The Princesses in Disney Movies

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The Princesses in Disney’s animated films have been known to have a great influence on young girls’ lives, portraying what a princess is all about. The Disney Princesses are consumed of Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Cinderella, Little Mermaid, Belle, Pocahontas, and now Brave. They are loved by millions, and are featured all over America, everything from cups to costumes. Combined with Disney’s already popular image, the princesses of his stories created the image for “princesses of all princesses”. However, the roles and functions of Walt Disney’s Princess (ex. Sleeping Beauty (1959) and Snow White (1937) have changed significantly compared to Team Disney’s Princess (ex. Little Mermaid (1989) and Pocahontas (1995). For one, their images have changed over the eras, as critics’ would say, they have become “sexualized and independent”.
Walt’s princesses are seen as peasant slaves that scrub floors and clean all day while they sing and daydream of a prince taking them and sweeping them of their feet. This is usually because an evil stepmother is behind it. Team Disney’s princesses take on a different role and possess no chores, run wild, and neglect their obligations.
A majority of Disney films take place in a patriarchal society; where a society is dominated by men. The definition of a princess is based mostly on birthright rather then a marital decision. What is noticed in the films is the absence of a mother figure and in return is replaced with an evil stepmother. However, the father figure places an important role in later day Disney. Walt’s princesses were depicted as helpless and relied on a man, or say a prince to rescue them from their troubles. In Team Disney’s Princess, she is quite independent and more revealing, and c...

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...eping Beauty and Little Mermaid, where the femme fatale uses the princess as a prime tool to wreak havoc in the Kingdom. The Kings of the daughters appear weak and cannot protect their daughters. What the femme fatale really wants is to rule the kingdom and take power over the King. In both films, the femme fatale uses her first true love against her in order to gain power.
Overall, the movies challenge and deal with many different gender and race issues in a fairly positive way. It acknowledges the challenges that come along with getting past race, but at the same time it touches the fact that these differences can be joined. It also empowers women by making them the hero of the film.

Works Cited

Rozario, R.-A. C. (2004). The Princess and the Magic Kingdoms: Beyond Nostalgia, the Function of the Disney Princess. Women's Studies in Communications, 35-40,62-68.
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