Disney and Traditional Stereotypes

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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.

According to Disney films, it is important for women to achieve the stereotypical characteristics of a woman, such as maintaining their beauty to capture a man, and being weak and less educated than male characters. The women in Disney movies are always beautiful, which help them to obtain a man. They are often encouraged to use their looks and their body to capture a man’s attention, and having a curvy, petite body is required in all good Disney women. The Little Mermaid is a 1989 movie directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, where “A mermaid princess makes a faustian...

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...aves Princess Jasmine multiple times and falling in love at first sight. They also live happily ever-after together, just as every other Disney prince and princess in every other Disney movie. Parents should be aware of the subliminal messages that their children view in the Disney movies they are watching, and grow up to believe that is how life goes. The children that are growing up watching Disney movies with such strong gender stereotypes are learning things they may factor into their own futures, and think that acting the way of the Disney roles is the only way for them to live their life in a happy manner. The way Disney animated films assign gender roles to their characters effect young children’s views of right and wrong in society. It is wrong, and they should not be exposed to such material growing up because it is harmful to their future expectations.

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