In society today, there is pressure from all sides to conform to a certain ideal of beauty. People are overwhelmed with the different types of images and media forms that are telling people how to act and what to look like. Media is one of the most powerful tools at our disposal. It has the power to educate, affect social change, and much more, but if taken incorrectly people will take drastic lengths to change something about themselves. There have been many attempts to empower women through different types of media, but many have failed miserably. Over the last couple of years, Disney has struggled greatly with the representation of women throughout Princess movies because young girls are hounded with images of princesses,
A little girl sits on the floor with her gaze fixed on the television screen in front of her, watching magical images dance before her eyes and catchy songs flow through her ears. Even though she had seen it at least twenty times before, she still loved The Little Mermaid just as much as she did the first time she watched it. As she watched it, she longed to be a beautiful mermaid with a curvy body and wonderful singing voice like Ariel. She longed to be saved by the handsome Prince Eric, and fall in love and live happily ever-after like Ariel did. In today’s society, women strive to achieve equality between the sexes. Despite the tremendous steps that have been taken towards reaching gender equality, mainstream media contradicts these accomplishments with stereotypes of women present in Walt Disney movies. These unrealistic stereotypes may be detrimental to children because they grow up with a distorted view of how men and women interact. Disney animated films assign gender roles to characters, and young children should not be exposed to inequality between genders because its effect on their view of what is right and wrong in society is harmful to their future.
The Walt Disney Company is a pillar of American culture, and has had an immense impact on society as a whole, for decades. The films created are filled with beautiful messages, catchy songs, and colorful characters. When discussing Disney films, critiques, and viewers in general, tend to focus the conversation around the portrayal of women and the influence it has on young women. There has been an unavoidable debate concerning the ideologies promoted by the Disney films, and in particular its princesses, since Snow White came out in 1937. The princesses were in fact often represented as passive characters with tiny waists, who are constantly in need of rescuing. These concepts in creating female characters contribute to societal standards of
Disney promotes sexisim by forcing young girls to live in a patriarchal world. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The little mermaid, Aladdin, and Snow White are all examples of popular Disney movies that encourage young viewers that they need a man to save the day. Yes, it’s true that there are recent movies such as Moana and Frozen that prove otherwise, but how long will it take to completely get over the fact that women are mainly viewed as secondary citizens compared to the men? There are countless examples of how Disney movies influence this theme, and how much the female characters’ actions, ideas and thoughts are not included in a Disney movie.
...o restructure our lives” (xii). Disney has accomplished this through the American fairy tales it produces. The tales provide hope and reinforce the American Dream. The fairy tale variations produced by Disney prove two things: Disney is both influenced by American culture and is able to influence it. Disney is, indeed, the maker, the translator, and the perpetrator of the values and cultural beliefs of the American society through the medium of the fairy tale. As Walter Burkert notes: “[a] tale becomes traditional not by virtue of being created, but by being retold and accepted” (qtd. in Zipes, “The Cultural Evolution of Storytelling 7). Due to their immense popularity, it is evident that Disney fairy tales will be retold and shared and experienced for a long time to come. The Disney fairy tales have, indeed, become the traditional American fairy tales.
Disney movies have a very narrow view of what women should be like. Since the arrival of the first Disney movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937, the idea of it has expanded, but rather marginally. There is a clear distinction of what a young women should be and what she shouldn’t be. Those who do not fit the mold of Disney’s expectations are cast aside to become villains, but those who do, end up becoming the damsel in distress. Ultimately, these stereotypes are what influences young girls who watch these films, and can have devastating effects on their self worth and change their idea of what it means to be a women. Films like Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,
Many of us have seen a Disney movie when we were younger. Disney movies captured our attention with their good morals and successful conclusions of finding their true love. The animations and music transform us into a land of magic where anything is possible if we just believe. Disney movies wrapped us in the idea that good always triumphs evil, that happy ever after exists. We have become the generation of Beauty and the Beast, 101 Dalmatians, Dumbo and Snow White as children now have not heard of these or have watched them. Some of these movies have been recreated and released in high definition and on DVDs in the past few years, but the structure and themes of the movies stays the same. However, we never stop and think about the undertones in Disney movies. They contain abuse, violence, dysfunctional relationships, and gender stereotypes, which is not appropriate for children. They may not understand what abuse, violence, dysfunctional relationships, alcohol or gender stereotypes are at their ages but do we want them to think that it’s normal. When we think that little girls watch these movies where the female characters are controlled by man or need a man to watch over them, they are not creating good role models for them. Would we not want them to have a better understanding that women do not have to have a prince charming to be happy, women can be independent and have careers and yes find love but not give everything up so their prince charming has the control.
