Gender Identity Development In Disney Animated Films

Improved Essays
rd to gender. A common critique of Erikson’s concepts is that his approach to gender identity development is male orientated and does not reflect the female experience. One of the most respected and well-known gender development theories is Social Learning Theory. Bussey & Bandura’s (1999) Social Learning Theory emphasizes the role of both modeling and direct reinforcement in shaping children’s gender identity. The theory maintains that gender roles and sex-typed behaviours are heavily influenced by social and cultural exposure. Bussey & Bandura (1999) also highlight the importance of parental influence in gender identity development. This approach to development has been more supported through research than that of Frued’s development theory …show more content…
The article named “Is the mouse sensitive? A study of Race, Gender and Social Vulnerability in Disney Animated Films” found that, out of the nineteen most recent and successful Disney move at that time (2001), 63% of the three hundred and thirty-four characters represented were male, and only 28% were female (19% unable to visually categorize into gender) (Faherty, 2001). Wiersma (1999) found similar results after conducting an analysis of Disney films using “physical appearance, personality traits, in-home labor, out of home employment, and societal and familial power” as criteria to code gender. Wiersma’s (1999) indicated high levels of patriarchal constructs of society with stereotypical gender roles. Both Faherty (2001) and Weirsma (1999) yielded similar findings to that of Towbin et al (2003), maintaining that the characters in Disney films display strong levels of stereotypical gender role behaviour.

There have been many studies that analyze the depiction of stereotypical gender roles in Disney films. However, what most studies fail to do is focus on the change in Disney princess behavior over time, instead concentrating on all films as a whole or on older films with outdated representations of modern times (Sims, 2016). The first Disney Animated Feature, Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs, premiered in 1937 while one of their latest princess films, Moana,
…show more content…
Sims (2016) argues that since 1937, there have been many changes in the way society expects women to act. History itself over the past seventy-nine years challenges stereotypical gender roles and sex-typed behaviors. Events such as two waves of feminism, women entering the workforce, and abortion and birth control rights separate modern times from that of Snow White’s (Sims, 2016). Similarly, an article by Stover (2014), called Damsels and Heroines: The Conundrum of the Post-Feminist Disney Princess, investigates the changes in stereotypical gender role representations in Disney princess films. Specifically, the first Disney princess film Snow White drew on associations of traditional femininity, indicating the widespread encouragement of these traits within 1930’s culture (Stover, 2014). The same can be said for Cinderella (1950) and Sleeping Beauty (1959), whom serve a similar purpose within their narratives. Conversely, later films such as Frozen (2013) and The Princess and the Frog (2009) come from a time of gender equality and gender roles are presented very differently in comparison previous

Related Documents

  • Great Essays

    Representation In Disney

    • 1252 Words
    • 6 Pages

    Natali Petriashvili 03.12.15 Infographic Female Representation in Disney throughout the Years and its Influence on Children There have been many arguments that Disney’s representation of women has a huge influence on children’s perception of women, beauty and society. Disney has a very strategic syntagm of how they produce animated movies featuring princesses. The educational infographic I decided to make has several purposes. The most important message that I tried to implement in my design is that Disney represents females in a very unrealistic manner. This type of portrayal of women has a big influence on children.…

    • 1252 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Meta Production is “a process of a material and linguistic signification that uses values already deemed “meta” in some sense, specifically, those that are metacultural and metalinguistic.”(Shankar 833) In other words, Meta Production is how a company targets and focuses on a specific group of people. Disney wants to focus and target children, which they succeed at for the most part. They fail when it comes to targeting children that come from different cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds. As of right now there are only eleven official disney princesses Cinderella, Snow White, Aurora (aka Sleeping Beauty), Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Tiana, Mulan, Pocahontas, Merida, and Rapunzel. And out of those eleven princesses only four of them are not white.…

    • 1578 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    This change was able to happen due to feminists chasing their dreams and speaking their mind about gender equality. The importance of chasing one’s dreams is highlighted through Walt Disney’s words, “All our dreams come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” The way gender issues changed is clearly seen through the more recent Disney animations, such as Frozen. Contrasting many of Disney’s animations, Frozen may be the first time the audience sees a character denying true love, where Elsa tells Anna “You can’t marry a man you just met”, whether it is “true love” or not. This highlights the fact that the male is no longer in control. In Frozen it is the female character Anna who is the stronger character, unlike Cinderella.…

