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.
Over the years, Disney has presented many movies to their audience—most having a Princess as the protagonist. These movies became a babysitter for most parents in the early stages of their child’s life. Most people found these movies as relatively harmless. The obvious assumption about the Disney Princesses is that they only desire true love since almost every movie ends in romance. Parents just viewed these movies as romantic movies on a child’s level. However, these movies were not solely intended for an audience of an age that can be counted on both hands. They were intended to speak to “an intelligent and active audience” (Sumera 40). However, there are many people who disagree with the ways of the Disney Princess movies. The disagreements lie within the portrayal of women gender roles in these movies. It is argued that Disney portrays women as a being nurturing individuals without any control over their identity. The women are unable to think for themselves, because they are uneducated, and they are quick to fall in love with the first man that pays them any attention. However, this is not completely true. The people that are against the portrayal of women in the Disney movies are failing to recognize the underlying concepts in these movies. For example, Belle, in Beauty and the Beast, was well educated, Mulan went to war despite the consequences, and Merida, in Brave, stood up to her mother in refusal to marry. The Disney Princesses desired intelligence, bravery, strength, and independence—not true love’s kiss.
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
Most children grow up watching Disney princess movies. Girls want to be extraordinary, beautiful, and similar to the princesses seen in these movies in terms of behavior. These movies teach them that they must be fashionable, beautiful and be rescued by a prince in order to be happy. However, these movies have been shown to have negative impacts on these young girls’ life, often resulting in low self-esteem, disobedience, overdependence, and an unrealistic expectation of male partners. As a result, young girls should not be encouraged to watch Disney princess movies because they idolize the characters, which are simply fictitious and just meant for entertainment, and these movies also cause disobedience, low self-esteem and lack of confidence.
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.
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.
Since Disney’s Snow White appeared in 1937, Disney princesses have been a present in pop culture. With the release of new movies frequent and re-release of decades old movies inevitable, a continuous stream keeps Disney princesses in the foreground of adolescent society. It is with the value of entertainment they have been created and as entertainment they should be viewed.
Do Rozario, R.,C. (2004). The princess and the magic kingdom: Beyond nostalgia, the function of the disney princess. Women's Studies in Communication, 27(1), 34-59. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/198270180?accountid=32521
In the article “Are All Princesses Really Waiting for Princes to Come?” Jack Heckel discusses some of the most common Disney princesses and the stereotypes that come along with them, as well as some of the stereotypes that are seen in the Disney princes. He supports his article by providing a variety of sources not only from Disney movies, but also from various authors and blogs. The analysis of Disney princess stereotypes has been a very common topic for years, and this overall analysis has revealed that a lot of Disney princesses are not good role models. Heckel uses many techniques including using credible, non-Disney sources, discussing other fairytales besides Disney, displaying a timeline of Disney
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,