Once upon a time, there was a 16 year old mermaid princess named Ariel who gave up her voice, an important part of her identity, in order to be with a man who she became infatuated with at just one glance. Ariel has a very traditional gender-stereotypical role in the film, as the helpless, clueless, naive, physically weak, submissive, and attractive female protagonist that Disney films, especially the classics, portray so often (England). There is a lot of controversy surrounding this film in regards to its patriarchal ideals. The Little Mermaid, like most media, is build for the ‘male gaze’, a term coined by Laura Mulvey that suggests that visual entertainment, such as movies, are structured to be viewed by a masculine consumer. I will argue that the male gaze perpetuates harmful gender-stereotypes in The Little Mermaid. Mulvey’s theories on the male gaze suggest that film is structured around …show more content…
According to A. Waller Hastings Ariel didn’t have to face her consequences. The movie ends with Ariel’s father trading his life to the sea witch in order to save her. “Once again Disney’s heroine survives to find happiness thanks solely to the heroism and sacrifice of male characters” (O’Brien). Because of this, Ariel doesn’t grow or mature. Instead, everyone lives happily ever after thanks to the men in Ariel’s life (Hastings). Now, there’s nothing wrong with living happily ever after. However, this perpetuates an unrealistic expectation of life for impressionable viewers that abide by Mulvey’s theories on narcissism and how viewers may relate themselves to the object on the screen (Storey, 110). The image of a helpless damsel in distress being saved by men with no further consequences to her life is harmful because it may give viewers a distorted view of reality. The damsel in distress stereotype erases all of Ariel’s prior independence due to the fact that she has to be
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Many people view women as weak in hopeless and males as strong and heroic in films. Male characters are seen to be more physical, functional, sexual, smart, and independent. Female characters are seen as dependent, weak, quiet, graceful, and innocent (Planned Parenthood). For example, in the movie Tangled (2009) Rapunzel is seen as a women trapped within her home where she paints, cleans, and reads; when her prince shows up she hits him with a frying pan. In the movie The Little Mermaid, Prince Eric is seen as a tough man and hero due to rescuing Ariel and taking over a ship during a violent sea storm.
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.
Gender Roles. A hot button topic that has become a topic of conversation for years now. When we think of Gender roles what things come to mind? With Men we often think of qualities such as strength, toughness, bravery, and masculinity and being a Husband. With Women we often think of characteristics such as: care taker, Wife, nurturing, cooking/ cleaning, and often very supportive. But another big question that we should be asking ourselves is where and how these gender roles and stereotypes have come from? And for the answer to that question we should look to our media consumption. For years now TV shows and Movies have truly shaped what gender roles should be in our society. These ideas are planted in our minds even at a young age, whether
Feminism in today’s society holds true that women are strong individuals who are capable of achieving their dreams. A significant problem with the Disney Princesses is that even surrounded by the notion that females have the same inherent dignity as men, they continue to be portrayed as passive women with limited aspirations. For example, in Snow White, the character of Snow White is glorified by her ability to sing beautifully and cook for the seven dwarves (Hynes). In Beauty and the Beast, Belle is ignored when she tries to make conversation about a book she is reading, which suggests that a well-read woman is not worthy of attention (Hynes). And, in The Little Mermaid, Ariel sings about all of the wonderful treasures that she possesses, which encourages the valuing of material goods (Hynes). These films give rise to the belief that a woman’s worth is dependent on her ability to maintain a household,...
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.
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)
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.
