Disney Castle and its environs were filled with discord. The characters that inhabited this magical world were well aware of it. Whether they lived in the castle itself (and a lot did), or lived elsewhere on the campus, or even on the outskirts, near the train station, towards the Marvel Universe, they were aware of it. It existed. It was there. They felt it, or knew about it, or experienced it.
The male characters tried to quietly ignore it, but it was there. With the female characters it was pretty much expected that they would have some sort of stance on the issue.
The topic? The Disney Princess line.
There were many, many female characters within the Disney Universe and the associated worlds and properties (Pixar, Marvel, and so forth). But the ones that had a whole line to themselves? There were ten specific female characters, most of them princesses through marriage or birth. Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Tiana, Rapunzel, and for whatever reason of The Powers That Be chose, Fa Mulan. There were other important females, other princesses, and they were ignored by this line. Well, at least by the actual line created by The Powers That Be, not by the characters in the line.
“I don’t see why it’s a big deal, anyways,” Jane Porter said as she sat in a tree reading a book, to no one in particular. She had been accosted, as she would put it, by Esmeralda as she left the confines of the castle to go read outside.
“Disney Princess line ignores females like you and me! We’re just as important as the princesses, aren’t we?!” Esmeralda exclaimed.
“W-well, of course,” Jane said.
“Have an opinion about it! We need to end this line! It is unfair!”
“I see,” Jane said.
“JUSTICE!” Esmeralda exclaimed.
“Yes, yes, of course,” Jane replied quickly.
“Think about all the female characters over the years that are patently ignored or will be ignored. Just because they are not Princesses or chosen by The Powers That Be.”
Jane found herself just saying “Oh yes, I understand.” and taking the pamphlet Esmeralda had, just to go read and to sate Esmeralda.
Jane found she did not care. She was a well known character and that was a good enough for her. She was a character that had been around for approximately a century, in some form, even if not in the Disney form. Esmeralda’s character had been around for about seventy years longer; shouldn’t she take something out of that?
At least she could not be bothered in the tree.
Jane was just one female character. There were many others, all who had opinions.
The voices from the expansive playground carried, and she could hear the prepubescent girls, known as the Ashleys, talking about how they wanted in.
“I mean, oh mah gawd, we’re the Ashleys, don’t we belong in the Princesses line? Our dads think so,” said Ashley A.
“We should start trying to get in!” Ashley B said.
“Great idea, Ashley B!”
“Scandalous!” they all exclaimed.
Jane rolled her eyes. At least they weren’t bothering her in her tree.
Being shorter than a few feet tall (or even really huge or bulky) is not fun in a place like Disney Castle and the environs, so the characters typically are, regardless of how they appeared in their source material, are around human size. Some are humanized, simply for practicality. Why should the moat be the only place to see Dory and Marlin and Nemo and the others? Some are still the way they appeared in the source material: lions or what have you, of course. Jessie, being a toy at between twelve and fifteen inches tall, happened to be a humanized one. Toy in her source material, human at Disney Castle. No big, as another Disney redhead would say.
Jessie sat at a table with Megara, Colette, and Ellie (who is aged as a young woman). Megara was not exactly sure how she got to sit with a couple of Pixar girls, but she did not mind. They were all cool people. She enjoyed their company. They invited her along, and she could not help but not refuse. And so, they were sharing a picnic lunch of some sort that Colette had made, on a grassy knoll outside of the castle. They were having a nice meal, not talking about the topic that most of the female characters were talking about. It simply did not come up, but they all pretty much had the same thought about it.
Apathy. They did not care.
And it would come up when the four actual Princesses by birth of Pixar came up to their table, after being spotted from afar by Jessie.
Ellie suggested calling them over. They were their friends and sisters in Pixar, after all.
“Good idea, Ellie!” Jessie exclaimed.
And Megara felt like Jessie hurt her ears by whistling in the direction of the girls and then exclaiming loudly, and her voice carried, “Hey! Merida! Mira! Come over here! You too, Dot and Atta!” She waved too.
Megara noticed that Mira held a clipboard in her hand, as she walked over, the other three females in tow.
“Why is Mira Nova holding a clipboard?” Megara asked quietly.
The girls shrugged their ignorance.
Megara nibbled on the brie as Jessie stood up and gave brief embraces to Mira and Merida, and shook Atta and Dot’s hands, before sitting back down next to Ellie and taking a finger sandwich. There were no other perfunctory greeting exchanges. They all knew each other: it was not needed, as Jessie essentially did it for them.
