How Disney’s Historical Princesses And Villainesses Reflect Certain Assumptions About Femininity

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We’re looking at Disney as an example of the more general messages that pervade our culture and instruct girls and women (and boys and men) about normative gender. Disney is interesting not because it CAUSES normative femininity, but because it is one of the many places where we can actively SEE gender norms being reinforced and see social sanctions being levied for gender nonconformity. We could substitute Disney for G.I.Joe or Cabbage Patch Kids or for virtually any other childhood icon and the messages would be the same: the power of pervasive gender socialization is that the norms are reinforced so thoroughly that they become invisible to us… we just couldn’t imagine a world that looks any different from the one that we live in.

What meanings are transferred to children when Disney movies present strong, sexually-mature women as frustrated, maniacal, blood-thirsty demons and witches? Is it all in good fun to show princesses rewarded for being kind, graceful, good-natured, beautiful, musical, innocent young girls? Is there a connection between these fictional depictions and the ways we see girls and women in society today? How so?

Do Disney’s historical princesses and villainesses reflect and perpetuate certain assumptions about femininity. in society that persist even today? Are these themes echoed in other aspect of our culture? Where? Are current animated movies moving beyond these conventional notions of gender, or is it more of the same?

Do a deeper analysis of a particular Disney movie and connect your analysis back to some of the general themes we’ve been discussing (gender roles, inequality, activism, social norms, etc.)
your goal is to demonstrate mastery of the content and to build a compelling argument using at least 1 link and 1 image as your evidence.

(Approx 750 words & 2 direct quotes & 1 weblink & 1 image)

 

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