|Disney's Aladdin character|
|First appearance||Aladdin (1992)|
|Created by||Ron Clements
|Voiced by||Linda Larkin (speaking)
Lea Salonga (singing, Aladdin)
Liz Callaway (singing, The Return of Jafar and Aladdin and the King of Thieves)
|Title||Princess Jasmine of Agrabah|
|Family||The Sultan (father)|
Princess Jasmine is a fictional character who appears in Walt Disney Pictures' 31st animated feature film Aladdin (1992). Voiced by American actress Linda Larkin – with a singing voice provided by Filipina singer Lea Salonga – Jasmine is the spirited Princess of Agrabah, who has grown weary of being confided to her palace. Despite an age-old law stipulating that the princess must marry a prince in time for her next birthday, Jasmine remains determined to marry someone she loves for who he is as opposed to what he owns. Created by directors Ron Clements and John Musker with screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, Jasmine is based on the character Badroulbadour, a princess who appears in the One Thousand and One Nights folktale "Aladdin and the Magical Lamp".
Originally conceived as a spoiled, materialistic princess, the writers eventually reworked Jasmine into a stronger, more prominent heroine following the elimination of Aladdin's mother, borrowing story elements from the romantic comedy Roman Holiday (1953). Several months after securing the role, Larkin was nearly fired from the film because Disney chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg felt that her voice was not suitable for a princess role, but Clements and Musker defended Larkin, managing to convince Katzenberg otherwise. Salonga was cast as Jasmine's singing voice on Larkin's behalf based on her performance in the musical Miss Saigon; this unprecedented casting decision made Jasmine the first Disney character to have her speaking and singing voices provided by two different actors. Animated by Mark Henn, Jasmine's design is an eclectic combination of unique sources, including an anonymous amusement park guest, Henn's own sister and actress Jennifer Connelly, while elements of the Taj Mahal were incorporated into the character's physique.
Unlike most of Disney's fairy tale adaptations, Jasmine holds the distinction of not being her film's main character, relegated to the supporting role of love interest instead. The character has garnered mixed reviews from critics, with much denunciation directed towards her storyline and personality, both of which several critics derided as uninteresting and unoriginal while accusing Jasmine of lacking the depth of her predecessors Ariel and Belle from The Little Mermaid (1989) and Beauty and the Beast (1991), respectively, to whom she has been heavily compared. However, as the sixth Disney Princess and the franchise's first non-white member, the character is credited with introducing racial diversity to Disney's princess genre, although at the same time her physical traits have been criticized for being Westernized and Anglicized in both appearance and demeanor. The character also appears in its sequels The Return of Jafar (1994) and Aladdin and the King of Thieves (1996), as well as its television series, and a Broadway musical adaption of the film, in which the role was originated by actress Courtney Reed.
- 1 Development
- 2 Characterization and themes
- 3 Appearances
- 4 Reception
- 5 Impact and legacy
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Conception and writing
Jasmine is based on the princess character who appears in the folk tale collection One Thousand and One Nights, specifically the story "Aladdin and the Magical Lamp". Lyricist Howard Ashman and composer Alan Menken first began developing Aladdin while they were writing songs for The Little Mermaid (1989), but further development was abandoned in favor of working on Beauty and the Beast (1991) instead. However, Aladdin was finally resurrected as Beauty and the Beast neared completion. While the princess in the original tale is named Badroulbadour, the studio decided to rename the character using the more familiar "Jasmine", naming her after actress Jasmine Guy. Additionally, the name was also among the decade's most popular. In Ashman's original treatment, Aladdin had two potential love interests: both Jasmine and a "Judy Garland-y tomboy" whose romantic feelings for Aladdin were not reciprocated by the hero. Screenwriter Linda Woolverton eventually drafted a screenplay based on the film The Thief of Baghdad (1940), a revision that included a handmaiden for Jasmine, who was eventually replaced by a pet tiger.