Society cements certain roles for children based on gender, and these roles, recognized during infancy with the assistance of consumerism, rarely allow for openness of definition. A study conducted by Witt (1997) observed that parents often expect certain behaviors based on gender as soon as twenty-four hours after the birth of a child. The gender socialization of infants appears most noticeably by the age of eighteen months, when children display sex-stereotyped toy preferences (Caldera, Huston, & O’Brian 1989). This socialization proves extremely influential on later notions and conceptions of gender. Children understand gender in very simple ways, one way being the notion of gender permanence—if one is born a girl or a boy, they will stay that way for life (Kohlberg 1966). “According to theories of gender constancy, until they’re about 6 or 7, children don’t realize that the sex they were born with is immutable” (Orenstein 2006). The Walt Disney Corporation creates childhood for children worldwide. “Because Disney are such a large media corporation and their products are so ubiquitous and wide spread globally, Disney’s stories, the stories that Disney tell, will be the stories that will form and help form a child’s imaginary world, all over the world, and that’s an incredible amount of power, enormous amount of power” (Sun). Because of the portrayal of women in Disney films, specifically the Disney Princess films, associations of homemaker, innocence, and dependence are emphasized as feminine qualities for young children. Thus, children begin to consider such qualities normal and proceed to form conceptions of gender identity based off of the movies that portray the very specific and limiting views of women (...
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.
Disney has portrayed women in movies by the use of animation characters for over a century since the 1900s. There has been a very big change since the early 1900’s to modern day in Disney’s depiction of the personalities of the women, their attitudes and ideologies towards men, and the way they are portrayed in the movies. This progression has had a distinct development, from passive damsels in distress in need of the help of men, to being superheroes. Therefore, the evolution of women in Disney movies will be analyzed through the use of university level feminist essays, as well as a research paper written about gender roles in Disney animation. The evolution will also be analyzed through examination of the clips of the movies themselves.
Disney is one of the largest corporations in the world, known for entertaining and having a dominant role in children’s media for over 60 years and counting (Towbin, Haddock, Zimmerman, Lund & Tanner, 2003). The purpose of this study is to analyze Disney animated films according to gender roles and gender role portrayals. Research shows that Disney animated films have highly portrayed traditionally feminine and masculine characteristics (England, Descartes and Meek, 2011). The focus of this paper is to discuss the stereotypical representation of gender role portrayal between the men and women in Disney animated films. Scholars have suggested that in Disney animated films women are portrayed as being domestic, nurturing, wanting to marry, helpless and in need of protection (Towbin, Haddock, Zimmerman, Lund & Tanner, 2003). However, men are portrayed as having a non- domestic job, use physical anger as a mean to express emotion, are naturally physically strong and are very heroic (Towbin, Haddock, Zimmerman, Lund & Tanner, 2003). My first hypothesis is whether in Disney animated films, men are playing traditional roles and women are playing traditional roles. My third second is whether stereotypical gender role portrayal in Disney animated films will become less traditionally characterized as society progressed to let go of traditional gender roles.
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 point of many films is to convey a message to its viewers, such as morals and ethics. Consequently, films intended for adults convey messages suitable for adults; while children’s films do likewise for their target age groups, as one might expect. These children’s films, directed towards particularly younger audiences, prove useful when they contain beneficial maxims. Although at times, these films elicit less than healthy social views. Disney’s Aladdin is a prime example of a children’s film that immerses the audience in unhealthy views towards women. This film is an irresponsible in its portrayal of women - it sexually objectifies the female protagonist and enforces sexist ideologies, which directly affects the female characters within the story’s patriarchal system. The idea of sexism towards women is rampant throughout the movie Aladdin by making the following three claims: a woman’s worth is defined by men, women are incapable of making their own choices, and that women are inadequate and thus require saving by a man.
Critics have warned the public audience about Disney programming’s affect on the “invasion and control of children’s imagination” (Ross 5). These movies express the typical gender roles “such as males being physically strong, assertive, and athletic, and females being prone to overt emotion, inc...
The purpose of this essay is to apply the feminist framework to the film The Little Mermaid (1989) in order to deconstruct Disney. First, I will provide a textual description of The Little Mermaid (1989), explaining the film's plot line. Then, I will describe my analytical framework, the feminist framework, using Ott and Mack (2010) and additional media related studies. Next, I will give an in depth analysis of The Little Mermaid (1989), using the feminist framework and several additional sources. Finally, I will give a brief conclusion, providing an...