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Friday Fiercness: The Disney Villainesses | Manolo for the Big Girl

Friday Fiercness: The Disney Villainesses

First and foremost, I find villainesses are a deeply misunderstood species.

Like, sometimes you’ve had a hard year. Let’s say you’ve had problems with your convertible and your brother’s been sick and the men in your life are making you insane because you are just. one. woman and do not have TIME to deal with all their CRAZY GUY STUFF because it is NOT YOUR FAULT they have the emotional availability of a lobotomized he-goat and after a certain point you just need to unwind and spend a little “you” time.

Maybe it’s yoga, maybe it’s Ladies Night at Red’s Indoor Range and maybe it’s commissioning a new piece of outerwear. No judgment here. And let’s say you’re a green kinda gal, you decide NOT to destroy the planet by getting some polyester or nylon nightmare and instead opt for puppies which are PERFECTLY SUSTAINABLE RESOURCES and all of the sudden people are all up on your jock trying to run your convertible off the road, pestering your henchmen and writing unpleasant songs about your otherwise bitchin’ name. Do you KNOW how hard it is to find a good henchman in a recession? DO YOU?


ANYWAY, everyone knows the best characters are the villains and today we’re celebrating the five fiercest villainesses from the house that Walt built.

Cocktail time with the Queen
The Queen from Snow White, 1937

Still scary even when holding a cocktail, she’s the villainess who started it all. Please note the importance of a strong eyebrow arch.  Villainesses know from birth what we all learn eventually: there is no more satisfying weapon than hauteur.

from Sleeping Beauty, 1959

…unless it’s turning into a*%#$* DRAGON. Also note the importance of statement accessories, namely bitchin’ millinery and an evil-but-coordinating bird.

Lady Tremaine
Lady Tremaine from Cinderella, 1950.

The most chinny of all the villainesses, La Tremaine knows to balance a prominent chin with big hair and large jewelry and, of course, locking her servants in mice-infested basements.  It’s like lookin’ in a mirror.

Cruella De Vil
Cruella DeVil from 101 Dalmatians,1961

I’m going to say one thing and one thing only: girlfriend was FRAMED.

Ursula from the Little Mermaid
Ursula from The Little Mermaid 1989

Ah, Ursula the Sea Witch,  providing fat girls with a default costume since 1989.  Proving once and for all big girl can go strapless with the right bone structure, hair, accessories and fundamental desire to crush the wills of all those around her.

Madame Medusa

Madame Medusa from The Rescuers, 1977

Totally underrated villainess from The Rescuers, all girlfriend wanted is a rock of her own and just ONE TEENSY KID gets dropped down a well and all of the sudden she’s the root of all evil. I had to post the picture of her in a turban applying false lashes because, well, we’ve all been there, but  Madame Medusa was the first Disney villainess brave enough to prove that gingers actually CAN wear red.

Honorable Mention:

Yzma from The Emperor’s New Groove, 2000

EARTHA  MUTHA*^&%ING KITT, Y’ALL! This woman is my everything. Fabulous gowns, a hot-but-dim boytoy and a SECRET LAB WITH A ROLLER COASTER.

26 Responses to “Friday Fiercness: The Disney Villainesses”

  1. HurricaneDeck October 30, 2009 at 4:05 pm #

    instead opt for puppies which are PERFECTLY SUSTAINABLE RESOURCES

    I just spit coffee all over my monitor. Awesome!

  2. Chelsea October 30, 2009 at 4:30 pm #

    This may be my favorite post from you. Ever. EVER.

  3. Meg October 30, 2009 at 5:56 pm #

    I love the villainesses. Give me them over some mewling princess any day. (I think largely because they’re just about the only women in disney movies with agency.)

    Sadly, you really can’t get much in the way of disney stuff with the villainesses on it.

  4. Sid October 30, 2009 at 6:04 pm #

    Ursula: TOTES REASONABLE. Triton kicked her out of the palace! A lady needs to make some bank if she’s to keep herself superfab, and A LADY does not break kneecaps when her debtors don’t pay up. She makes with the magic and turns those layabouts into KELP.

    Yzma: NO ONE APPRECIATES MY DEEP LOVE OF THIS MOVIE. “Is that my voice?” “Why do we even HAVE that lever?”

  5. Bobbi October 30, 2009 at 6:07 pm #

    I love, Yzma, you just have to get past the annoying David Space voiced Llama to listen to Eartha Kitt own the Yzma role.
    It is brilliant when she drawls to her assistant/boy toy, “It’s called cruel irony, Kronk. Sort of like my dependance on you.”

