How Disney Movies Changed Lives

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How Disney Movies Change Lives
Marjorie A. Wallington
Central Michigan University

Many children can say that they have seen a Disney movie at least once in their life. In the process they have been influenced by sexism. For this article I have decided to focus on the sexism and gender discrimination found in the movies made by Walt Disney. In an article titled Powerful or Pretty: A Content Analysis of Gender Images in Children’s Animated Films, Sabrina Fischer analyzes many aspects of Disney’s characters and their influence on children. I have chosen to only summarize the portions that directly relate to sexism and gender discrimination: pages 10-29. The analysis covers areas such as how women and men are portrayed in typical media such as Disney movies, what the media tells young men to look and act like, and the impact it has on children.

The gender stereotypes in Disney movies are unconsciously ingested by the youth of today. They stereotypes of gender such as women being subordinate to men will influence children into their adult lives. Fischer discussed famous research done by Henry Giroux. In his research in concluded that the women in the movies are usually subordinate to the men (Fischer, 22). They also concluded the typical portrayals of females and males in the Disney movies to be increasingly related to general gender stereotypes.

For a female, Disney depicts most of its characters to be extremely sexual and passive. For instance, Bell from Beauty and the Beast wears a dress that shows off her large breasts. It was cited that women were five times more likely to wear revealing clothing (Fischer, 17). Fischer depicts how in The Little Mermaid the females usually do not speak. However, if they do talk they often have the outer appearance of a beast or as a monster such as Ursula or even Cruella de Vil in 101 Dalmations. Fischer also quoted the fact of being physically “attractive was associated with socially desirable...
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