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.
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
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?”). However, the later Disney films have gradually attempted to break away from this stereotype resulting in stronger female characters like Ariel, Mulan, and Elsa among others. 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.
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.
Disneyfication is based upon the ideals of the Walt Disney Corporation that were presented in the time leading up to the Renaissance of the late 1980s. These films all present women as damsels in distress left waiting for a man to come save them. Even movies that are not about Princesses, like The Aristocats, perpetuate this idea within their plots, and it is about cats. Disneyfied communities expect women to emulate Snow White and Cinderella, to be quiet and docile, and to work hard only in the house while the men do all of the real work. 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.
In “Donkeyskin,” Charles Perrault tells the story of a princess whose mother passed away wishing the king to only marry someone who is smarter and more beautiful than she is. The king wish to marry his own daughter so she ran away with the lavish gowns and donkey skin he had given her. In Jack Zipes “Breaking The Disney Spell,” he argues that Disney appropriates the fairy tales and injects his “all-American” morals and values into them. By putting his idealistic vision into films for everyone, Zipe claims that Disney insults the historical integrity of the folklore tradition, deceiving audiences with an illusion of happy fairy tales. Like Zipes, who argues that fairy tales validates the social norms and power structures, Charles Perrault’s Donkeyskin shows that the value of women is their beauty and for them wait for the male to make the first move.
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.
It is nearly impossible for a tale to be passed down generations and still stay the same. The fairy tale “Cinderella” told by the Grimm brothers is almost 206 years old, and differences can be seen between the modern “Cinderella” story and the original. In “Cinderella,” by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, a young girl named Cinderella is treated like a servant by her family. Luckily she is gifted with beautiful clothing, enabling her to attend a festival, meeting her one true love. Cinderella gets married to the prince, and the step-sisters are punished by getting pecked in the eyes by birds.
Julianna Tafuri Mr. Bollinger Senior Thesis 14 September 2015 Gender Roles in Disney Animation: Proposal for Disney Reforming the Present-Day Princess When I was a little girl, I would spend most of my days watching Disney Movies and being fascinated by their magical elements and stories. Perhaps the most fascinating movies to me, were the tales of the distinguished Disney princesses. However, as I grew older and broadened my knowledge, I was able to observe that Disney used to accept stereotypical social norms to define their princesses. For over three quarters of a century, Disney’s viewers have been accepting these norms and not questioning them, until now. These familiar customs have characterized the way that society views gender roles.
They go against the basic Disney “princess movie” by doing as they pleased and not letting anyone hold them back, this is truly what sets themselves apart from all the other princess movies. At the start of the movie, Anna is set to marry Prince Hans (Santino Fontana) but suddenly chooses not to in order to go find her sister. When Elsa begins uses her ice powers for the first time she gets an intense amount of ridicule and judgement. However the strong minded princess decides to feel empowered by this instead of being down on herself. This allows Elsa to find her true self and not let the opinions of others define her.