“What’s with the clipboard?” Ellie asked.
“Oh, aye, we are Pixar Princesses, and that should make us Disney Princesses, shouldn’t it?” Merida asked.
“We were hoping to get signatures to try to get us in. We figured it would help,” Dot said.
“And I heard that Esmeralda and Violet are attempting to disband it,” Ellie said.
“Lilo, too!” Jessie said.
“Girls, I thought we weren’t going to talk about that?” Megara asked, wearily. She sighed.
“Why does Esmeralda want to disband it?” Colette asked Ellie.
“Oh, it’s because she thinks it’s unfair and ignores non-Princesses like the four of us and other Princesses unlucky to not be part of it,” Jessie said.
“Oh, I don’t need no stinkin’ line to feel appreciated or liked,” Colette said.
Megara sighed, annoyed.
“Seriously?” Megara said. “Why are we talking about it? Who cares? It’s just a money making ploy.”
“Yeah, but it’s still nice to be recognized,” Atta offered.
“And, Mira, you don’t like it when Buzz calls you Princess, but you want to be recognized in marketing as a Princess?” Jessie asked.
“It’s not about the frilly dresses or anything like that, we just want to be recognized as a Princess,” Mira said.
“You’re not satisfied with having been part of Buzz Lightyear’s team?” Megara asked.
“Personally, I’m very satisfied with being part of Buzz’s team,” Jessie said. She said it under her breath, but loud enough to be heard.
Clearly meant to be innuendo the remark earned Jessie two brief nudges of sorts from Megara and Colette.
Mira noisily made a sigh.
“Honestly, I don’t care about the whole Princess line because my franchise had new merch even in between a decade of no new source material!” Jessie said. “And, I’m not a Princess, I’m a cowgirl. And I’m content with that.”
“And you’re Buzz Lightyear’s lady,” Merida muttered.
“That too!” Jessie said. “And I’m more than content with that.”
“We get it!” Megara exclaimed. “You’re sexually satisfied! Shut up!”
“Anyways,” Merida said, ignoring Megara’s outburst at Jessie. “We were wondering if you’d be willing to sign a petition for us.”
“No,” Megara said. “Don’t care enough.”
“I’ll do it,” Ellie said. “I’m not personally interested in being a Princess. I’m fine with making people cry with the small amount of screen time I got. But, why not help you guys out.”
“Eh, I’ll do it too,” Jessie said. “Mira’s from essentially the same franchise from me, and while I don’t care with the line itself, no harm in being nice to Atta and Dot and an accomplished archeress.”
Jessie smiled at Merida and winked at her.
Colette merely shrugged, declining to sign.
So Jessie and Ellie signed their names on the petition.
This whole situation, or whatever it was, where all of her fellow female characters had some sort of opinion or feeling (even apathy!) on the Disney Princess line made Mulan feel uncomfortable. She was actually the only non-Princess in the line. The others were either Princesses by birth (Snow White, Aurora, Rapunzel, Pocahontas, Jasmine) or by marriage (Belle, Tiana, Ariel, Cinderella), or even birth and marriage (Ariel, Snow White, Aurora). She was not a Princess – at all! Shang was a General, and that was as far as it went. She assumed one of The Powers That Be had figured because she almost married a Prince of Qi Gong in Mulan 2, that it counted. She guessed. Who knew? She wasn’t a Princess! It made her feel awkward.
Especially considering the current state of things. She recently had been walking the hallways of the castle, minding her own business, when Miss Piggy, who seemed to be dressed a bit like Lady Gaga, came up to her and said, “Darling! I want to be a Disney Princess, let me in. I should be in that line!”
And that was it. Miss Piggy did not ask. She demanded it. But she was like that.
All Mulan could say was, “Miss Piggy, I-I don’t have that k-kind of p-power.” Miss Piggy made her uneasy and nervous. At least she could fight back if Miss Piggy decided to get physical. Of course, if she got kidnapped…
“Well, who I talk to get in?” Miss Piggy asked.
“The Powers That Be?” Mulan guessed.
“Can you put in a good word?” Miss Piggy asked.
“Uh, ‘kay?” Mulan said.
And then later in the day, when she was quietly eating dinner by herself, Giselle and Charlotte came up to her. She sighed when she saw both perky women come towards her and prepared herself.
