The Effects of Disney Films
Specific Purpose: To inform my audience about the different stereotypes Disney portrayed in their movies. Central Idea/Thesis Statement: Different types of stereotypes in Disney movies effect children’s view on gender roles.
I. When you wish upon a star; makes no difference who you are…. Or does it? If you recognized this classic Disney song, that means you grew up watching Disney during your childhood.
II. The Disney movie franchise has been producing movies for many years now. The Walt Disney Studios Company began in 1923 in Los Angeles. Around 1937, Disney became famous for their creating the first full-length animated feature (Walt Disney Studios). The first full-length animated feature was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
III. I chose to do this topic because I write a paper in my Sociology class based on movie called “Mickey Mouse Monopoly”. This movie talked about the different stenotypes that occurred in famous Disney films that people were unaware about when growing up.
IV. This topic is relevant because it informs people about the different stereotypes that occurred in Disney films. Which can bring awareness to people so it would not affect a child’s or an adult’s perspective on how they view a particular person or group.
V. Many grew up with the Disney movies, their catchy songs and fantasises about a special prince or princess. In the article, “The portrayal of older characters in Disney animated film,”, the authors stated, “Disney films are passed along from parent to child, which introduces each new generation new values, beliefs, and attitudes…” (Robinson, Tom 206). While Disney movies brought positive messages for children to learn; it also portrayed negative effects in the society. Disney films supported different stereotypes and social stigmas that later effected children’s view on society from childhood through adulthood; particularly girls. In today’s society there are a lot of different definitions on how people view gender types. I am going to talk about the different stereotypes that occurred in Disney movies.
I. Disney films characterized female stereotypes and male stereotypes.
II. Stereotypes are an idea or the image of a particular type of person or thing, which can affect a children’s perspective in the society.
A. Women are portrayed as rich princesses to carry the image of looking like a Barbie doll. Women are even portrayed as evil-step mothers, or even poor servants. Regardless they always need a man; either they need a prince or a father figure to save their lives.
- 1. For example, if you take a look at Pocahontas, Cinderella, Belle, or Jasmine you will see that they are beautiful females. They all share the similar traits of a perfect, tiny waist, and huge breasts. According to the article “Images of Gender, Race, Age, and Sexual Orientation in Disney Feature- Length Animated Films,” the author Towbin mentioned that one of the common characteristics to a female Disney character was “a women’s appearance is valued more than her intellect” (Towbin, Mia Adessa 2004).
- 2. Princess Ariel who was a mermaid traded her voice for her love Prince Eric. When she was in trouble she needed her father to rescue her from the evil witch. Even when you sit and think about the whole Little Mermaid story; you would see that her only goal was to find her prince and marry him. a. The only role that women play is either the beautiful princess, or the evil wicked witch.
B. When you watch princess movies you will see that males are just as stereotyped as the females. Men are made to be tough, strong, and sometimes abusive. 1. In the article, Gender Role Portrayal and the Disney Princesses, the author wrote about the different masculine characteristics that Disney films portrayed. Some of the characteristics were brave, assertive, unemotional and physical strong. (England, Dawn 2011). a. In Aladdin, he was portrayed as a fearless man. He was able to fight off a huge snake with only a sword and was able to defeat dozen of bad guys. b. In Beauty and the Beast, we remember that the Beast was abusive towards Belle and Gaston only objectified her. He was attracted her because of her beauty, and discouraged he idea of her reading. What kind of message are we teaching children?
III. The different stereotypes that were portrayed in Disney films had an affect on children during their childhood.
- 1. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation Report (1999), children watches an average of 2 to 5 hours of television per day.
- 2. Disney makes most of their characters so attractive to young girls that they want to be like them in every way. a. They feel as if they must have perfect bodies like the princesses by wearing stylish and expensive clothing. b. If a child sees a character that they like, they might end up choosing to imitate that character’s appearance, behavior and their actions. c. “Little Girls of Little Women? The Disney Princess Effect,” written by Stephanie Hanes, talks about how little girls are losing their sense of imagination. Instead of them running in the back yard they are now wearing dresses to try to make themselves look pretty (Haynes, Stephanie 2012). Disney films cannot only affect your childhood, but it can also affect your adulthood.
IV. The stereotypes that occurred in Disney film can also affect a person during their adulthood. The characters portrayed in Disney films create these false ideologies of what women should grow up to be. 1. In the movies, the princesses are always paired with princes that live in castles. The movies tend to exaggerate the prince and princesses’ marriage. a. Some women learn to assume that relationships are all about love at first site. b. Women tend to get disappointed when they find out that their man does not immediately fall in love with them like in the Disney Princess movies. 2. Women tend to idolize a particular character from their childhood and imitate their appearances or their behavior. a. For example, when you see Ariel’s body, women tend to believe that their bodies should look like hers. b. Which leads them in going in serious diets or even having eating disorders.
TRANSITION: The Disney Classic films that we grew up with perpetuate more than a storybook ending. These films use subliminal messaging that sends false images of the world based on stereotypes that their characters are based on. These images not only teach children the wrong thing, but they teach them ideals that they carry on through adulthood.
I. In conclusion, Disney Movies played an important role in our childhood lives.
II. Disney Films portrayed different stereotypes that not only affected our childhood, but also our adult hood.
III. So when you watch another Disney Film, remember is not real.
England, D., Descartes, L., & Collier-Meek, M. (2011). Gender Role Portrayal and the Disney Princesses. Sex Roles,64(7/8), 555-567. doi:10.1007/s11199-011-9930-7
Hanes, Stephanie. “Little Girls or Little Women? The Disney Princess Effect.” Christian Science Monitor (2011): n. pag. Academic Search Complete. Web. 14 Oct. 2012.
Kaiser Family Foundation. (1999). Kids and media at the new millennium. Retrieved April 18, 2003, from www.kff.org.
Robinson, T., Callister, M., Magoffin, D., & Moore, J. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0890406507000047
“The Walt Disney Studios- History.” The Walt Disney Studios- History. Disney, n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2012.
Towbin, Mia Adessa, et al. “Images of Gender, Race, Age, and Sexual Orientation in Disney Feature-Length Animated Films.” Journal of Feminist Family Therapy, 15:4, 2004, p. 19-44.