate. For example, did you know that it’s bad to entrap people’s souls into terrifying muddy grub monsters? Plus, it’s generally frowned upon to enchant a prince into marrying you, even if it’s for the purposes of gaining power. You learn something new every day.
But dig a little deeper, and you’ll find that there’s a fair amount of admire in Ursula. For one, she is totally and completely into herself, including her large body and voracious personality. That’s a feat today, not to mention in a 1989 movie with a conventionally attractive (and, let’s be brutally honest, skinny) mermaid lead.
Now, there’s a lot to read into why the villain has to be fat and loud and the protagonist is slender and silenced. At least Ariel has an admirable streak of rebellion to her, though you may wish to see it brought to the fore more often. However, Ursula herself doesn’t seem too bothered about the dichotomy. In fact, she appears to have embraced herself in a way that outpaces any other being, under the sea or otherwise.