How Disney Princesses Went From Passive Damsels to Active Heroes Essay

How Disney Princesses Went From Passive Damsels to Active Heroes Essay

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When we think of Disney princesses, we think of beauty and song. We also have the vivid vision of true love’s kiss and a castle in the clouds. Disney has received major criticism because some feel as though the model for Disney princesses perpetuates a weak female image. “In these animated worlds, good women are domesticators and resources; bad women are evil, greedy, individual perversions of natural orders; men ultimately hold procreative and productive dominion as civilizing forces in these worlds” (Bell, Haas, and Sells 11). It seems as though the Disney creators have heard the critics and have striven to change it. The most recent Disney movies celebrate a new Disney princess model, one that is much more independent and self-assured than the earlier models. Not all female characters are Disney princesses and some of the supporting female characters are strong. The princess is defined as the main character in various selected animated movies. From Snow White to Frozen, these princesses have influenced young girls all over the world and helped shaped the way these girls dreamed. The issue comes in the content of these dreams; some say that these princesses perpetuate gender roles that do not encourage strong female traits. In her article entitled What’s Wrong With Cinderella, Peggy Orenstein struggles with the dilemma of whether or not to discourage her daughter from playing princess, “I worry about what playing Little Mermaid is teaching her”.
Traditionally the princess’s roles have projected the importance of domesticity. The idea that a woman’s main skill should be to be able to cook, clean and care for a household. In addition to domesticity a woman should strive to attain the ultimate goal of marriage. The idea that a ...


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...tion. From Mouse to Mermaid: The Politics of Film, Gender, and Culture. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1995. 1-17. Print.
Cokely, Carrie L. ""Someday My Prince Will Come": Disney, the Heterosexual Imaginary and Animated Film." Thinking Straight: The Promise, the Power and Paradox of Heterosexuality. By Chrys Ingraham. New York: Routledge, 2005. 167-80. Print.
Gubar, Susan. "Snow White and Her Wicked Stepmother." The Classic Fairy Tales: Texts, Criticism. By Sandra M. Gilbert. New York: Norton, 1999. 291-97. Print.
Orenstein, Peggy. "What's Wrong With Cinderella?" Editorial. The New York Times 24 Dec. 2006: n. pag. NYTimes.com. The New York Times. Web.
Tatar, Maria. The Classic Fairy Tales: Texts, Criticism. New York: Norton, 1999. Print.
Zipes, Jack. "Breaking the Disney Spell." The Classic Fairy Tales: Texts, Criticism. New York: Norton, 1999. 332-52. Print.

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