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.
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
Disney inspired fairy tales have a certain universality, everything is romanticized and there usually is an evil antagonist making situations worse. In Disney’s Enchanted, Giselle the protagonist is the typical gender stereotyped fairy tale princess. She is a cartoon character in a fictitious place called Andalasia, who later turns into a real woman in New York City after getting pushed into a magic well. This happened because Giselle’s prince’s evil step mother Narissa thought Giselle is marrying the prince to get Narissa dethroned. Similarly, in Sleeping Beauty, Aurora a passive, beautiful princess is cursed to fall into a deep slumber when she is pricked by the spinning needle.
Most Disney princess movies establish these female archetypes of physical attributes and personal characteristics each princess must obtain in order to fit within the ‘norm’ of what a female is defined and seen as. Physical attributes include a petite figure, voluminous hair, and symmetrical faces (example within image #1 on page 11). In addition to these are the personal characteristics of dependence and naivete. Although these standards of a ‘perfect’ female may have not been created by Disney, they surely have been reinforced by it. Common features seen throughout Disney films are princesses being given natural beauty, which in turn is what defines them as a princess.
The story of Cinderella lead me to believe two things: in order to have a better life, I must have a boyfriend and that makeovers fix everything. Disney movies not only constructed my ideas of femininity, but they also imposed gendered sexuality on me at an early age through the use of patriarchy within these films. The message that a woman is lost without a man upholds the dominant social position of men and the submissive social position of women. Due to the emphasis on hetero-romantic love and the construction of heterosexual relationships as magical and natural, I learned to value my appearance as a little girl by wearing makeup, wearing nice clothes and styling my hair so that I could get my prince-charming, who would then validate my femininity. Moreover, my idolization of Disney princesses refined my knowledge on
This caused the failure of Lady Tremaine and the stepsisters to create a familial relationship with Cinderella. Disney even designated specific body figures and movements for Cinderella aside from her stepmother and stepsisters. According to the article, “Somatexts at the Disney Shop” by Elizabeth Bell, “The language of ballet, and its coded conventions for spectatorship of “high” art, are embedded in the bodies of young Disney women.”. This well represents how Disney cinema agreed with the patriarchal gender schema. Ballet, one of the most beautiful forms of art, was used to construct the most feminine-like Disney princesses to normalize the denial of women dominance.
Because of her fairy godmother, she went to the ball and danced with Prince Charming. Fast forward to the end, they ended up a married and lived a happy life. If you read, Mask Appeal, you can recognize many things are similar to Cinderella. To begin, both Diana and Cinderella have an evil stepmother and stepsisters. Diana is forced to clean and assist her stepsisters with whatever they need.
Even when Disney began to feature strong women who could kind of save themselves, like Jasmine, Esmeralda, and Megara, Disneyfied societies clung onto the misogynistic ideals of the past. Disneyfication perpetuates sexism and the idea that females are the weaker sex, while Disney continues to move forward with strong female characters, like Nani from Lilo and Stitch, and Tiana from The Princess and the
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. The purpose of disguise or enchantment in fairy tales is so someone can enter into a marriage that they wouldn 't normally enter into, usually with someone who is included in a different social class.