Disney movies have notoriously portrayed women as naïve, love hungry and incompetent, but in recent years that has seemed to take quite the turn. This analysis will focus on two Disney movies with females as the lead characters to explore the argument that Disney is becoming more progressive.
First explore Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, a movie that displays Disney’s early misogynistic beliefs about women. The plot is pretty typical among these movies. Snow White has an evil stepmother that is threatened by her beauty. The stepmother plots to destroy any chance of Snow White becoming “the fairest of them all” and sends for a huntsman to kill her and return Snow’s heart. The huntsman can’t fulfill the duty and returns an animal heart to the Queen/stepmother. Snow runs through the forest and is comforted by little animals and finds the dwarfs house. She lives a life there and takes on the mother role cleaning, cooking, and tending to these dwarfs needs. The Queen later find out that Snow isn’t dead and begins to plan a way to get rid of her. The Queen turns into a witch that has the power to make Snow fall into a deep slumber. She bribes Snow White with an apple that would make men want her. Snow White eats the apple after being told it would grant her a wish. She wished for a man to take her off to his castle and basically save her from her doomed life in the forest. This slumber spell can only be broken by a true love’s kiss and a prince comes and kisses her that wakes her out of the deep sleep.
Sexism in Snow White is blatantly shown. “This is the making of a typical Disney movie, the young women portrayed in a majority of Disney films are happy homemakers, and wait for a man to give them a reason worth living [Baron pg. 6].” In the beginning her beauty is the only attribute that matters. There is a mirror that defines who is the “fairest of them all” and that’s what defines women in this movie. The competition among Snow White and the Queen over superficial means is sexism at its finest. This time period is notorious for feuding women against each other in the name of beauty and who has more of it. Snow is also automatically the caretaker for the dwarfs. She cooks, cleans, and abides obedient. She is soft spoken and sings that she shouldn’t complain about doing domestic work. Once she is put into the deep sleep only a true loves first kiss can wake her. This leaves her fate into a man’s hands. She has no control over her own future and is literally just lying around unconscious waiting for a man. This film teaches children that women are to be domesticated and women absolutely need men to succeed in life.
Second examine Frozen, the more progressive and feminist Disney movie. The plot starts with two sister’s lives being torn apart by the death of their parents. This ultimately turns the older sister, Elsa, into the queen and has the power to freeze anything with her bare hands. Queen Elsa struggled with concealing and controlling her powers so that her country didn’t know about it. Her younger sister, Anna, and she have a minor argument that ends with Elsa turning the country into a deep freeze. Elsa escapes to the forest and lives there on her own to conceal her powers. Anna endures an incredibly long trek with Hans to find her sister. When she finds Elsa her heart is accidentally frozen and will she die without an act of true love performed for her. Ana fights for her life by looking for her actual true love, Hans. She left behind a man that was using her for her social status and sought to find the man she actually loves. Viewers are left to assume that she needs to be kissed by a man in order to survive –plot twist, her sister hugs her out of fear of her death, this being the act of true love, saves Ana and the country.
The characters in this film could almost be feminist heroes to little girls and boys today. The characters are independent and outspoken. Disney does an amazing job portraying “Anna as opinionated, driven and not needing someone to guide her through her life” [Wilde pg. 16]. Anna falls into a love trap and quickly digs herself right out of it. In this film she is in charge of her own and her country’s future. She battles through the winter to find her sister and save the country at once. She shows amazing wit by cracking jokes to Hans and expressing her true self. Elsa is a feminist goddess in this movie. She learned to reveal her true self by embracing her faults and using them for good. She lives on her own in the majority of this movie and completely relies on herself for protection. The music in this film is also more feminist in the sense that it has more meaning. She sings of letting go her fears and gaining control back into her life that is empowering to any child. Both characters are opinionated and are talented. They are feminine with masculine capabilities. They are also clothed in more appropriate clothing and more practical clothing. These characters teach children that women are powerful and that women have control of their lives and love lives.
According to those that study feminism and Disney movies they are becoming more and more feminist. They have gone from portraying a woman with no opinion or control to two opinionated and dominating characters. Hopefully, Frozen is setting the stage for even more progressive elements in Disney movies.
Fair Use: The video attached is not my own product. It is used in this context to show powerful portrayal of Disney characters for educational purposes.
Baron, Samantha; Lee, Youjin; Yerby, Amanda. “Gender roles in Disney Animation.”American University Washington DC. Web. 25 September 2014. http://www.american.edu/soc/film/upload/gender-roles-in- disney.pdf
Frozen. Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee. Walt Disney Home Video. 2013. Idina Menzel. Kristen Bell.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. David Hand. RKO Rado Pictures. 1937.
Wilde, S. 2014. Advertising in Repackaging the Disney Princess: A Post- feminist Reading of Modern
Day Fairy Tales, Journal of Promotional Communications, 2 (1): 132-153
I’ve said this before and I’ll point it out again -
Menstruation is caused by change in hormonal levels to stop the creation of a uterine lining and encourage the body to flush the lining out. The body does this by lowering estrogen levels and raising testosterone.
Or, to put it more plainly “That time of the month” is when female hormones most closely resemble male hormones. So if (cis) women aren’t suited to office at “That time of the month” then (cis) men are NEVER suited to office.
If you are a dude and don’t dig the ladies around you at their time of the month, just think! That is you all of the time.
And, on a final note, post-menopausal (cis) women are the most hormonally stable of all human demographics. They have fewer hormonal fluctuations of anyone, meaning older women like Hilary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren would theoretically be among the least likely candidates to make an irrational decision due to hormonal fluctuations, and if we were basing our leadership decisions on hormone levels, then only women over fifty should ever be allowed to hold office.
Reblogging hard for that last comment.
I WANTED TO SAY THIS BUT THEN SOMEONE ELSE DID and I’m damn proud.
i want to be really healthy and drink green tea and go to bed early and study really hard and get my life in order but then again i kinda don’t care about anything and i just want to drink coffee all the time and ignore sleep and study whenever i feel like it and let myself fall apart twice a week
I just found out about a Feminist organization at the school I am transferring to. This is the best feeling ever. Feminist friends are the best friends.
Please reblog if you know anyone who might take party drugs.
I’m not an emt yet, but everytime I see someone do drugs, I just hope they’re smart enough to remember these points.
As an nurse with ER experience, same thing. Dear God please just tell us what you took. I will not tell anyone from law enforcement or your parents or whoever, I just need to know so I can save your life. Please.
This is a good thing everyone seriously plus it’s a good idea to be completely aware and knowledgable of what you’re taking anyway.