The Little Mermaid: Disneyfication

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Disney’s Portrayal of Women and Simplification of Morals
For most people, the first image that comes to mind when the subject of Walt Disney’s animated movies comes up is the studio’s popular princesses. Ever since Snow White made her debut in 1937, Disney has cornered the market on princesses. One primary topic that critics have discussed in Disney’s films is the way princesses are portrayed. The roles of the female characters are especially drawing the interest of academic critics. Jack Zipes, author of Breaking the Disney Spell, believes that the Disney princesses have regressed. On the other hand, Libe Zarranz, author of Diswomen Strike Back? The Evolution of Disney’s Femmes in the 1990s, and Rebecca Do Rozario, author of The Princess and the Magic Kingdom: Beyond Nostalgia, The Function of the Disney Princess, believe that the Disney princess has progressed. Another aspect of Disney’s movies that catches the eyes of critics is the moral simplification in the films. They believe that the morals from the original fairy tales are being manipulated and simplified in the Disney films. A. Waller Hastings, author of Moral Simplification in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, and Finn Mortensen, author of The Little Mermaid: Icon and Disneyfication, both agree that Disney’s simplification of morals is giving viewers the wrong depiction of life. Disney’s portrayal of women and simplification of morals are giving viewers the wrong impression of life and women. Many critics call the process of simplification in Disney movies, “Disneyfication.” Disneyfication is especially shown in The Little Mermaid. In Disney’s version of The Little Mermaid, Disney retains elements of Hans Christian Andersen’s original fairy tale. A. Waller Hastings notes, “In the Disney adaptation, the elements of the fairy tale remain recognizable, but superimposed are typical elements of Disneyfication and a happy ending that contravenes the moral intention of the original tale” (85). The resistance...
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