Gender Stereotypes In Disney Films

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children’s television found that there is a clear imbalance between male and female characters, with twice as many male characters than females. These television programmes also often represent male characters as dominant and strong and female characters as passive thus enforcing gender stereotypes (Witt, 2000). Examples of gender stereotyping can be found in the Disney princess films which are particularly popular with children of all ages. England et al (2011) conducted a content analysis of Disney films and found that the female characters, namely the princesses, were responsible for the domestic work and the princes were portrayed as highly assertive, powerful and strong. The results found in this study suggest that the gendered content in the Disney films may influence children’s gender development and that the popularity and mass availability of the Disney brand ensures that they remain influential in children’s lives.
Historically traditional gender stereotypes perceived females as caregivers who stayed at home and had responsibility for looking after children whereas males were perceived as providers who were powerful and assertive. These traditional gender roles, although still prevalent in some instances, were challenged by feminists who argued that there should be equality in gender where women have the same rights and freedoms as men.
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This patriarchal dominance is described by theorists as the ‘male gaze’. The male gaze theory found its roots in cinematic analysis but Bedford et al (2015) suggest that the male gaze can be found in all types of media. They would contend that as the media is a male dominated workforce, women are objectified and sexualised by the content found within it. This objectification leads to a power imbalance between males and females and leads to women being portrayed as sex objects. Research from different
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