    • 929 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Disney Gender Roles

    • 924 Words
    • 4 Pages

    She points out that Disney has made changes in attempt to recreate the princess image. For instance, an ethnic flare was added when Mulan, Pocahontas, and Aladdin came out. Merida was also added to the Disney roster to change the stereotype inferring that a princess needs a prince. By including the opposing side to the article, Bartyzel strategically wins over the “on the fence” audience. She then adds emotional appeal by incorporating articles by Peggy Orenstein and Psychotherapist Mary Finucane which talks about how each of their daughter’s reacted to overexposure of Disney princesses.…

    • 924 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Walt shortened the Brothers Grimm story to keep the children more intrigued. The story of the Cinderella is one of the most beloved Disney princess tales. It teaches young girls that dreams can come true and introduces the significance of rags to riches. Walt Disney made their interpretation of Cinderella, cutting out specific parts of the Brothers Grimm folk tale, Aschenputtel, that were too gruesome for children. The moral of the two versions of Cinderella is to always be kind…

    • 824 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    Many grew up with the Disney movies, their catchy songs and fantasises about a special prince or princess. In the article, “The portrayal of older characters in Disney animated film,”, the authors stated, “Disney films are passed along from parent to child, which introduces each new generation new values, beliefs, and attitudes…” (Robinson, Tom 206). While Disney movies brought positive messages for children to learn; it also portrayed negative effects in the society. Disney films supported different stereotypes and social stigmas that later effected children’s view on society from childhood through adulthood; particularly girls. In today’s society there are a lot of different definitions on how people view gender types.…

    • 1261 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Disney Brand Desire

    • 1341 Words
    • 6 Pages

    It then redresses the viewer into Princess dresses for her to admire and desire (28). Certainly the hope of the Disney Company is that upon seeing these images, children will emulate the character Charlotte, who clings to her father and yells “I want that one!” (29). However, the “real-life” magic mirror in the Boutique is extremely problematic as a reflector of female desire. Instead of gazing upon an unknown model, the girl in front of the “mirror” sees and envies her own (altered) reflection. The illusion before the girl appears to be more elegant and poised than her original, non-reflected self.…

    • 1341 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    “Cinderella” and “Rapunzel” are two of the most popular fairy tales that are being told to children even today. Disney has made their own movie version of Rapunzel called Tangled, which is what I will be using for this paper. In this paper, I will be analyzing the lessons of feminism that are taught by these two fairy tales but are overlooked when we hear them as children. To be feminist is to support the idea “that women are and should be treated as potential intellectual equals and social equals to men” (Urban Dictionary). Brothers Grimm’s “Cinderella” and Disney’s Tangled are both anti-feminist fairy tales that depict women as being more powerful when a man is involved and vulnerable when another woman is involved.…

    • 1982 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Well that’s the magic of Disney: it’s crack for five year olds.” (Healy 2006) Disney relies on its films to hook in an audience that will create an obsession; this allows Disney to majorly profit off merchandise such as dolls and princess classes that can be purchased in New York from their Disney store. Not only do the movies portray stereotypical ideas for females but the dolls do too. These dolls represent the ideal way a woman should look, long blond or brunette hair, with big eyes long eyelashes but that is just the tip of the iceberg. The ideal female should also have large breasts, what society calls a “thigh gap”, a tiny waist, and a clothing size of zero. You have to ask yourself how is this a healthy image for children aged four to eleven.…

    • 1203 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The line of Disney Princesses started just before World War II with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). Next in the line, after the war, it was Cinderella (1950), followed by Sleeping Beauty (1959), The little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Pocahontas (1995), Mulan (1998), Princess and the Frog (2009), Tangled (2010), Brave (2012), and Frozen (2013). Each of the movies presents a main female character, usually oppressed, and a main male character, usually quite masculine and with a romantic connection to the Princess. Even though there are a lot of gender and race stereotypes promoted in the first few movies, that seems to have changed towards the later movies, that promote less stereotypes. As the female role was changing in society through the decades, it appeared to be happening the same in Disney Princesses movies.…

    • 1042 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays

Related Topics