“Mulan!” Giselle and Charlotte exclaimed. They were wearing laurels on their heads, possibly made by Giselle. She did things like that.
“Hello,” Mulan said politely.
Charlotte sat down in front of her and said, “So, I was wondering—”
“If I could put in a good word for you to get into the Disney Princess line?” Mulan asked, as she ate her dinner.
“How’d you know?” Giselle asked, gasping happily.
“I had a feeling,” Mulan said, wearily.
“How did you get in,” Charlotte asked. “Did your daddy pay off Mickey Mouse?”
“What? No!” Mulan exclaimed.
“How did you get in if you’re not a Princess?” Charlotte asked. “I want in.”
“Lottie, they just chose me.”
“Do you guys make some kind of voting for new members? Were Tiana and Rapunzel voted in?”
“No?” Mulan asked. “We didn’t do anything like that. It was just assumed. I guess.”
“Can we get in?” Giselle asked. “Oh, please, please, please.”
“I don’t have that much power here. It’s mostly a marketing, merchandise thing. It’s not like I’m ruling Disney Castle or anything like that. The only thing I really would do is defend the castle if there is a siege,” Mulan said.
“Exciting!” Giselle exclaimed.
“You’re our action Princess!” Charlotte exclaimed.
“Again, not a Princess. I was not born one nor did I marry one. I don’t even know my military rank in-universe!” Mulan said.
“Is it possible to make petitions?” Charlotte asked.
“Whatever you wanna do,” Mulan said.
“Would you sign it?”
“Please? I really want to be a Disney Princess! With my best friend! It would be so cool!” Charlotte exclaimed.
“And you?” Mulan asked.
“Oh, I just want the Title,” Giselle asked. She smiled so sweetly that it did not seem as glory-hungry coming from her.
“And why didn’t you ask Tiana, Charlotte?” Mulan asked.
“Oh, that’s a great idea!” Charlotte exclaimed.
“Nani! Why don’t you care about this?” Lilo exclaimed angrily at her older sister. She held up a pamphlet and shook it. “The Disney Princess line is an inequality! It’s an abomination!”
“Lilo, I just don’t care,” Nani replied.
“But it’s important!” Lilo exclaimed. “There’s only ten in there! Ten! This is worse than that Stitch anime in Japan!”
“We’re part of the Disney canon! We should be in there!” Lilo exclaimed.
“Lilo, it’s just a money making opportunity. Don’t worry about it.”
“But Esmeralda said we should take action. Penny Proud is against it, too!” Lilo exclaimed. “Nani, do you realize that there are at least ten animated Princesses excluded from that group. Mira Nova is not in it!”
“To be fair, she prefers to be considered a Space Ranger.”
“Her movie is not in it.”
“From John Carter? She’s a Princess. Of Mars, or whatever she called it!”
“That’s not animated, though.”
“So?! And, Eilonwy predates Ariel and she’s not in the line!”
“Look, Lilo, go ahead and do what you like, but I still don’t care. I’m not a Disney Princess. It doesn’t matter to me. Just don’t be mean to anyone. Okay?”
Kim Possible had plans with some of her other female brethren for a day out in the wild forests of the Disney Castle environment. She had invited Pocahontas, Merida, Elizabeth Swann, Snow White, Jessie, and a mother and daughter pair, Nala and Kiara (both of them totally still lions), for an afternoon of hunting or self-defense sort of thing. She had invited Tiana but she declined but offered to cook up whatever they got with the help of the chefs of Ratatouille. She hoped, you know, there would be no bothersome discussion of the whole debacle going on at the moment.
Shego had even joked about it, saying Kim should be in the Disney Princesses line because of the fact that ‘Princess’ was Shego’s nickname for her.
She sighed, and hoped that it wouldn’t be a matter of discussion, even though her party included two Disney Princesses, a soon-to-be Princess within Pixar, a Pirate King, lion royalty, and a cowgirl.
“All right, ladies, let’s go,” Kim said.
Mother and daughter lead the way into the forest, with Pocahontas by their side. Merida had her bow and arrow ready, with Snow White taking Kim’s arm and telling Merida not to shoot any talking or sentient animals.
“Aye, but there are none in here, are there?” Merida said.
“I believe I would beg to differ,” Nala said, turning around, a little growl in her voice.
“Sorry,” Merida said quickly.
“Forgiven,” Nala and Kiara said.
