Can Every Girl Be a Princess? : Disney’s Biased Color Symbolism in Their Princess Movies If we believe Cinderella than “[e]very girl can be a princess” (Grady and Panzer). Actually, we have nothing more to do than “close [our] eyes and see” and then with a tip of the magic wand, we will be gone from “just [us] to royalty” (Grady and Panzer). But is it really this easy? For many young girls the Disney princesses serve as idols.
In “Princess Paradox”, Poniewozik distinguishes that there is a different kind of “Cinderella” in today’s world compared to pre 21st century Cinderella. Poniewozik points out that the new characteristics of today’s Cinderella are being: self-determined, independent, not wanting a Prince Charming, and at the same time to be the one that saves Prince Charming. These characteristics are much more different compared to pre 21st century where Cinderella finds true love with a Prince Charming, and is completely dependent on him. The reason why Poniewozik thinks that this new trend of Cinderella isn’t bad for young girls is because those little girls who fantasize about being a princess one day see these new traits and try to imitate them. They see that these new princesses aren’t dependent on anyone, and have also learned lessons of feminism.
In this version of the story, the moment Cinderella met the prince her dream was to marry him and live happily. This dream came true for Cinderella making it the theme of the version. The version “Cinderella” written by the Grimm Brothers contains a theme expressing that people get what they deserve. At the end of the story, a scene is described where at Cinderella 's wedding to the prince, both of her step sisters get their eyes pecked out by pigeons. This was done to the stepsisters so that “for their wickedness and falsehood, they were punished with blindness as long as they lived” (Last paragraph).
Young girls may grow up watching popular Disney animated features, such as Cinderella, which center on female protagonists who are obedient, passive, domesticated, and accept the status quo. While more recent Disney animated feature films are evolving to include more complex female characters, these films remain to be novelties. There is still a trend of princesses amongst young girls, which can be seen in the growing merchandise industry. Independent and fierce protagonists, such as Merida from Brave, deviate from the norm, but when it comes to merchandising, their idiosyncratic, rebellious qualities are removed. Merida differed from other Disney princesses with her style and personality.
For example, Cinderella was made a Princess, Tiana (from Princess and the Frog) was also made a Princess. It took Ariel three days to prove to her father that the Prince loved her, while it took two days for Tiana to fall in love with the Prince. Regardless of the fact that Tiana’s dreams were completely different from what the other princesses dreamed of, the idea behind it and the ending of the story is still quite similar. In a way, the ideology of modern fairytales, being to portray the modernization of society and gender equality, has not quite updated from the old ideology of being a passive woman and being saved by a Prince to live happily rich and loved. Similarly, Anderson’s The Little Mermaid ended with the miserable death of the Princess mermaid after her failure to find love and marry the
5. According to Panttaja, there is no evidence to suggest that the prince loved Cinderella or that she loved him. In the story, Cinderella is described as deformed, and with the magic of Cinderella 's mother, the clothes that Cinderella attends the ball in are magical and therefore cause the prince to see a beautiful woman. The personal qualities of Cinderella are most important and those are her looks, because before her mother 's magic, she was seen as deformed and not beautiful; so without the mother 's help, the prince would not have been interested in Cinderella. 6.
Since the release of the very first Disney princess movie, Snow White, in 1937, the ideology behind princesses has infiltrated its way into society, specifically in regards to gender roles. In the first few movies, female characters, specifically princesses, are consistently seen as submissive and heavily reliant on male characters, while men are seen as strong and independent. This “damsel-in-distress” stigma is prominent in early princess movies such as Cinderella, released in 1950; however, the release of Beauty and The Beast in 1991 sparked a new era of Disney movies. This new era embraced heroines and independent princesses who took control of previously masculine-reserved traits. The shift can be attributed to the feminist movement of
This repetitive plot line is in the early Disney Princess movies, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella and in more recent releases like Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, and Tangled. These media images, like media messages from other sources, reinforce the gender binary of heteronormativity in young children (Palczewski & DeFrancisco, 2014). Heteronormativity is how social institutions, such as Disney, “reinforce the presumption that people are heterosexual and that gender and sex are natural binaries” (Palczewski & DeFrancisco, 2014, p. 16). Thus, the formulaic plot line that Disney Princess films follows communicates to children that the normal and only sexual orientation is heterosexual and more specifically, to young girls, that marrying a man is the only way in which her life can be
Disney came out with its first princess movie in 1937 and since then it has produced thirteen other princess movies (History.com staff). Times have changed since 1937, society has changed, but for some reason parents still allow their children to idolize women who aren’t progressive role models. They allow them to idolize these “princesses” who are shown as weak and simply just beautiful. Some of the best examples of this are shown in The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, Brave, and Snow
Therefore, marriage or love was considered as the common theme of Disney heroines. For example, Snow White is "wishing for the one she loves to find her", Ariel puts herself in risks to win over Prince Eric, and Cinderella decided to be charming for a few hours before going back to reality (Disney, W., & Hands, D., 1938). From the information, it can be seen that in the past period of time, Disney Company paid less attention to women by detracting them and putting them in the subordinate position. Fortunately, there has been conversions and development about men and women’s role in the 20th century. Thenceforward, women gradually have the rights to work like men.