Gender roles are a set of ‘behavioral norms’ that have been given to males and females. They allow people to stereotype a persons identity based on their gender attributes. Blackstone says “Gender roles are based on the different expectations that individuals, groups, and societies have of individuals based on their sex and based on each society’s values and beliefs about gender. Gender roles are the product of the interactions between individuals and their environments, and they give individuals cues about what sort of behavior is to be appropriate for what sex. (Blackstone, 2003) Strength, aggression and dominance are usually associated with masculinity. Femininity s usually associated with passivity, nurturing and kindness. Before we begin, based on content analysis the study found that 57 percent of all Disney Characters are Male where as Females only have 21 percent of the representations. Some say this is because Walt Disney was once reported on saying “Girls bore me-they still do. I love Mackey Mouse more than any woman I’ve ever known. ” Disney (1930) cited by Steele (1999) In many aspects of Disney Films, women are shown to be the weaker sex.
If we look at men and women’s roles in Disney Films, men are portrayed as assertive, athletic, confident and stronger than female characters. Wacko agrees with this and says; “more recently, feminists have argued that, while images of women may be more prevalent, they still reflect sexist conceptualizations of women and their roles in society. ” (Wacko, 2001) Different Disney films give out different messages when it comes to the Disney Princesses, especially in the older Disney Classics.
The first thing that is most apparently while watching Disney Princesses is how beautiful they all are. This can give the impression that you are only worth being chased for by your Prince if you are beautiful. However, the interesting thing about this is veil characters in Disney films are usually unattractive. Most of the time, they are over weight, and have more Of a sharp, angular feature the complete opposite to the soft features of a Disney Princess. Think Cinderella is the perfect example due to her beauty and the way she is treated.
Cinderella is beautiful; this is shown by when she goes to the ball. When the Prince first sees Cinderella he instantly falls in love with her. This is all down to her physical appearance and doesn’t even consider other elements, like the kind and considerate personality she has. Princesses in Disney Films never do the chasing. They just sit and wait for the Prince to come and find them, and when the prince finally finds the princess they live happily ever after. The princess will also change their life for the Prince just so they will love them.
The message that is coming through is that men should be the active romantic pursuers and the ladies should be passive and wait around for the man to take lead. The Little Mermaid is the perfect stereotypical passive female role. Ariel is the same as all the earlier Disney heroines; the only difference is she is sexy for wearing a bikini that is made from shells. She is willing to do anything in order to make the Prince fall in love with her. She even is willing to give up her voice so she can have legs to make her look better in front of the prince.
The film ends on a happy not and can’t help but think this shows if you leave everything behind for a “Prince” you will have a happy ending. “Ariel who gives up everything including her family and career just for her romance would have somewhat negative influence on young girls who have to study and think about their careers in the future. ” (Hereby, Baron and Lee, 2004) The Prince saves the Princess in rustically every Disney Princess movie that has ever been made, usually with a kiss. This shows woman depended on men to help them and get them out of a crisis.
In Snow White, Snow White eats the apple that kills her and she can only be woken up by a true kiss. The Prince kisses her and she lives happily ever after with the Prince. Leek says, “Snow White a movie titled after the female character and yet it is men who are thrust into the role of a hero” (Leek, 201 3) To conclude, I think Disney Princess Films are effected by gender roles dramatically and don’t give a wide spectrum of women’s roles. They just let the male roles of the film dominate and do everything for them.