Directors and writers Ron Clements and John Musker ultimately disregarded Woolverton's script in favor of developing something closer to Ashman's version albeit making several modifications to his original treatment, among them approaching Jasmine "a little differently" while maintaining Woolverton's vision of "a princess that Aladdin could woo." Following the elimination of Aladdin's mother, Jasmine and Aladdin's relationship was expanded upon to the point of which it became a focal point of the film, ultimately allowing more screen time for the princess in the process. Unlike Disney's previous fairy tale adaptations, the princess is not the film's main character, therefore the story does not revolve around her. Despite the presence of a princess character, the directors decided to treat Aladdin more-so like "an Arabian adventure" as opposed to a traditional fairy tale. The decision to adapt Aladdin into a high comedy ultimately eliminated the need to explore some of Jasmine's deeper storylines. Although several aspects of the original folk tale were altered, Jasmine's main storyline – being pressured to marry – remained mostly untouched. However, while Badroulbadour initially resents Aladdin, Jasmine on the other hand is charmed by Aladdin almost immediately. Writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio re-wrote Jasmine into a "stronger" character who actively longs for freedom from her "regal confinement". According to Dave Smith of the Disney Archives, the "liberated" Jasmine primarily "seeks to escape her present lifestyle." The idea of Jasmine escaping the palace in the middle of the night was inspired by the romantic comedy film Roman Holiday (1953), in which Princess Ann, portrayed by actress Audrey Hepburn, similarly escapes the royal embassy in favor of spending a day living as a regular citizen.
The casting of American actor and comedian Robin Williams as the Genie inspired the studio to recruit similarly talented voice actors capable of matching his pace. The filmmakers had originally envisioned Jasmine's voice as similar to that of actress Lauren Bacall. Jasmine's speaking voice is provided by American actress Linda Larkin; the role was only one of several auditions Larkin had scheduled during the same week in which she auditioned for Aladdin, and she originally underestimated the scope of the project, joking, "I thought it was going to be something like Duck Tales (sic)". Initially presented with only a few pages of the screenplay, Larkin found that she was particularly drawn to Jasmine's "spirit of activism”, in addition to the ways in which character was both similar to and different from previous Disney heroines. Princesses Cinderella and Aurora had been childhood favorites of the actress. Larkin's first audition was held in a Burbank, California recording studio, in which she performed solely for the film's casting director. The side used for Larkin's first audition was the scene in which Jasmine meets Aladdin in the marketplace – their first encounter. Jasmine's line "It’s all so magical" ultimately helped convince Larkin that she was "meant" to voice the character. Although Larkin's voice was significantly different from what the filmmakers had originally envisioned for the character, her interpretation gradually changed their minds.
In the form of an extensive series of callbacks, Larkin returned to the studio on several different occasions over the next few months. While the audience of studio executives and filmmakers continued to increase, the amount of actresses competing for the role gradually decreased accordingly as the audition process approached completion. Larkin's final audition lasted a total of four hours, during which she read through the entire script for the first time. The animators were also provided with an opportunity to animate to Larkin's voice for the first time. The actress was finally cast several months later, by which time she had nearly forgotten she had ever auditioned. Six months into recording, however, Larkin was forced to re-audition for the role by Disney chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, who felt that the actress' voice lacked the authority required to voice a princess. However, Clements and Musker disagreed with him, and managed to convince Katzenberg not to fire Larkin by staging a fake recording session during which they had the actress speak lower and slower in Katzenberg`s presence, but then had her return to using her natural voice thereafter. Larkin recorded only one scene alongside her co-stars Williams and Scott Weinger, voice of Aladdin. Apart from some unfinished storyboards and drawings, Larkin did not see much of her character until a the film was screened at the Museum of Modern Art.
Before discovering Larkin, Disney had insisted on auditioning exclusively performers who were capable of singing as well as they could act. However, after Williams' recruitment, the studio ultimately relented in favor of casting "strong actors" instead. When Larkin first auditioned for the role, "A Whole New World", Jasmine's only surviving song, had not yet been written; she admitted, "there’s no way I would have even auditioned ... if there had been a song from the beginning." After writing Jasmine's first song, the filmmakers asked Larkin if she would be interested in recording it and providing the character's singing voice. Larkin immediately declined, joking, "I do [sing] … but not like a princess!" Thus, Disney decided to recruit a singer capable of mimicking Larkin's voice instead, despite the actress' fear that the studio would simply completely replace her with a professional singer altogether.
