What Disney movies teach kids: Cinderella

Had to be done, probably the first Disney movie that comes to mind when you think of gender roles

Cinderella is yet another Disney classic that enforces gender roles by portraying women in a negative light. It goes hand in hand with West and Zimmerman’s theory of “doing gender” and “contributes to, reaffirms, and reproduces masculine dominance and feminine submissiveness”. One of the main messages Cinderella sends to young girls is that getting a wealthy man to fall in love with you will result in true happiness. However, in order to get a man to fall in love with you, you have to be beautiful, and if you are not beautiful, men won’t pay attention to you. In the movie, Cinderella transforms from being a poor, mistreated maid to a glamorous princess. She gains the Prince’s attention with the help of a little magic to make her appear beautiful. In the end, Prince Charming fell in love with Cinderella’s beauty, not necessarily Cinderella herself.
In addition, this film portrays that females need to be “rescued” by a man. It teaches women to rely on other people to save them, particularly men. It expresses that without a male figure, women are weak and insignificant. The film also features the famous song “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes.” The lyrics to this song teach that by dreaming hard enough wishes will come true by a stroke of luck. Again, it reflects women as passive and unable to take action on their own to go after their dreams. Cinderella does absolutely nothing herself to get out of the situation she is in. Cinderella should have the confidence to stand up for herself and not wait around for her wishes to come true or for a man to come save her.

In conclusion, Cinderella portrays women to be weak, obedient, and passive. It also makes wealth and beauty a top priority and a gateway to happiness. Continuing to portray female characters in this way results in people “conform to dominate norms and conceptualizations, including those related to age and gender, even if we question or reject those norms”. This type of conformity causes gender roles and stereotypes to remain present in our society. 

(Source: iwanttobeadisneyprincess.blogspot.co.uk)