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Gender Role Stereotypes Perpetuated in Disney’s Mulan and Tangled
Transcript of Gender Role Stereotypes Perpetuated in Disney’s Mulan and Tangled
headstrong misfit as the
female lead, a Princess,
does more harm than it
Mulan is seen as outside of the norm,
because it is not normal according to the perpetuated traditional gender roles, to be a strong, imperfect, self-sacrificing female. In every way that Disney sets Mulan up with an opportunity to be different, they combine it with some sort of negative consequence or sense of guilt, sending a message to the young girls watching that if they are different like Mulan, life is going to be that much harder for them. In the beginning of the film she is labeled a misfit because she is not a typical beauty, and she does not possess the knack for etiquette that seems to come so naturally to her fellow future brides.
The entire beginning of the film is about Mulan trying to fit herself into the mold of the perfect bride, a traditional gender role, and certainly one of the main aspects of being a woman that Disney perpetuates in its Princess films. That is to say there is always a very strong undertone, if not a blatant display of a woman’s main goal in life being finding a happily ever after which is nonexistent if said Princess is not safely in the arms of her true love. Though head strong and obviously not desiring this prim and proper life for herself, she allows herself to be primped and washed and squeezed into proper clothing, all under the guise of not wanting to bring dishonor upon her family. With Rapunzel, Disney attempts again to offer up something of a feminist Princess story, and fails. Rapunzel is victimized by her "mother", is held hostage by the fear of the outside world, and blackmails a criminal into acting as her guide to take her to see first person the flying paper lanterns she has only ever seen from her window. While Rapunzel does take inniative at times, defends herself, (with a frying pan), and saves her love, (with her tears), she is also easily manipulated, uses ethos to appeal to the emotions of her would-be -attackers, and it can be said that all of her strength comes from her beauty. Her magical flowing blond locks, which notably turn brown no longer magic. Her beautiful voice which activates the magic in her hair and gets her out of a scrape or two. Tangled To save her father from death in the army, a Chinese maiden secretly goes in his place and becomes one of China's greatest heroes in the process. The magically long-haired Rapunzel has spent her entire life in a tower, but now that a runaway thief has stumbled upon her, she is about to discover the world for the first time, and who she really is. Focusing solely on Rapunzel's magical hair, we can see some gender bias. Her hair, while it does have the power to heal, is abused by her "mother" to remain young and beautiful which sends a message to the viewer that youth and beauty are to be valued. Also, the fact that when she cuts her hair, it loses its magic, and turns brown reinforces the stereotype that blond hair is more beautiful than brunette hair. Steppin away from Mulan and examining Flynn, the viewer sees an obsessively vain who values cool so much he changes who he is become who he thinks he is supposed to be.