Jasmine's singing voice is provided by Filipina singer and actress Lea Salonga. Salonga's Tony Award-winning performance in the musical Miss Saigon helped her garner the interest of one of Aladdin's casting directors, Albert Tavares, who proceeded to leave a note for the singer on the stage door after the show he had attended. Salonga's agent then scheduled her audition, at which she performed "Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid. Salonga began recording a demo of "A Whole New World" a few days later. With the casting of Salonga, Larkin became one of Disney's first voice actors to not provide the singing voice of the character she voices, and thus Jasmine marked the first time Disney decided to separate a character's speaking and singing voices. Describing Salonga as "an incredible singer", Larkin herself was pleasantly surprised by how similar Salonga's voice was to her own when she first heard it during "A Whole New World", praising Jasmine's seamless transition from speaking to singing and back again, joking, "the filmmakers almost had me convinced that I sang it".
Personality and design
The character's blurb featured on the official Disney website reads, "Jasmine is an independent, fiery beauty capable of taking care of herself" who "longs to experience life outside the palace." The writers had originally conceived Jasmine as a spoiled and materialistic princess whose interests were limited to clothing and jewelry, but she was eventually developed into a stronger, more mature character. Larkin described Jasmine as "a very strong, well defined character from the very beginning." Mark Henn served as Jasmine's supervising animator. Having originally been hired to animate Aladdin's mother, the removal of the character from the film ultimately provided Henn with the opportunity to animate Jasmine instead, who subsequently became a much more prominent character. Throughout Disney's previous animated film Beauty and the Beast, the design of the heroine Belle – who Henn had also helped animate – suffered from various inconsistencies due to the character having been animated at two completely separate studio locations. To avoid experiencing a similar feat with Jasmine, the filmmakers ultimately decided to have the princess animated entirely at one studio. Because Jasmine is the film's love interest as opposed to main character, the princess was animated at the company's secondary studio in Florida, while Aladdin was animated in California. However, the more intimate love scenes between the two lead characters proved particularly difficult to animate as a result of the 2000 mile distance between the two studios. Out of his desire to incorporate Arabian archeticute into the film, art director Bill Perkins based Jasmine's figure on the famous mausoleum the Taj Mahal, specifically the curves featured in the characters hair, clothes and jewelry.
Having just recently animated two previous Disney heroines – Ariel from The Little Mermaid and Belle from Beauty and the Beast, respectively – Henn initially suffered from a severe case of "artist's block" while attempting to design Jasmine. While working on the character at Disney-MGM Studios in Florida, Henn noticed a young female amusement park guest with long black hair, and ultimately decided to use her as his initial inspiration for Jasmine; the guest remains anonymous to-date. Early sketches of Jasmine were based on various exotic-looking supermodels in addition to her namesake Jasmine Guy, but the actress' features were ultimately considered to be too "severe". Henn recalled, "I needed something fresh to help with the physical look of her." The animator was eventually inspired by a high school graduation photograph of his younger sister Beth Allen, who wore her hair in a style similar to what would become Jasmine's. Henn credits his sister with helping him overcome his artist's block. The directors ultimately approved of Henn's concept design of Jasmine. The character's appearance was further inspired by American actress Jennifer Connelly, specifically the actress' eyebrows. Additionally, some of Larkin's own mannerisms and traits were incorporated into the character. Henn recalled that a dinner conversation he had with Larkin was "very inspirational in terms of finding Jasmine's emotional side."
The final appearance of Jasmine consequently inspired the studio to redesign Aladdin accordingly because Katzenberg felt that the lead character, who was originally depicted as a younger, "scrawny" underdog, did not resemble "a suitable leading man for the beautiful Jasmine", which they feared would have resulted in unconvincing chemistry between the two. Thus, they ultimately decided to base Aladdin on American actor Tom Cruise. Henn's favorite scene to animate was the scene in which Jasmine discovers Aladdin's true identity and gives the character "a look". The filmmakers decided to dress Jasmine in blue to represent water: "the most precious substance one can find in a desert"; the animators placed the character next to a fountain to further emphasize this motif. Jasmine became Disney's first non-white princess.
