Why Wendy Rules

Updated 10/18/16

Who is your favorite Disney princess? Which Disney princess are you? Quizzes, T-shirts, mugs, snow globes, bed sheets, costumes, pencil sets, icons for Facebook, it’s ridiculous!

The current official line-up is Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana, Rapunzel, Merida. There are other Disney ladies who, while not princesses, certainly get the royal marketing treatment: Alice and Tinkerbell among them. And of course, Anna and Elsa are so popular they're in a category all their own.

But there’s a certain young lady who has, sadly, been overlooked. Wendy Darling.

Why should a little girl in a nightdress be among the nobility of Disney? I think she's one of the best female role models Disney has ever depicted. Here's why:

1. Bravery. From the very beginning of the tale, Wendy shows she’s got true grit. She’s no shrinking English violet. She catches Peter Pan’s shadow, which he can’t do himself, and then sits boy and shadow down for a scolding while she stitches one to the other. She bravely confronts Peter’s murderous ex-girlfriend Tinkerbell who tries to have her shot out of the sky, murderous mermaids who "were only trying to drown her" and murderous pirates who are, apparently, fine with feeding a young girl to a gigantic crocodile just to piss off their nemesis.

Never Land is more like Murder Land for poor Wendy Darling.

2. Class Act. Wendy survives all of Peter’s jealous groupies and she does it without ever disgracing herself or stooping to their level. She’s a girl out of her element, scooped up in her nightgown for crying out loud, yet she manages to stand tall no matter what those harpies throw at her.

The most they’ll ever get from Wendy is this adorable pursed lip/furrowed brow look.
3. Ultimate Mother. Mr. and Mrs. Darling disappear for the night at the beginning of the movie, leaving Wendy to babysit her two younger brothers. From the intimacy of their relationship, it seems pretty obvious that Wendy has babysat them before. A lot. In fact, she shares the nursery with them. Oh sure, they have Nana…who’s a dog. But, Wendy has no problem with her role as surrogate mother. And when she arrives in Neverland and meets the Lost Boys, she takes on the role for them as well. At least until she decides they should all go home to London…

…where, presumably, she will still pretty much be the mother.
4. She Doesn’t Marry Peter. Wendy, unlike every other Disney princess, does not fall in love and live happily ever after with her romantic interest. Of course she’s got it bad for Peter Pan—he’s a fun-loving bad boy who can fly! What’s not to love about that? But Wendy is still a young girl, and she knows it. She wants to go home, grow up, and then fall in love. Wendy, the one Disney heroine with a real positive message for young girls!

Oh sure, he's dreamy now, but a boy who refuses to grow up
might not be the best pick for your "ever after."

She’s just as pretty, just as smart, and sings just as beautifully (which is a requirement for princesses, according to the world of Walt), as all the other princesses. So why no Wendy wear? Why no Wendy badge on the Mozilla quiz?

I'm not a Wendy Darling. I'm probably more Megara, or a mix of Meg and Belle, but ... 

 I'd like to grow up to be more like her.


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