About an hour in, Merida was whispering to Jessie as Kim taught Snow White some blocking moves. Kim noticed it, but to be fair, Nala and Kiara were resting on rocks, possibly even napping.
“Should I ask them? Two of the ten are here! What do you think?” Merida whispered loudly.
“Yeah, and one of them is learning self-defense, don’t bother them right this second,” Jessie said.
“Should I ask them or not?”
“Whatever you want, why are you asking me?”
“Because you’ve been around fairly long.”
Jessie scoffed briefly. “Around 13 years, a teenager compared to Snow,” Jessie whispered.
Kim broke them up to have Elizabeth show Jessie some sword fighting moves. And Merida teaching Snow White and Kim archery with Pocahontas watched closely. Nala and Kiara watched.
And then Merida made a comment, “So, Snow, I was wondering, since I have your ear right now…”
“Yes?” Snow asked.
“I’m hoping to get into the Disney Princess line. I know there are a few others that want in as well.”
“Including non-Princesses too?” Snow White sniffed.
“Aye. I’ve signed Giselle and Lottie’s petition for them to sign mine,” Merida said.
“Now, I understand why you want in,” Snow said.
“But Giselle and Lottie? Neither of them have married a Prince nor were born Princesses,” Snow said.
Merida’s smiled drooped. But she pointed something out:
“But, Mulan neither married a Prince nor was born a Princess!” Merida exclaimed.
“That’s just the way things are!” Snow exclaimed. “I’m very sorry, that’s just how it is. It’s the luck of the draw! I got in because I was the first, of course. It’s typically, you married a Prince or you were born a Princess.”
Growls interrupted the discussion.
“I married a Prince,” Nala said.
“I was born a Princess,” Kiara said.
Both of them stood up and padded over to the four women.
“And I’m very sorry that you did not get into the line. But, the line is only for human Princesses.”
“That why Mira and Atta and Dot aren’t in? How is that fair?” Merida said.
“I did not make the rules!” Snow exclaimed, sounding distressed.
“You just live comfortably beneath them, that it?” Merida said.
“Okay! That’s enough!” Kim exclaimed at the same time Elizabeth exclaimed, “Stop that!”, Pocahontas said, “Quiet.” and Jessie yodeled to shut up the increasing volume of voices.
The voices stopped talking.
“Everyone sit down! Right now!” Kim exclaimed.
Not wanting to get in a fight with Kim they did what they were told.
“Seriously?” Kim said. “We all know that the actual young women in the line do not have control over who gets in next.”
“That’s how it’s always been,” Snow White said, quietly. “I’m sorry, I really am. The decision is not up to me. Pocahontas, back me up, please.”
Pocahontas sighed. “I understand your grievances, friends. It would be great to see it expanded.”
“I don’t really care one way or the other,” Kim said. “But, that would be nice.”
“And I’m a Pirate King. Pirates life for me, not a Princess’s life for me.”
Among the Princesses in the line themselves, they were actually divided amongst themselves over how they felt about the issue. And because everyone felt that it would help their case if they asked a Princess in the line to get them in, they would go to them. Cinderella, Snow White, and Aurora were against any changes; Jasmine and Ariel were apathetic to an extent; Tiana, Rapunzel, Pocahontas, and Belle were sympathetic to the issues, and Mulan just felt plain awkward about it.
“How many actual Princesses want in again?” Cinderella asked. “And how many of them just want in because they just want in?”
Belle cleared her throat and read: “Su, Ting-ting, and Mei, sisters…”
“Daughters of my Emperor,” Mulan said.
“Kiara and Nala, although, Nala is actually content with only letting her daughter in,” Belle said. “Dot, Atta, Mira Nova, and Merida, all of whom are Pixar.”
“But we own Pixar, so what’s the problem there?” Jasmine asked.
“Eilonwy, Kida, and Faline,” Belle said.
“What about others?” Cinderella asked. “Megara is married to a Greek God, isn’t she?”
“Oh, she doesn’t care,” Mulan said.
“So, who wants in that’s not a Princess?”
“Charlotte,” Belle said.
She gave a look to Tiana who said, “I’m willing to sponsor her. She is my best friend.”
“That’s not how it works. It doesn’t work this way. It’s not nepotism!” Aurora said.
“I assume that’s why my daughter is not included?” Ariel asked. “I’ll put her name on that list if she has not.”
Belle nodded and then went on with the others.
“Giselle, Lottie, The Ashleys (the four of them, minus Spinelli), Maid Marian, Miss Piggy.”
