14 Apr. 2014. Rozario, Rebecca-Anne C. Do. "The Princess And The Magic Kingdom: Beyond Nostalgia, The Function Of The Disney Princess." Women's Studies In Communication 27.1 (2004): 34-59.
Princess films are centered around a female character who meets the love of her life and, like in other fairy tales, ends with their wedding (Ross 4). Initially, the Disney princesses’ have portrayed a typical female role in the film, showing the expected gender roles in American society (England Descartes Collier-Meek 563). These gender-based stereotypes are influenced by the time period they were made in, but also originating from old fairytales made centuries ago. “Society’s increasing reliance on the use of television and videos to occupy children warrants continued investigation of how exposure to media may affect children. Given that media portrayals like those in the animated movies of Walt Disney often reinforce societal stereotypes related to gender, ethnicity, and culture, parents may consider a more thoughtful approach to the use of television and videos” (Disney Movies 1).
This investigation identifies the parallels between the Disney character and the women of the time period in which it was produced. The three sources evaluated throughout the investigation are the “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” produced in 1937 by William Cottrell and David Hand, “Beauty and the Beast” produced in 1991 by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, and “Mulan” produced in 1998 Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook. As these movies were produced, the characteristics of the princesses came in three distinct clumps. For the purposes of this essay, Snow White represents the modest princesses from 1937 to 1959 as she is the most extreme example of these characteristic and sets the stage for those to come. For the curious princess of 1989 to 1992, Belle from Beauty and the Beast will represent the ongoing wonder of women striving for freedom.
Disney has been an inspiration to kids since October 16, 1923. With the start of Mickey Mouse cartoons, Disney has created an empire of imagination. Ever since Snow White, Disney’s first princess in 1937, came on the screen, young females have been amazed by the vision of the “Disney Princess”. As the years went by, dozens of princesses have hit movie screens and Disney has made billions off of the profits from these individuals. In reality, Disney has influenced the immature views of what to expect of beauty from a woman.
Orenstein is not shy about proclaiming her opposition to the Princess brand and what it teaches girls. Orenstein also shows her helplessness in shielding her own daughter from the brand. During a trip to the store, Orenstein’s daughter “point[s] out Disney Princess Band-Aids, Disney Princess paper cups…lip balm…pens…crayons [and] notebooks—all cleverly displayed at the eye level of a 3-year-old trapped in a shopping cart.” Disney strategically places merchandise to capture children as consumers. Children buy into the merchandise and also the “fun of the films themselves and the ‘fairytale’ lives of the characters in them…[and they] come very close to, at least materially, recreating those ‘lives’ in their own living rooms” by owning these products (Lacroix 217). The material aspec... ... middle of paper ... ...enstein, Peggy.
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.
The Little Mermaid is well known to everyone, but which version is known best? Hans Christian Andersen or Walt Disney, both are very similar mostly because Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid was the most popular version of the story before Walt Disney. Although Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” published in 1837, contains many patronizing nineteenth-century attitudes towards women, a value system that at least acknowledges the legitimacy of femininity shapes the fairytale. Unfortunately, Walt Disney’s 1989 film version of “The Little Mermaid” eliminates the values that affirm femininity in the original story (Trites 145) Walt Disney needed to change his version and many of his other fairy tales and in doing so started a change in the way we see fairy tales. Ask someone today to define a fairy tale and they will tell you along the lines of a beautiful woman put threw hardships that in the end of the story gets the man and becomes a queen of her own castle.
Just last fall, Disney debuted its most recent princess movie, which starred Moana, a Polynesian princess. According to Dania Santana, a multiculturalism, diversity, and inclusion expert, “diverse Disney princesses [...] have different family settings and dynamics, strengths and aspirations”, and ultimately, “Disney has evolved to show characters that more children can identify with”. In our rapidly globalizing world where cultural awareness is becoming more and more prevalent, it only makes sense for Disney to include a number of different cultures and ethnicities among its princesses. The films of Disney’s classic and modern princesses are a well-known part of the American animation industry. Put against each other, the movies display clear similarities and differences.
The females and stereotypes in Disney animated films gradually changed over the years; From the early 1900s, beginning with their first feature film Snow White (1937) to their most recent box office film Frozen (2013). Since the Walt Disney Company was founded in 1923, the way the roles of women were portrayed depended on the time period. Snow White (1937), Cinderella (1950), and Sleeping Beauty (1959) were the first Disney princesses in the era. All three princess were portrayed as helpless or a damsel in distress, who were saved by a prince's sword or kiss. Cinderella, in particular, was a prime example of this stereotype.
Good Girls and Wicked Witches: Women in Disney’s Feature Animation Eastleigh, United Kingdon Dundes, L. (2001). Disney’s modern heroine Pocahontas: Revealing age-old gender stereotypes and role discontinuity under a façade of liberation. Towbin, M. A., Haddock, S. A., Zimmerman, T. S., Lund, L. K., & Tanner, L. R. (2003) Images of gender, race, age, and sexual orientation in Disney feature-length animated films. Wiserma, B. A., (2001).