Fairy tales have existed for hundreds of years to impart lessons to young children and teach them the importance of certain behaviors, thoughts or attitudes necessary for cultural success. These stories often give out the concept of good versus evil where goodness often triumphs with the protagonist embracing the desired societal behaviors. One of the most common ideologies that fairytales impart on its reader or listener is the idea that females should be young, pretty, helpless and submissive while males should be strong, handsome, resourceful and dominant.
Multiple studies have been done that analyzes the way Disney does this. Three different examinations/analysis, with a combined amount of 48 Disney films, found that the female leads were focused on, especially with characters of color, their sexuality, in which there were frequent examples of sexism and racism in films that noted the “pale skin tones, small waists, delicate limbs, and full breasts” of leads. One of three showed and provided gender role examples that were not up to date on how current society views these roles; this analysis emphasized a multitude of domestic work being done by females. The last study reviewed films for different cultural constructs that included gender and distinguished the consistency of stereotypes throughout the films, even with the latest of the films having less stereotyping (Dawn et al., 556 – 557). These three studies all demonstrate an interesting effort in the way gender roles and stereotypes are portrayed in Disney
For starters, Disney princess movies display the image of extraordinary beautiful sexy girls as princesses. They have long hair, small waist, flawless skin, nice cloths and beautiful voices (England, Descartes, Collier-Meek, 2). Unsurprisingly, young Girls want to have the qualities of these fictitious characters. They define beauty as having the perfect body image, just as Disney princess movies have taught them. Moreover, the bad people or witches in these movies always seem to be ugly, fat, or basically unattractive. This changes young girls’ view of the society, leading them to develop low self-esteem if they don’t meet the princesses’ standard (Dundes, 8). Since, Disney features the male character (prince) to be romantically linked to the female character (princess), young girls who do not think that they have the image of a princess will get the impression that they cannot be loved by handsome wealthy men (England, Descartes, Collier-Meek, 3). Also, they will consider themselves to b...
In today’s twenty-first century world, Disney has fallen behind in illustrating modern characters that can emulate the company’s goal of positively impacting the various global cultures. Traits like divorce, homosexuality, illegitimate children, unemployed parents, a...
Disney princesses are fun for all ages, but their target audience is young children and “as children grow and develop, they can be easily influenced by what they see and hear”. Therefore, what they see and hear in Disney movies leaves an impression on them. The first princess, Snow White, was created in a time where each gender and race had a specific role in society. Recently, many believe that Disney has come a long way in regards to gender and race since Snow White, as several multi-cultural protagonists have been introduced subsequently, and gender roles do not appear to be as stereotypical as they once were. However, many of the apparent innocent messages about race and gender in these movies, can be exposed as otherwise. Despite their mask of progression, Disney princesses still have the potential to corrupt the minds of young children through sexism and racism.
Media is a powerful agent in entertaining children. It also influences and teaches the youth of society the suitable and appropriate gender roles that they inevitably try to make sense of. The power of media is very influential especially in the minds of the youth. Disney movies target the youth and plant certain ideas and concepts about social culture into the vulnerable minds of children. Media uses gender to its advantage, just like Disney productions. Humorous caricatures reveal some harsh realities about the portrayal of Disney Princesses in many movies made by the Walt Disney Company. Disney mixes innocence with the ultimate form of fantasy to capture an audience. Predominantly, Disney helps highlight the gender roles by showing the audience simply what they want to see. In the attempt to stick to the norm and portray stereotypical female characters, Disney created Princesses. Presented as damsels in distress and inferior beings to men, Disney Princesses give children an inaccurate portrayal of gender roles at a young age. Through Disney’s social success and intriguing films, such as The Little Mermaid, Snow White, Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Beauty and the Beast, Disney Princess movies portray stereotypical representation of gender roles through the denigration of the female image, targeting and ruining the perception of youth today.
People all over the world have enjoyed telling stories for as long as people could communicate. Fairy tales in particular have been told in many different variations (due to many stories being told orally instead of being written down). Some notable fairy tale authors include: the Grimm brothers, Hans Christian Andersen, and Walt Disney. The Grimm brothers helped to make the fairy tale world something everyone wanted to be a part of, however, his stories has dark and twisty endings, with something terrible happening to the main character in the end. Hans Christian Andersen sits in the middle of the spectrum. The stories that he wrote sometimes were dark and scary, but were also happy and had feel-good endings.