Gender Roles In Disney Feature-Length Animated Films

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Statistics show that more than 90 percent of girls, aged 15-17, want to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance, and nearly a quarter of these girls would consider undergoing plastic surgery. According to a report by the child advocacy group “Common Sense Media”, they revealed that more than half of girls as young as 6 to 8 think their ideal weight is thinner than their current size. In a study done by black activist Kenneth Clark, he put two identical dolls in front of black children, one dark-skinned and the other white-skinned and when asked which they preferred, almost all chose the white doll. These results capture the negative effects society’s narrowly defined beauty ideals are having on women and girls. Along with body…show more content…
Mia Adessa Towbin, author of “Images of Gender, Race, Age, and Sexual Orientation in Disney Feature-Length Animated Films” discusses the gender roles in Disney films. She states, “Men are depicted as physically aggressive, non-expressive, and as heroic saviors, particularly of women. Women are portrayed as beautiful, dependent on men, and engaged in domestic responsibilities” (Towbin, 35). This demonstrates the idea that women are depicted as weak and submissive, and are expected to be affectionate and nurturing whereas males are dominant and strong and meant to save the day. In the popular Disney film, Beauty and the Beast (1991), gender roles are clearly depicted. Gaston, who is a strong willed and arrogant character, states his dissatisfaction with Princess Belle’s deviation from how woman are supposed to act. He says, “It’s not right for a woman to read. Soon she starts getting ideas, and thinking” (Beauty and the Beast). Although Gaston’s statement clearly highlights the idea that women are not supposed to concentrate on intellectual behaviors, since that is a mans responsibility, him being portrayed as a villain directs many viewers to believe that his ideas about women are wrong, which deviates from the older films that glorify Gaston’s traditional views. Belle’s feminine and nurturing personality, however, is apparent through her tender care for her father and her later affection for the Beast. These depictions expose young girls to the stereotypical characteristics that women are expected to

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