Although the movies are magical, the messages that these princesses send to their young audiences especially girls are not as flawless as a princess’s face. In truth, these movies encourage female stereotypes, give girls unrealistic body ideals, and finally teach that girls shouldn’t be independent, and that they should let men take initiative for them. In Disney Princess movies, the princesses encourage dreadful female stereotypes. In fact, professor Sarah M. Coyne from Brigham Young University conducted a study using 198 preschoolers to figure out the impact of Disney Princesses on kids. They figured out that the more the young girls engaged with disney princesses, the more they behaved in stereotypically feminine ways.
The Little Mermaid: Hegemonic Femininity The transition from a girl to a woman is created by the socially constructed ideals of femininity often depicted in commercials, books, and mainly films. One of the famous animated princess Disney films, The Little Mermaid can be easily added to yet another Disney film portraying hegemonic femininity. In the 1989 film The Little Mermaid, (Ron Clements, John Musker) a beautiful, young mermaid is willing to make a risky deal with an evil sea-witch because she yearns to walk on land and fall in love with a Prince, while secretly the sea-witch wishes for the mermaid to lose the deal. Ultimately, the mermaid ends up achieving her dream of marrying the Prince, although the evil sea-witch tries to destroy
he dwarves could also be interpreted as Walt Disney 's employees and the prince as Disney (Bell et. al 38). In reference to the present, critics often scrutinized Snow White as one of the common Disney movies that demonstrated the need for women to constantly wait or their prince to make everything better and take no action on their own (Bell et. al 36). This idea was further analyzed by M. Thomas Inge, Professor of Humanities at Randolph-Macon College, who mentioned that when Snow White sang the song “Someday My Prince Will Come” which encouraged girls to wait for their prince patiently and filled their brains with unrealistic romantic expectations (Bernard qtd in Inge).
Almost all kids grow up watching innocent little fairytales by the production company Walt Disney. But what is Disney really conveying about women in these movies? "Collectively, the critics—many of them feminists—believed that [Disney] films set up false expectations of womanhood, as each female protagonist takes little action and relies upon her own beauty … in pursuing her primary objective of finding and marrying her ‘Prince Charming.’" For many years Disney has highlighted the oppressive ideology of gender roles and sexism through movies like Mulan and Cinderella. The fairytale Cinderella is filled with the with sexist innuendos that highlight gender stereotypes. The movie may seem like an innocent story about about a helpless girl who meets a prince and falls in love.
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.
Who does not love Disney, with movies for all boys and girls alike? From Cars and Big Hero 6 to Cinderella and Mulan people love these types of movies and want more and more of Disney. On the other hand, people also criticize these movies endlessly. Peggy Orenstein argues that Disney is a huge influence on young girls. She believes that it pushed her daughter to want to play dress up and to be fragile or to like the color pink like every other girl because that is how girls are, they like to follow the example in front of them, but is that true?
Since the 1930’s, Disney has been producing adaptations of fairy tales. Disney is known for their use of stereotypical images which is prominent still in today’s society. The first Disney film emerged with the adaptation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and soon after that came Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. Since the beginning, when the fairy tale princesses were “born”, it became evident that young girls and women were trying to imitate their behaviors. Young girls and women identify themselves as these character which affects not only how they view themselves but also their future roles in society based on the girls’ unrealistic beliefs.
In our society, children have been exposed to movies, television series and products, such as toys and video games that promotes misunderstanding messages about the roles and identity of people. Children are faced stereotypes as an early age where they have given some messages that portrays that look to be true about the distinction of people in the society in terms of race, culture and gender. Mass media is one of the big impacts on children whether the messages are intentional or not. One example that seems problematic in perpetuating stereotypes is the movies, particularly, Disney Princesses. Children love Disney movies, especially the little ones.
Disney has successfully given viewers of their movies warm and comforting feelings because there is always a happy ending. Disney productions have also taught young children the difference between good and evil. Films such as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” and “Cinderella” are two of their earlier movies that are vastly different, but share similarities as well. For instance, both Cinderella and Snow White are beautiful princesses that are forced to be maids and have similar antagonists in their stories, which are evil step mothers who are jealous of their step daughter 's beauty. In the Disney film,“Snow White,” she had been deprived of having any kind of relationship with the outside world.
Both "Cinderella and Princess Culture" by Peggy Orenstein and "The Princess Paradox" by James Poniewozik discuss parents ' concern for daughters ' infatuation with princess culture and the implications of princess culture for modern feminism; Poniewozik focuses on the steps modern movies take to promote ideals of women being feminine and strong, while Orenstein discusses older movies having characters being traditionally feminine, and therefore not strong. Orenstein argues that feminism entails women casting aside traditional feminine things and standing with strength and independence. Older Disney movies depict a girl whose problems are solved by their one wish, a handsome prince. Describing the worry a parent feels with such archaic ideals being instilled in their daughters at such a young age, Orenstein cites research showing that such influences being detrimental to a girl 's mental health. Although there is no definitive proof that