From the very beginning of Disney Princesses’, young children have received the wrong ideas on what gender roles should really be like. The story of Cinderella is about a young girl whos mother and father both passed away. However, before her father's passing, he remarried a woman with two daughters. Her step-mother took in Cinderella and made her the maid for her and her two children after the passing of Cinderella’s father. After being tormented and ridiculed, Cinderella was introduced to her Fairy Godmother.
People of all ages throughout the years are very familiar with the concept of Disney movies. Some notable classics of Disney are “Beauty and the Beast” which was released in 1991 and “The Little Mermaid” which was released in 1989. Among the children, the Disney princesses left a good impression on them like Cinderella from “Cinderella”, Pocahontas from “Pocahontas”, and Mulan from “Mulan”. However, many believe that Disney movies serve as a good influence to young audiences but people should know that Disney also has its flaws. Disney have showed negative portrayals of Disney princesses in their films especially when it comes to their usual unattainable beauty ideal and portraying their princesses as inferior to men.
The Negative Portrayal of Women in Disney Princess Movies Disney princess movies are beloved by many little girls; however, the children do not understand that from a young age they’re learning that a woman is only good for her looks. Every princess has a slender frame and that’s what the children are referencing as beautiful. Not to mention that most of the princesses have fair skin. The princesses have very little, if any diversity and are treated as weak objects. Disney came out with its first princess movie in 1937 and since then it has produced thirteen other princess movies (History.com staff).
Many girls dream of their knight in shining armor, a perfect wedding, and a happily ever after ending. Disney princesses give them hope to find love and happiness along with emphasizing their want for the beauty and grace princesses illustrate. Authors of “Cinderella and Princess Culture” and “The Princess Paradox,” Peggy Orenstein and James Poniewozik respectively, agree that most girls like princesses. However, these articles convey differing parental opinions on lessons girls learn from princesses and the unfavorable effects this has at their young age. Orenstein describes her negative views on princesses through her experiences with her daughter and the knowledge of Andy Mooney’s business decisions on princesses.
Disney as a brand has reinforced the binary view of gender. The gender binary view is “the belief that there are only two sexes based off of the biological aspect of gender, which in turn generates stereotypes and expectations based off of this binary” (Palczewski & DeFrancisco, 2014, 13). The Disney Princess films reinforce the binary view towards gender by upholding gendered expectations. This line started out as a marketing campaign for young girls to identify with the characters and purchase the associated products, but an unanticipated byproduct of this marketing strategy created a consumer market called “girlhood” (England, Descartes &Collier-Meek, 2011, p.556). Disney’s girlhood is arguably one of the biggest influences on young girls
DelVecchio, M. (2011, March 31). How Disney teaches gender roles. Disney seems to have more females than males star in the roles of these Disney movies. Children will grow up thinking they are supposed to play the role of a Disney character or princess. But this isn’t true at all.
Keeping this transition in mind, this paper uses semiotic analysis of four popular Disney films, namely, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), The Little Mermaid (1989) and Mulan (1998) to depict the influence of societies ' changing perceptions of women on the portrayal of Disney princesses. These films taking into account the earliest film and certain popular characters that have represented a shift from being the coy damsel in distress to a woman who plays an active role in determining her own destiny. The portrayal of the Disney princess has changed in accordance with the development of women in society over time (1937 to 2013) from demure and traditional to
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.
Through her study, she found that “…engagement with Disney Princesses can be limiting, as young girls especially are more likely to embrace traditional female stereo-types both concurrently and longitudinally.” (1923) This shows that by watching these films, girls are only shown female leads in traditional settings, which can limit what they are cable of doing later on in life. This idea is very similar to the idea presented in Lori Baker-Sperry’s article, “The Production of Meaning through Peer Interaction: Children and Walt Disney’s Cinderella.” The author is interested in knowing how the Disney movie Cinderella, effects young women’s self-esteem. During her interaction with a group of young women, she found that “The girls were envious of Cinderella. For example, one girl asked, with a voice full of anxiousness, how Cinderella got to be so beautiful, and stated that she wanted to be as beautiful as Cinderella.” (725) With this, she found that girls often wanted their lives to look like those depicted in these films. Which can contribute to the levels of their
Thenceforward, women gradually have the rights to work like men. And films circle have been under feminist principle by messaging about gender roles through their characters and plays (Sims, n.d.). After the idea of feminism is widespread, Disney developed women characters from time to time by changing the perspectives of women and giving them more important roles. For example, Beauty and the Beast (1991) which was produced by the 1980’s influenced Disney production by the change of gender roles especially in women’s role in WWII Western world. They changed from uncomplicated stories, virgin girls in conflict with wicked,