Characterization and themes
As a character, Jasmine is both similar to and different from preceding Disney heroines, possessing "many of the qualities that make a Disney Princess" according to Gary Wright of Rotoscopers. Brian Lowry of Variety likened Jasmine's strong-willed personality to that of Belle, describing her as an "anachronistically liberated" heroine. Meanwhile, The Hollywood News' Rob Burch observed that the princess "is very much of the same cloth as Ariel; independent, beautiful, and desperate for the chance to live her own life," while concealing kindness underneath "a shield of anger". Belonging to "a series of spunky heroines" inspired by both contemporary feminism and the girl power movement, Hearing a Film, Seeing a Sermon: Preaching and Popular Movies author Timothy B. Cargal recognized Jasmine as part of Disney's "continued efforts to reshape their heroines for a more feminist age", in addition to providing young girls with strong female role models with whom they can identify. At only 15 years of age, Jasmine is already more resourceful than her two immediate predecessors, Ariel and Belle, while continuing their preference for assertiveness and empowerment over passiveness, traits shared by several other Disney Princesses introduced throughout the decade. At the same time, Jasmine is feistier than Belle while less naive than Ariel. Distinctively, Jasmine is not Aladdin's protagonist, a role occupied by title character Aladdin. Instead, Jasmine occupies a secondary role as the film's love interest, and consequently lacks significant character development; the First Novels Club observed that Jasmine essentially "ends up the same person as when she started." The Art of the Princess and the Frog author Jeff Kurrti observed that although "Jasmine is less prominent as a heroine ... she made decisions and was a little more strong-willed". Samantha Rullo of Bustle agreed that, despite her secondary role, Jasmine is "determined to live her life the way she wants to, rather than letting others make her decisions for her", and ranks among Disney's most rebellious princesses. Jasmine's personality remains among "the strongest" of Disney's heroines because she is not concerned about wealth or class, despite having been "Raised in opulent splendor". Her rebellious nature is most strongly indiciated by her decision to run away from home.
Jasmine demonstrates several traits and ideologies associated with feminism, exercising "feminist potential", although less blatant than Belle's. The character adheres to the traditional romance-oriented Disney Princess aspirations despite "her modern, feminist attitude". "New" Exoticisms: Changing Patterns in the Construction of Otherness author Isabel Santaolalla wrote that Jasmine appears to have inherited "the legacy bequeathed by the 1960s Women's Movement." Having "stepped out of the 90s" according to The Washington Post's Desson Howe, Jasmine appropriately "resents this family glass ceiling." Defying marriage laws and arranged marriages are among Jasmine's central themes. Larkin believes that her character initiates changing her kingdom's marriage laws, elaborating, "Jasmine didn’t just believe in something, she fought against something that she saw was an injustice ... She actively sought change and made it happen." Musker agreed that the character "rebel[s] against the social structure in choosing to marry someone of her own free will". Jasmine's defiance eventually convinces her father to change the constitution. As the only named female character in a male-dominated film who lacks both female companions and a maternal figure –  the male characters account for 90% of the film's dialogue – Jasmine resents the patriarchal society in which she lives. Jasmine's life is determined almost entirely by men, by whom she refuses to be ordered. The character constantly states her disapproval of rejecting arrogant suitors, yelling at male characters for attempting to make decisions for her and criticizing Aladdin's lies while challenging traditional gender roles and male authority. Movies and the Mind: Theories of the Great Psychoanalysts Applied to Film author William Indick observed that Jasmine represents "the rejection of the father-king's domination and control over his daughter's life", resembling "a strong and assertive heroine who rebels against her father's tyranny rather than passively accepting his will." Jasmine's father, the Sultan, responds to his daughter's constant rejection of suitors with, "I don't know where she gets it from. Her mother wasn't nearly so picky", indicating that Jasmine's mother "belonged to a generation of docile pre-feminist American women." In Ulrich Marzolph's book The Arabian Nights Reader, the author described the character as "the mouthpiece of opposition to a vaguely defined Middle Eastern backwardness and authoritarianism." Steve Daly of Entertainment Weekly identified Jasmine as "a sexually aware, proto-feminist princess".
