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Disney Movies and Their Effect On Children

How do Disney movies influence children's views on gender roles?

Molli Gillies

on 7 December 2012

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Transcript of Disney Movies and Their Effect On Children

Walt Disney Studios Children and Disney Gender Roles Cinderella Snow White Characters The characters in popular Disney
movies became iconic. Characters
like the Disney princesses are advertised
and shown all over the world today. They became not just separate characters, but iconic as a group of princesses. After watching these movies and seeing how glamorous they are made to look, little girls developed a desire to want to be a Disney Princess. Disney movies and television shows have always been looked at as a children's entertainment tool. They are a part of almost everyone's childhood, and when you think of a child appropriate movie, Disney always comes to mind.
To show just how popular these are, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs grossed $782,620,000 making it the highest grossing Disney movie of all time (Top Tens, 2011). Disney Movies & How They Effect Children's Views on Gender Roles Disney movies always had their main female characters portray a certain stereotype. Each character had a role that was always a princess, a stepdaughter, an evil stepmother, or evil step sisters. Most of them were almost always in distress at some point in each film. Disney created a way for young children to look at these princesses and generate associated gender roles with girls. Whether they were similar or different, the result was always slightly the same: a stereotype. In the Disney movie Cinderella, there is an evil stepmother, Cinderella, and her evil stepsisters. They all make Cinderella do all of the house work which involves cooking, cleaning and etc. In the movie, Cinderella is very unhappy and thinks that she has to find a prince to make her happy so she can get away from her stepmother. She is a beautiful character who thinks she is not beautiful until her fairy god mother gives her a dress, glass slippers, and a new hairstyle. Cinderella believes she looks like a princess when she gets these. All these factors in the movie portray that a girl can't be happy without your prince, they are the ones that do the house work, and that beauty is defined by what you are wearing not who who are. It is showing that if Cinderella wasn't made up, the prince never would have considered her. Snow White is another example of a Disney Princess that is stereotyped. Snow White also has an evil stepmother in this movie. Her stepmother is jealous of Snow Whites beauty and has locked her in their castle for many years. Snow White waited so long because she knew that one day a prince would come and save her. When Snow White finally runs away, she is always very timid and afraid. She finds a dirty little home in the woods to live in. She automatically cleans the house from top to bottom. The seven dwarfs that live there let Snow White take care of them, clean the house continuously, and also cook for them. She basically becomes their house maid. Her evil step mother then tricks her into eating a poison apple and she can only be awakened by her prince's kiss. All of these things are showing young women that they are again always supposed to clean, and they are always waiting for a man to save them in order to be free and happy. By: Molli Gillies The Walt Disney Studios company began in 1923 in Los Angeles. Disney's first full length animated feature came out in 1937 (Walt Disney Studios). It was the famous Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Since then Disney has been an iconic movie production company for many years, and will be for many years to come. After Disney Princess was created, company sales grew from $300 million in 2001, to $3 billion in 2006 (Disney Princess, 2012). The Little Mermaid In the movie The Little Mermaid, Ariel is the main female character. She is a mermaid who is the kings daughter. She is dressed slightly provocatively with shells as a top and then she has a fin, and long beautiful red hair. She has everything, but longs to live outside of the ocean. She believes that marrying a handsome man will allow her to live on land without needing the ocean. In the movie she longs so badly to have legs and meet her husband that she even gives up her voice just to be outside of the water. She thinks that no one will ever love her if she is a mermaid. In the end, she has her prince. However, being a human and being married means giving up her family, friends, and under water home all for romance. It gives the message that women should give up everything for love. Also, the idea that Ariel loses her voice is showing young girls that you don't have to say anything for someone to fall in love with you. This movie shows that women aren't happy in their own homes, and once again need a male to save them. Conclusion In conclusion, it is safe to say that these movies provide ideas for young girls, and even young boys, on how a woman should act. They make most of their characters the house maids and the damsels in distress. These characters are so attractive to young girls that they want to be like them in every way, but how they act is also sending them the wrong messages. It is important to explain to young girls how to be independent, and not always rely on other people. Although the stereotype of the woman always being the cook and the cleaner still takes place in some house holds today, there are many women who are the proud bred winners for their families or support themselves. Keep in mind that these movies were also made many many years ago, when real women acted like these princesses. Today, our country is much more independent and that is the message we need to relay. These movies act as a form of media that support this stereotyping. They are great kids movies, but need to be explained as a fairytale and not how real life should be. Resources 1. Maio, Kathy. "Women, Race & Culture in Disney's Movies." Women, Race and Culture in Disney Movies. The New Internationalist, n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2012. <http://www.newint.org/easier-english/Disney/diswomen.html>.

2. "Top Ten Highest Grossing Animated Disney Movies (All-Time)." Top Tens RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2012. <http://www.toptens.com/movies-disney-animated/>.

3. "The Walt Disney Studios - History." The Walt Disney Studios - History. Disney, n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2012.

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