Believe it or not, The Little Mermaid's Ursula is good for you. Now, I know she's certainly not a hero; at least in the typical way. No, she is a hero in a much different, and perhaps much more important, way. Yes, I'm defending the film yet again.
Look at her for a minute and tell me what you see. A baddie, perhaps? Maybe a jealous lunatic? A power-mad psycho would do anything necessary to get that damn crown? Sure, those are very true. But when I look her (in part thanks to a very smart reader and fellow Disney fan - thanks Kate) I see something else, something missing from so many forms of entertainment.
I see a fat person perfectly happy with their figure (I've discussed her weight before). The fact that she's got roles causes her zero (body) issues. She's still strong, confident, determined and fierce. Honestly, how often do we see a hefty person on screen who feels no qualms about their appearance? Ursula may be evil, but she's proud and that's her most important quality.
You might be wondering, where do you get this from? 'cause, yes, I know it's never mentioned. But remember when she turned herself into Vanessa to stop the growing infatuation between Ariel ("the little tramp") and Eric "quite a catch") so she'd be able to claim the mermaid princess for her little garden?
With a simple spell and potion, Ursula shrunk down to Disney Princess size. It was that easy. Seriously, like, who wouldn't want to be able to lose weight that frikkin easily? Dark Lord knows I would.
But Ursula doesn't. The moment the plan falls apart, she sprouts her tentacles and is that full bodied diva of evil again. She has no need for the merfolk's standard of beauty (remember this one longing to be thinner) that she doesn't possess; she doesn't care. She has her goals and a tiny heiny ain't one of 'em.
And to get that teeny waist, all she needs do is throw around some magic, which she is in no danger of running out of, and decides... to be herself.
What better role model can a person have than someone who knowingly defies cultural pressures to be a certain way and, instead, just does her. If you ask me, that's a real hero; someone who shows you that there's nothing wrong with being proud of yourself, even if you'll never end up on the cover of Cosmo.
But to be herself? That was an easy choice.