Gender Influence Watching Disney Movies

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Research Question: Since the beginning of time, parental figures have read fairy tales to their young children as the typical “bed time story”. As technology progressed, these fairy tales turned into animated movies vigorously watched by young children across the globe. It is evident that the viewers of these movies are at a very young and easily influenced age; the ideologies they begin to build at this age will be the basis for the rest of their lives. The following research proposal addresses the question of what influence watching Disney princess movies have on young girls’ ideologies. Theory: The theory that will be used for this research project is the social comparison theory- a theory that centers on the belief that there is a drive …show more content…

Although the movies are produced in North America- specifically the United States- the Disney movies have a great international presence. Thus, the Disney princess line and its gender role portrayals have important implications for international children’s media as well (Hubka, 2009). Gender roles- how gender is portrayed via assumed behaviors and social roles- can be stereotypical, neutral, or counter-stereotypical to gender roles (Durkin, 1985). The characters of interest include traditionally masculine (e.g. athletic, brave) and traditionally female (e.g. helpful, nurturing) characteristics exhibited by the prince and princess characters through their behaviors and actions (England, 2011; Descartes, 2011; Collier-Meek, 2011). In addition, these films portray the idea of the princess continuously acting as the “damsel in distress” that is in need of rescue. The constructivist approach and cultivation theory suggest that the gender role portrayals present in the films may influence children’s beliefs and ideas about gender, social behaviors and norms (Gerbner, 2009; Graves, 1999; Martin, …show more content…

The mindset that a person can never be "too rich or too thin" is all too prevalent in society, and it makes it difficult for females to achieve any level of contentment with their physical appearance (Serdar, n.d.). The level of persuasiveness the media has can be overwhelming for women in particular who are constantly hit with images to compare and evaluate themselves to (Achtenberg, 2006). Recent literature suggests that girls as young as 6 years old experience body dissatisfaction, as evidenced by a preference for an ideal figure that is thinner than their perceived current body size (Ambrosi-Randic, 2000; Davison, Markey & Birch, 2003; Dittmar, Halliwell & Ive, 2006; Dohnt & Tiggemann, 2004, 2005, 2006a; Lowes & Tiggemann, 2003). It is evident that the experiences have a profound effect on how we grow up, making them a critical factor in our development. Often, the self-esteem we develop by the age of five-years-old is what carries us through for the rest of our lives. Thus, my hypothesis states that watching Disney princess films have both a damaging and manipulative effect on the ideologies of the young girls that watch them. Young girls that are inspired to have this "Disney princess effect" are not growing up to be self-satisfied, independent women that are motivated to take charge of their lives

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