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. Nevertheless, not for every girl it is possible to identify with a princess. In this essay I am going to express the color symbolism in
Disney princess movies and what causes this might have on young children, especially girls. Disney’s use of a binary color system in their princess movies has an impact on girl’s creation …show more content…
The scene in which Cinderella meets her fairy godmother shows perfectly the color symbolism discussed above. To help Cinderella to go to the ball where she will finally meet her prince, ”[t]he godmother turns brown, low-status, mice into white human beings and animals: white horses, white coachman, and white doorman. Moreover, she transforms a pumpkin into a white coach” (Hurley 225). Cinderella wears a white dress, which perfectly matches her blonde hair and blue eyes. Furthermore, the stepmother’s mean black cat is called “Lucifer”: an obvious religious reference that underlines the connection between bad and black.
Visual media influences children unconsciously in creating their ideal of beauty. The Disney versions of fairytales have been successful for many years. As Janet Wasko describes it “those creations, when they are accompanied by the Disney name, become even more significant because of their prominence as well as their special appeal to young audiences” (138). Or as Hurley points …show more content…
“…[S]elf-image in children is shaped in some degree by exposure to images found in written texts, illustrations, and films” as Hurley (221) makes clear. She explains further, that children need to identify with the character they see to built up a positive self-conception (221). Fact is, that most of the Disney princesses have white skin. For dark-skinned girls it is almost impossible to identify with these characters. Nevertheless, “in a global array of children 's merchandise and play things, the Disney Princess franchise stands out” (Wohlwend 57).
One might argue that Disney created a row of multiethnic heroines, such as the Chinese war heroine Mulan or the native American princess Pocahontas. But also here we can find counterarguments. Pocahontas’ body for example is not orientated on the natural features of native Americans. Rather, it is a collage of diverse ethnicities from all over the world: “Pocahontas becomes an historically-impossible multiethnic body” (Edwards 151). The Disney animator Glen Keane described Pocahontas as follows: “an ethnic blend whose convexly curved face is African, whose dark, slanted eyes are Asian and whose body proportions are Caucasian" (qtd. in Edwards 152). Furthermore, there existed no darkskinned princess until 2009 when “The Princess and the Frog” came to the
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In the excerpts from both James Poniewozik's "The Princess Paradox" and Peggy Orenstein's "Cinderella and Princess Culture", the authors address the growing market of princess products and how big ticket companies are using this knowledge to turn a profit. Both authors are highly respected journalists who have been published in the New York Times multiple times. Each has done their own intensive research on the media's use of princesses and their culture to make money. While both authors address how corporations are finding profit in "princess culture", Poniewozik focuses on how movie studios found princess stories to bring money in from young audiences, while Orenstein appears more concerned with how Disney branded princesses.
Walt Disney once said “I don't believe in playing down to children, either in life or in motion pictures. I didn't treat my own youngsters like fragile flowers, and I think no parent should. Children are people, and they should have to reach to learn about things, to understand things, just as adults have to reach if they want to grow in mental stature. Life is composed of lights and shadows, and we would be untruthful, insincere, and saccharine if we tried to pretend there were no shadows. Most things are good, and they are the strongest things; but there are evil things too, and you are not doing a child a favor by trying to shield him from reality;” Rex and Mary Rose Walls lived by this quote.
In Peggy Orenstein’s book, she effectively argues that a princess-like society immersed in America's culture is damaging to young girls through her interviews, evidence, personal experience, and humorous tone. Starting towards the beginning of her book, Orenstein exposes to the audience that she too liked Disney. She says that "God knows I was a Disney kid. I still have my bona fide mouse ears" (Orenstein 13). By doing this, Orenstein conveys her knowledge of the two sides of her argument: Disney is damaging to young kids or vice versa.
Rhetorical Analysis Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and many other Disney movies all have one thing in common, they feature a female lead who need a male figure to save them. However, things started to change after the release of Mulan 1988. It changed from only having those female leads who always needed to rely on someone, to females who were able to show off their more masculine side. In the article “Post-Princess Models of Gender: The New Man in Pixar/Disney,” Ken Gillam and Shannon R. Wooden explored the idea that Pixar movies were starting to show male characters who weren 't afraid to show their emotions and feminine attributes, to promote the “New Man” model.