Rapunzel looked at Belle’s list and said, “What’s that third section?”
“Oh, I didn’t know what to make of it.”
“Well?” Cinderella asked.
“Well, Shego submitted a petition. But for Kim Possible,” Belle said.
Rapunzel could not help but giggle.
“Is that for real?” Mulan asked. She and Tiana and Rapunzel looked at the paper.
“Yup, it’s real,” Tiana said.
“Obviously, Shego is doing that to troll,” Cinderella said. “Any more others?”
“Kuzco wants him and Malina in,” Belle said.
It took a moment for that to register.
“Yeah,” Belle shrugged.
“Malina would make sense if he would pop the question and put a ring on that finger,” Ariel said.
There was general agreement from all of the girls from the movies that came after Ariel.
“She’s from a television show. Do you think they’d change the rules for her?” Aurora asked.
“Did for me,” Mulan muttered.
“And as for Kuzco, I do believe he’s a male, so he is ineligible from the way it seems to be done,” Cinderella said.
“That’s rather unfair,” Pocahontas said.
“Well, if we were to add Princes to the line, we’d have to add everyone, then. Charming, Adam, Naveen, and so on,” Cinderella said. “Then what would it be?”
“Equal?” Tiana said.
“Look, I respect that you like things to stay the same way,” Pocahontas began, speaking to Cinderella, Snow, and Aurora. “But, it’s not fair to a good portion of this entire establishment. You do realize that it’s not just Princesses?”
“Of course!” Snow exclaimed. “I spent the day with you in the woods with pirates, teen heroes, humanized cowgirl toys, lionesses, and a Pixar princess!”
“I would definitely like to see it expanded to include the Princesses that aren’t here, and give honorary Princess status to non-Princesses?” Rapunzel suggested.
“I like that idea!” Belle said.
“Well, take it up with marketing or The Powers That Be,” Cinderella said. “I don’t have any sort of power to change it. You know that.”
“If we expanded and gave honorary Princess status out, I would drop out as an actual Princess and take honorary Princess status,” Mulan said.
“Why?” Jasmine asked.
“Because I’m not a Princess,” Mulan said. “I mean, there are three Princesses in my own films! Put them out there for marketing.”
“You do realize not many people like the sequel?” Aurora asked. “They wouldn’t work out. At least marketing wise.”
Pocahontas gave a deep sigh and exclaimed, “It’s not about marketing, or making money! It’s about inclusion! It’s about equality! These are our friends, aren’t they?!” She made the other girls jump in surprise.
“Or our daughters,” Ariel said. “I agree.”
They girls agreed that the other females were their friends.
“For Disney’s sake, Minnie Mouse is not in this group, and she predates everyone here!” Belle exclaimed.
“Maybe I should just drop out in protest to the issues?” Mulan said.
“No!” exclaimed several girls.
“I’ve a better idea,” said one of them.
This whole discussion lead to a proclamation, not approved by The Powers That Be, but by the women in the Princesses line that female characters that inhabited the Disney environs, were an honorary Disney Princess and, if they were already a Princess or married to a Prince in their source material, would be considered a Disney Princess, honorary and actually, at least within the place they inhabited (Marketing being a completely different story). As for the male characters, they were given Disney Prince status, whether they were already a Prince, married a Princess, or had no such status already. Basically: Disney Prince and Disney Princess status for all. And, of course, there was much rejoicing.
“Well, it’s not gone completely, but this is an acceptable compromise,” said Esmeralda to her fellow Disband Disney Princess comrades.
“I’m a Princess!” Lottie exclaimed. She gave Tiana a hug.
“I’m a Princess?” Jessie asked.
“I always thought so,” Buzz replied to her.
“And you’re a Prince, which I thought already,” Jessie said, smiling at him. “At least Mira got what she wanted.”
“We’re all Princesses? Scandalous!” The Ashleys said. This was assumed to be a roundabout way of saying they were pleased with this.
“Whatever,” Megara said.
Jane Porter said the same thing, except she was in a tree still reading her book, and she said it in an English accent.
“Hey, Princess!” Shego exclaimed to Kim Possible. “You’re now actually a Princess!”
“Well, so are you, I think?” Kim retorted.
“I like this change,” Minnie Mouse said.
“I’m already a King, it’s no big deal,” Elizabeth Swann said.
“At last. Recognition,” Miss Piggy said. And she tossed her hair over her shoulder.