  6. Plumcake October 30, 2009 at 6:19 pm #

    I know, I have a deep love of that film and could probably quote it from memory. The first time I saw it I was expecting nothing but heartache but as soon as Yzma came on the screen I thought “Is that Eartha Kitt? HOLY COW THAT’S EARTHA KITT!!!”

    and I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve listed some long, boring plan and ended it with AND SMASH IT WITH A HAMMER!!!

  7. Emily October 30, 2009 at 6:30 pm #

    Except for my opinion being that Yzma should have gotten more than Honorable Mention, I will say this: Best. Post. Ever.

    That’s all. Happy Halloween.

  8. Plumcake October 30, 2009 at 6:44 pm #

    The only reason she gets honorable mention is that she wasn’t really scary, although I believe an Eartha Kitt Friday Fierceness is in order.

  9. Melissa M October 31, 2009 at 2:11 am #

    Agreed – best post ever. Love, love, and love. I gotta go get my inner villainess on, y’all!

  10. Marie Denee October 31, 2009 at 4:03 am #

    ROFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love this! This is my favorite. EVER.

  11. Lauren October 31, 2009 at 6:55 am #

    I am going to say one thing and one thing only: BEST POST EVER.

  12. Michelle October 31, 2009 at 10:03 am #

    Oh I love love love this. Ursula is my favourite though. She is FABULOUS

  13. Lisa October 31, 2009 at 3:46 pm #

    Oh, I love me some Ursula. Her poor unfortunate souls remind me of my students who want grade changes at the end of the semester:


    “I’m a very busy woman…”

    And then there is the voice casting of Pat Carroll, who is just inspired. The voice casting for The Rescuers is magnificent; the pairing of Zsa Zsa and Bob Newhart is sheer genius, and who doesn’t love Geraldine Paige???

  14. Cedar October 31, 2009 at 9:28 pm #

    Yzma all the way. Although Plumcake has a point: not only is she not scary, she’s not even really a villan.

    I mean, she only wants to kill David Spade. If that’s wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

  15. Evie November 1, 2009 at 3:38 am #

    Oh my god, I thought I was the only one who appreciated the genius that is Yzma (and, really, the whole movie except for David Spade). The EYELASHES, people. And the feather hats that she flicked down for improved aerodynamics on the roller coaster. Amazing. Definitely the most witty movie Disney’s made in recent memory.

  16. barnacletree November 1, 2009 at 12:03 pm #

    Amen, sister! You tell ’em.

    This post has inspired me – for next halloween, I clearly need to find a maleficent costume.

  17. ChloeMireille November 2, 2009 at 11:35 am #

    During my 3rd senior year at college, my BFF (a fabulous big-girl-at-the-time who totally reminds me of Plumcake) hosted a Disney villains party for Halloween. She was Cruella and I was Ursula. Yet, neither of us had the best costume. That prize went to a guy friend who showed up as Maleficent. I think with the horns, he was pushing 7 feet tall.

  18. theDiva November 2, 2009 at 12:01 pm #

    Plummy, will you marry me?

  19. SusanC November 2, 2009 at 8:23 pm #

    Maleficent is an appropriate mention for this blog, as she is wearing a houppelande that would have been the height of fashion in late 14th century Northern Europe. (Even her headdress would not have been out of place, if you look at the helmet-horned ladies from that era). I know this because I have one that was custom-made by an talented, slightly obsessed seamstress. (or am I being redundant?)

    I guess Plumcake is relaxing her strictures against SCA/RenFaire costumes, if they are worn with the proper fierce attitude.

  20. La BellaDonna November 3, 2009 at 6:54 pm #

    For a few brief seconds, Disney actually had a Barbie-sized version of the Wicked Queen from Snow White. I was meeting a bunch of people for dinner, but by gum, I stopped and bought that doll FIRST. And brought it inside with me. And everyone felt perfectly free to point out that, as a matter of fact, it looked Just. Like. Me.

    Well, duh. It took DECADES for me to find a doll that looked like me, in a world of blue-lidded blondes. I even bought a little heart to put in the box! (one of W.Q.’s “accessories”).

  21. Min November 4, 2009 at 1:20 pm #

    Maleficent and Philip…you just know they had some kinky BDSM thing going on the side.

  22. Margo November 6, 2009 at 6:29 pm #

    I only recently found out that Cruella’s character was reportedly based on The One, The Only, The Fiercest of The Fierce: Tallulah Bankhead.

    About The Emperor’s New Groove: originally, Owen Wilson recorded the David Spade part. Let us all bow our heads for a moment to mourn what could have been.

    I also feel this post is a safe space for me to ‘fess up, one of the first things I did when unleashed on to the internoodles was write a fan email to Eartha Kitt.

  23. Liz September 30, 2010 at 12:40 pm #

    I do think Madame Mim from The sword and the stone (1963) should have been mentioned :)