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)

What Disney movies teach kids: The Little Mermaid

Before we get going I just wanna make it clear that Sebastian was awesome.

From Disney’s The Little Mermaid, young girls are indoctrinated with many preconceived notions about their traditional gender roles, which are “sets of behavioral norms assumed to accompany one’s status as male or female”. The film’s main character, Arial, falls in love with a prince and goes to major extremes to win his love. Because Arial left her close friends and family and underwent an extensive physical transformation, she ultimately is rewarded with Prince Eric’s love and affection. Arial’s actions send two discrete, yet profound, lessons. Firstly, that it is completely acceptable for a girl to abandon her family and overall lifestyle just to be with a man. Secondly, that a woman must be willing to drastically change her physical appearance in order for a man to love her. As a result of the diffusion of these messages, young women are taught that they are subordinate to men and should be willing to change themselves for someone, as if they are not already good enough.

In addition to the previously stated gender messages, the most blatantly obvious statements about expectations of the female gender are described in Ursula’s song, Poor Unfortunate Souls. In the song, the evil witch, Ursula, explains to Arial that it is fine for her to give up her voice because she is beautiful, specifically “You have your looks, your pretty face, and don’t underestimate the importance of body language.” This statement gives off a sentiment that in order to get what one wants, all a woman needs is to be beautiful. Furthermore, Ursula explains that what a woman’s intelligence and personality is irrelevant to her worth, stating, “On land it’s much preferred for ladies not to say a word” and “It’s she who holds her tongue who gets a man.” This argument for female subordination is a clear example of a patriarchal society, in which females are subordinate to males

(Source: iwanttobeadisneyprincess.blogspot.co.uk)