From its onset with its first feature-length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937, Disney has grown to become a worldwide phenomenon today. But over the years, various parent groups, scholars and film critics have accused Disney for creating shallow, stereotypical princesses whose ultimate aim was to find her 'prince charming ' and live happily ever after. In her article, “What’s Wrong With Cinderella?” in the New York Times, Peggy Orenstein expresses her concern over the effect of princess figures like Cinderella on young girls ' perceptions of themselves and how they should behave (“What’s Wrong With Cinderella?”).
Cinderella is a fairy tale that has been passed down for many generations. The tale itself has hundreds of variations that are all centered around the same idea. It remains popular for people of all ages due to its ability to relate to countless different situations. One of the most known Cinderella stories deals with a young girl who is treated very poorly by her family. When she finds out that there is going to be a big ball in her town, she wishes to go.
The movie “The Princess and the Frog” is not your typical “boy saves girl” movie. Instead, this Disney movie presents us with a strong female lead who doesn’t need a man to achieve her goals. In many previous Disney movies, it is demonstrated that a girl needs a man in order to get her happily ever after. Without a prince, she is nothing. In “The Princess and the Frog” the gender roles are presented to us as equal, even reverse at times.
In the short essay, “The Princess Paradox,” James Poniewozik, whos is the chief TV critic for The New York Times, introduces the idea that parents have recently tried to stay away from giving their daughters princess related toys and clothes, contrasting a girly stereotype, and instead, give them a more wide variety of toys, including the ones associated with boy’s stereotypes such as legos, from which she can choose from and determine her own interests. Additionally, Poniewozik states that parents get frustrated when their “empowered, self-confident budding Marie Curie tells you [the parent] she wants to be… a princess [for halloween]” (Poniewozik). According to Poniewozik, past princess culture implies that being both a princess and self-determined
Introduction Throughout the 20th century and even today, Disney has been a major part of children’s youth. When children are young, they can be taught anything and they learn it very quickly. In our society, young children learn the religion when they are so young. When the child watches a Disney cartoon or movie they tend to imagine what would it be like to have the life shown in Disney. Disney creates an imaginative land in the minds of the children that the can do whatever, and be whatever they want, they are only limited by their imagination.
Walt Disney has been making girls think that in order to be beautiful you have to be the perfect shape and size. (Shortridge). Some people believe that the Disney Princesses are great role models for children because Mulan teaches us to never give up on the strengths we have just because we are girls, Belle teaches us to never judge a book by its cover, and Pocahontas shows us real princesses are strong leaders. On the other hand, some individuals feel that Disney Princesses are bad role models because of their unrealistic body appearance, telling girls every marriage ends with a happily ever after when you get married at a young age, and saying every girl needs a man in order to be happy. Both sides have valid points but in reality everyone
These stereotypes have always existed but have been passed down to us, precisely, by these stories. They target the most impressionable part of society, children. The purpose of these tales is to teach children how to behave and in which social norms they must fit into. “Fairy tales are a child's world of imagination and pleasure, but
The duration of this movie in theatres is 97 minutes and the language of the movie will be in English. ‘The Princess and the Frog’ had been released in North America of the DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 16th March 2010. The durations of this movie in the theatres is 97 minutes and the language of the movie will be in English language. This film was available in DVD, Blu-ray Disc and also Blu-ray Disc combo-pack editions. Moreover, the DVD and Blu-ray Disc had been sold out 4.4 millions of copies and has made 71 millions of dollars in sales on December 2010.
The Little Mermaid which was produced in 1989, was the first Disney movie to challenge the traditional gender roles, for the fact that Ariel wanted to explore, and was more independent and assertive in her desires than the earlier princesses of the 1930’s and 50s films. Also the prince in The Little Mermaid went against traditional gender roles as well, simply because he was more affectionate and loving than his prince counterparts in other Disney films. “Both the male and female roles have changed over time, but overall the male characters evinced less change then the female characters and were more androgynous throughout.” (Descartes & England, pg.566). Disney movies have been for a long time a strong media target for children, and can serve as a way to address stereotypical gender roles (Leaper, 2000).
The Disney princess movies had a great deal of influence on many young girls watching princesses represent what royalty looked like. The princesses are always beautiful, polite and seeking the love of their Prince Charming. This plays a strong role in perpetuating the idea that being a princess means seeking only love from a man, and a man who contains all the stereotypical masculine qualities; handsome, powerful and rich. For example, in The Little Mermaid, Ariel had to give up who she was in order to win over the affection of her prince charming. She traded in her voice in order to have real legs and near Prince Eric.