Jasmine shares the central theme of seeking freedom from some form of oppression or confinement with the film's other main characters, although Jasmine's desire to explore beyond the palace walls while avoiding an arranged marriage appear to be "angrier" than Aladdin's wishes. However, the Disney Archive's Dave Smith wrote that Jasmine's headstrong and impetuous personality makes her "a perfect match for Aladdin". Jasmine explores "the idea that enclosing yourself behind walls can make you more vulnerable, not less", as evidenced by the fact that the character knows little about money whens she leaves the palace for the first time. In the film, Jasmine releases a flock of birds from their cage to serve as a metaphor for her situation of being "caged from a world she has never seen and yearns to be released." Jasmine's bedroom is also bird cage-shaped. Thematically, Jasmine also represents civil rights, racial tolerance, social hierarchy, as well as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Film and television
Jasmine debuted in Aladdin (1992) as the dissatisfied daughter of the Sultan of Agrabah. Frustrated by having decisions constantly made for her while being forced to marry a prince by an antiquated law, Jasmine disguises herself as a peasant and stows away from the palace where she meets notorious street thief Aladdin, who saves her from having her hand dismembered by an angry merchant after inadvertently stealing one of his apples. The couple escapes and bonds over the realization that they both want different lives for themselves. Aladdin is soon arrested by the palace guards as ordered by the scheming royal vizier Jafar, thus overruling Jasmine's insistence that he be released. When the princess confronts Jafar, he lies and tells her that Aladdin has already been executed, leaving Jasmine distraught; in reality, Jafar is using Aladdin to retrieve a magical lamp that contains a genie. When the Genie, who saves and befriends Aladdin, grants his wish to be transformed into a prince, Aladdin presents himself to Jasmine. Although initially unimpressed, Jasmine is charmed after joining him for a magic carpet ride, where she discovers that the prince is in fact the same peasant she met in the marketplace. However, Aladdin convinces her that he is truly a prince who, much like her, only occasionally disguises himself as a commoner to escape the palace. When Jafar discovers that the prince is in fact Aladdin, he steals the lamp, becoming the Genie's master, banishing Aladdin and making himself Sultan, while enslaving both Jasmine and her father. When Jasmine refuses to marry him, she kisses Jafar to distract him while Aladdin returns in time to trick Jafar into wishing himself into a Genie and thus trapping himself in the lamp. Aladdin then rescues Jasmine from the hourglass in which she has been imprisoned, and the two become engaged after the Sultan, seeing how much his daughter loves Aladdin, changes the law so that she may marry whomever she loves.
In the first direct-to-video sequel, The Return of Jafar (1994), Jasmine begins to question her trust in Aladdin after he defends Iago, Jafar's former pet parrot who had terrorized her father, but she quickly gets over these questions with Iago's help (who convinces her that she cares about Aladdin by calling her bluff). She later accepts Iago as a friend after he helps her mend her relationship with Aladdin, frees the Genie to save Aladdin, and defeats Jafar under risk of his own life.
Finally, in the second direct-to-video/DVD movie, Aladdin and the King of Thieves (1996) she and Aladdin are finally about to wed, when their wedding is interrupted by the Forty Thieves. After learning what they were after, Aladdin finds out from the Oracle that his father Cassim is still alive. Jasmine convinces him to seek out for his father, and that their wedding can be delayed a little bit longer. While he is away, Jasmine grows worried, and Genie cheers her up by goofing around. When Aladdin returns with Cassim, she and the Sultan take an immediate liking to him. However, he later tries to steal the Oracle, and is put in prison; Aladdin helps him escape, which result in punishment. Jasmine and the Genie convince the Sultan that he helped his father out of love. At that moment, Iago (who was with Cassim) returns, telling them that Cassim has been captured by Sa'luk and the remaining Thieves. Jasmine goes with Aladdin to rescue his father, and afterward they return for their wedding, which Cassim attends from the shadows. They go for a ride on Carpet, waving good-bye to the Merchant from the first film and Iago and Cassim as they ride off.
Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams
Princess Jasmine (Linda Larkin) is tired and bored of her usual princess duties. She is no longer satisfied with overseeing shop openings and assisting in the sale of a camel at the local market place. While having her portrait painted as a "Peacock Princess," Jasmine loses patience and says she wants more responsibility. The Sultan (Jeff Bennett) gives her the job of "Royal Assistant Educator" at the Royal Academy. Jasmine is thrilled until she meets her pupils. They run amok, draw on the walls, pillow fight, and throw books. She calls Rajah (Frank Welker) to try to scare the children into behaving, but they ignore him and chase Jasmine and Rajah into the mud and up a tree. Jasmine gives up. Later that night, her lady-in-waiting tells her that she needs patience and perseverance and that with these tools, she can do anything she wants. The next day, Hakeem (Zack Shada), the stable boy, seeks Jasmine's help. The Sultan's prized horse, Sahara, is missing from the Stables. Jasmine takes it upon herself, with Carpet, Abu (Welker), and Iago's (Gilbert Gottfried) help, to find Sahara and return him to the Palace.
Jasmine is an official member of the Disney Princess line, a prominent franchise directed to young girls. The franchise covers a wide variety of merchandise, including but not limited to magazines, music albums, toys, video games, clothes and stationery. She is featured prominently in Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams, where she is the main character of one of the film's segments.
Princess Jasmine has made many appearances outside of the Aladdin films, including appearances at the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts as a meetable character. She is a frequently-seen character, and often accompanies Aladdin, and occasionally Genie. Jasmine is a featured character in the Mickey's PhilharMagic 3D show at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom and Hong Kong Disneyland. Jasmine, Aladdin, Carpet, Abu and Genie make cameo appearances in the Hong Kong Disneyland version of It's a Small World. Jasmine also appears in various television series and was featured as a main character in the animated series based on the original 1992 feature. The series picked up where The Return of Jafar left off, with Aladdin still living on the streets of Agrabah, engaged to Jasmine. The character also made cameo appearances in Disney's House of Mouse and Hercules: The Animated Series. Recently, Jasmine appeared in the episode "Two to Tangu" of the Disney Junior series Sofia the First, in which she helps Sofia and Amber tame a wild magic carpet.
Jasmine appears in Kingdom Hearts as a supporting character in Agrabah, based on the Aladdin films. She is one of the Princesses of Heart kidnapped by Maleficent. She appears again in Kingdom Hearts II, and explains the strange behavior of Aladdin to Sora, Duck and Goofy. The cause of Aladdin's behavior is his loneliness after Genie went to see the other worlds. When Genie comes back all is well again. Linda Larkin reprises her role in the English version. Aside from the Kingdom Hearts series, Jasmine makes appearances in the video game adaptations of the 1992 film.
Critics' opinions of Jasmine have been generally mixed; some commentators appreciated the character for continuing to "break the mold" that had previously been established by Disney's earliest princesses. Ty Burr of Entertainment Weekly described Jasmine as Disney's "most full-bodied" heroine, while Desson Howe of The Washington Post commended the character for providing the film with "feminist consciousness". The Christian Science Monitor's David Sterrit wrote that Jasmine "is less carefully worked out [than Aladdin] but equally likable as a personality type." Contactmusic.com agreed that the character exhibits "likeably cynical streaks" despite being an "essentially bland" character. Gary Thompson of the Philadelphia Daily News wrote, "Princess Jasmine is also more barbed, yet without the obvious feminist makeover given to Belle". Similarly, James Berardinelli of ReelViews commended Jasmine for "show[ing] the same streak of stubborn independence exhibited by Ariel and Belle," but ultimately criticized the fact that "she doesn't fill a more pressing role than that of Aladdin's 'love interest.'" Agreeing that Jasmine appears "bland" in comparison to Aladdin's supporting characters, Mari Ness of Tor.com wrote, "Jasmine follows in the footsteps of Ariel and Belle as someone unhappy with the restrictions of her world and her lack of choices: like both of them, she takes active steps to change this, and it’s not entirely her fault that she’s a secondary character in a film not all that interested in her ... She’s perceptive, and fast thinking, but this isn’t her movie, and in the end, although she does get to choose her own husband, she doesn’t really get a chance, like Ariel and Belle, to move out of her world. She can be shown the world, but she stays in her palace."
Other critics have been much less forgiving in their reviews; common critiques derided the princess as a spoiled, shallow, bland and overly sexualized character. Common Sense Media criticized Jasmine for lacking an original predicament and premise, while Creative Loafing's Matt Brunson described the character as a "liberated" but "stiff" heroine. Janet Maslin of The New York Times panned Jasmine: "the sloe-eyed Princess Jasmine ... a nymph in harem pants, use[s] words like 'fabulous' and 'amazing' to express unremarkable thoughts", concluding, "Luckily, [she is] surrounded by an overpowering array of secondary characters who make the film's sidelines much more interesting than its supposed center." While Time Out called the character disappointing, TV Guide described her as "bland". Film critic Roger Ebert cited Jasmine among the film's weaknesses, dismissing the relationship between her and Aladdin as "pale and routine". Additionally, Ebert wrote that the characters "look unformed, as if even the filmmakers didn't see them as real individuals." Ed Gonzalez of Slant Magazine derided the character as "another 'free-spirited' type in the Barbie-doll tradition, a faux feminist who wants everyone to know that she can do everything the boys can". Orange Coast's Henry A. Giroux dismissed Jasmine as nothing more than "an object of [Aladdin]'s immediate desire" and "stepping stone to social mobility."
The reverse cover of Aladdin's original home video release proudly touted Jasmine as "a heroine of the Nineties." However, It's Not the Media: The Truth about Pop Culture's Influence on Children author Karen Sternheimer strongly disagreed with this notion, writing that despite being "strong-willed and almost given feminist qualities", Jasmine nonetheless "resembles heroines of old, waiting for her 'prince' to come and rescue her and using traditional feminine wiles to get her out of trouble." The character continues to be a topic of heavy discussion among feminist critics; Bustle included Jasmine's first encounter with Aladdin on the website's ranking of the most feminist Disney Princess moments, with author Samantha Rullo crediting the scene with demonstrating "how strong-willed and independent she truly is." In a similar "Feminist Ranking Of All The Disney Princesses", Bustle's Chelsea Maze appreciated Jasmine because she "refused to let the men in her life boss her around", ultimately placing the character at number eight because she possesses "the agency to choose her own mate and follow her heart, all while financially supporting the guy she loves." Mize concluded that Jasmine is "a pretty strong woman with a solid feminist streak".
According to Meghan O’Keefe of Overthinking It, Jasmine possesses "tremendous" but "ineffectual ... potential to be a feminist heroine" due to her lack of interest in books, music, social interaction, and the "violent thirst for learning" shared by both Ariel and Belle, despite being "feisty and brave". O'Keefe concluded, "Jasmine’s complaints to Aladdin about palace life sound less like a budding feminist finding her voice, and more like the spoiled muse of Pulp’s 'Common People'". Charles I. Schuster, author of Speculations: Readings in Culture, Identity, and Values, agreed that the character offers little in terms of feminism apart from her "defiance of an arbitrary law". Bust's Sholeh Hajmiragha wrote, "Jasmine is a progressive female character in that she challenges her ascribed life as a princess, is skeptical of marriage, and, by falling in love with poor Aladdin, upsets the class system. However, Jasmine is also very sexualized. While female sexuality is something to be proud and in control of, it maybe isn’t the best message for young girls." Acknowledging that, as a secondary character, Jasmine's role lacks significance, Feminist Fiction received the character as an interesting example of the way in which "Disney treats its female characters when they’re not the protagonist of the story", opining, "it looks like Disney put a lot of effort into giving Jasmine girl power' and independence, at least in her dialogue and attitude. Unfortunately, they didn’t follow through and give her strength in the plot itself." The website felt that the character's feminism fails to extend beyond "lipservice", and little is known about her personality, goals, hobbies or interests, unlike main character Aladdin. The website ultimately criticized Jasmine of having to use her sexuality to "save the day" as opposed to intelligence, before finally being forced to act as a damsel in distress role awaiting rescue from Aladdin. The Routledge Companion to Media & Gender author Cynthia Carter believes that, like most Disney heroines, Jasmine becomes "the possession of their husband or another male."
Sonia Saraiya of Nerve ranked Jasmine fifth in her article "Ranked: Disney Princesses From Least To Most Feminist". Saraiya praised her personality, likening her boldness, curiosity, and skepticism of marriage to that of Belle while commending her for "falling for a completely inadequate 'street rat' and whisking him out of poverty, instead of the other way around." However, Saraiya labeled Jasmine's use of sexuality her "only power", criticizing her for sending a negative message to young girls. When questioned about whether or not Jasmine is a positive role model because "all she wants to do is get married", Larkin defended her character, explaining, "That's not true. Jasmine says to a generation of little kids about marriage that the law is wrong. She risks everything—her safety, her comfort, everything she knows—and goes out and finds a way to change the marriage law ... Yeah, she's a good role model!' Really good! Whether it's connected or not, that person that the writers created that I got to portray, I'm so proud of her. And I feel like she was ahead of her time." Meanwhile, Jasmine's inability to recognize Aladdin despite his disguise has been met with controversy, comparing this characteristic to the relationship between Lois Lane and Clark Kent/Superman, and questioning the princess' intelligence.
Famously, Jasmine was Disney's first princess of color; her unprecedented ethnicity is credited with ultimately inspiring the studio to become more ethnically diverse, as evidenced by the subsequent introduction of their non-white princesses princesses Pocahontas and Mulan. While the fact that the princess is Middle Eastern is considered to be "a breakthrough", at the same time the characterisitcs of both Jasmine and Aladdin have been met with controversy; observers widely criticized the characters for being Westernized and Anglicized. In her book Thinking Class: Sketches from a Cultural Worker, author Joanna Kadi joked that Jasmine is "as Arab as baseball and apple pie." The Arabian Nights Reader author Ulrich Marzloph observed that the character speaks "perfect American English" despite her "ostensibly Middle Eastern features." In his book The Mouse that Roared: Disney and the End of Innocence, author Henry A. Giroux accused "the anglicized Jasmine and Aladdin" of communicating in American English, while the film's villains have strong foreign accents. Critics have also derided that the film's "bad" characters appear to be exaggerated in appearance, drawn with dark skin, large noses and damaged teeth, while Jasmine's skin tone remains lighter in comparison.
Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice Ð 3rd Edition author Paul Kivel dubbed this "racial coding", a practice also believed to have been used to differentiate the good from bad characters in Disney's The Lion King (1994). The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee was particularly disgruntled by the treatment of the leads characters, with Don Bustany accusing Disney of teaching "that anyone with an accent is bad." Observing that "underneath their multicultural skin [Disney Princesses] all conform to the white, middle-class, thin, feminine ideal of beauty", Gary Burns, author of A Companion to Popular Culture, accused Jasmine of being "an American-accented girl ... who battles the traditions of older, heavily accented, traditional Arabs." Isabel Santaolalla, author of "New" Exoticisms: Changing Patterns in the Construction of Otherness, agreed that Jasmine remains "a vehicle for contemporary gender politics in America" despite her Middle Eastern appearance, explaining, "the film's PC credibility is reserved for Jasmine, but this feistiness probably reflects developments in America more than the realities of 1990s Basrah or Baghdad."
Impact and legacy
Having been established as a popular character, Jasmine ultimately became one of the original members of the Disney Princess franchise, and remains the only member of the lineup who is not her film's main character. Chronologically, Jasmine is the franchise's sixth member. Consequently, Aladdin remains the only Disney Princess film whose princess is not its protagonist. After Aladdin's release in 1992, Jasmine remained Disney's last traditional fairy tale princess for 17 years. Before the character debuted, all of Disney's princesses in the studio's 55-year history had been either white or European in appearance. As Disney's first non-white princess, Jasmine is credited with introducing both racial and ethnic diversity to Disney's animated films. The character has since been succeeded by three princesses of color: Pocahontas from Pocahontas (1995), Mulan from Mulan (1998) and Tiana from The Princess and the Frog (2009), ultimately "paving the way in letting children believe that anyone of any race can be a princess". Alongside Pocahontas, Mulan and Tiana, Jasmine is one of four non-white members of the Disney Princess franchise. Additionally, as one of only two Disney Princesses who wear pants, Jasmine remains Disney's only princess whose official costume is not a gown or dress. Complex ranked Jasmine second in his article "The 25 Hottest Cartoon Women Of All Time", awarding specific praise to her hair and her eyes.
Jasmine's song "A Whole New World", which she performs as a duet with Aladdin, won the Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 65th Academy Awards in 1993. Salonga and singer Brad Kane, who provided Aladdin's singing voice, performed the song at the ceremony. Six years after Aladdin, Salonga would go on to be cast as the singing voice of another Disney Princess, Mulan, in 1998. Salonga joked about being required to audition for the role despite having already voiced a Disney Princess: "Why do I have to audition? ... I was already a princess before. Wasn't that enough?" Meanwhile, Larkin would return to voice Jasmine several times in subsequent media, including films, video games and television. As the two actresses who gave voice to the character, both Larkin and Salonga were honored with Disney Legends awards for their individual contributions to Disney in 2011. Salonga jokingly thanked Larkin for not being able to sing and thus allowing her to get the job. Salonga became the award's first Filipina recipient; her hand print is also featured at the Walt Disney headquarters in Burbank, California. The 2011 Disney Legends ceremony is also recognized for inducting several other actresses who famously voiced Disney Princesses.
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