Disney No Longer ‘Frozen’ in Antiquated Gender Stereotypes

From glistening ball gowns, to fairy godmothers and singing animals—Walt Disney has little children everywhere growing up wanting to become a princess. What the mirror on the wall did not teach us, is that the gender portrayals in these movies are not the fairest of them all. Since the first moment that Snow White bit into that succulent red apple, it was obvious Disney was entrenched in misogyny that dated back to the mythology of Adam and Eve.

Now don’t get me wrong: I too was a doe-eyed Disney devotee and it took me a while to realise that it was better to depend upon charming chocolate than a Prince Charming. Hence, if we can look behind the sparkling stars and memorising magic that is Disney, we might see that these Disney princesses are not the best role models for children. Perhaps, a child clunking around in only one of her mother’s heels, as she waits for Prince Charming to bequeath her with its matching pair, should actually alarm parents.

A Bite of the Bible

Snow White

In 1937, Disney debuted their first bodacious female heroine with Snow White—a damsel who sung to animals and had a tendency to mother short men. She taught children that beauty can be a curse as ugly old crones with apples may come to kill you. However, Snow White did not have to worry as her beauty also attracted a certain male heir who she could depend upon to protect her from his evil stepmother. A paradoxical message was sent out with this princess—beauty was a gift and a curse. However, most disappointingly, Snow White could not escape being cast as “Eve.” In the Bible, Eve is depicted as easily-led, thus condemning her and all women to a life of obedience to man because “Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner” (I Timothy 2:14). Ergo, this stereotype saturates the story of Snow White, as she is tempted by wickedness (the evil stepmother) and thus “falls” literally. It is merely the revisionist idea of the same sexist scripture and yet girls were and still are gobbling it up.

Domestication and Dependency in Cinderella

Cinderella in her dress

Cinderella in 1950 taught us that to escape domestication, you should marry a rich man and becoming a trophy wife instead. Don’t worry about working up the ranks with hard work or displaying the wisdom to better yourself through your own skills. Surely, an entrepreneurial dressmaker that employs mice to make their gowns would probably earn a squillion. However, business ventures are thrown aside as a magical makeover is a much better option according to this Disney Princess. In rags and squalor, children are taught that Cinderella could not possibly entice a man, as natural beauty is overlooked. Outrageously

Most importantly remember: if you get those perfect Prada shoes and happen to misplace it, a Prince Charming might just appreciate your fashion taste and come after you.

Anti-feminist Aurora

sleeping beauty

In 1959, Sleeping Beauty taught us that we can face our battles by being narcoleptic. Pretty much do not drool while dreaming, or snore while sleeping and your Prince Charming shall be besotted. Also, a subtle hint at necrophilia couldn’t escape audience’s attention? Aurora was only saved by her sensual sleeping beauty. No prince would slay a dragon and climb to the highest tower to rescue an ugly damsel, covered in warts. Ultimately it delivered the message that girls do not need to worry about intellect or individuality—just pose pretty like a painting and princes shall come running, apparently.

Mermaid Misogyny

Little Mermaid

In 1989, The Little Mermaid taught children that looking like a babe in a bikini gets you far in life—literally from the bottom of the ocean to a beachside castle. Better start hitting those gyms ladies as that is the ultimate message that this Disney debutante delivers. Ariel alters her appearance to conform to a man’s expectations. While we do not rid ourselves of our mermaid scales, women still shave and pluck in their own way to conform to men’s expectations. Furthermore, forget about wooing a man with words or seducing him with sagacity. Apparently women are no Wordworths with their vocabulary, as their words are not worthy to be included. Eric falls in love with her for no other reason than what his eyes behold. Ariel doesn’t even need a witty pick-up line.

All these Disney princesses share the similarity of depending on their male counterparts, while sporting hyperbolised size 6 waists. Disney taught us children that doe-eyes will get us the doe in this world and consequently, we still cleave to these entrenched messages right into adulthood. Girls now dress in skimpy outfits and show off their waist to woo the opposite sex. They pathetically act tipsy and dumb-witted, knowing guys will find this more appealing than them reciting the Linear equation. Not only that, they list “marrying a wealthy man” as a viable career choice. Perhaps we are still pretending to be Disney Princesses today, even if we are not naïve enough to expect a Prince Charming on our next date.

UnFrozen Stereotypes

Elsa and Anna, Frozen
Elsa and Anna, Frozen

The one princess I related to as a child was Belle as she was a rampant reader—and well admittedly, a brunette. She stuck to her principles and would not bow to the will of men. However, a friend crushed my idyllic perception of her last week, when she noted that Belle only saved the prince through her sexuality. Peace was sealed with a kiss and not an intellectual soliloquy—Beauty over brains. Once again, she was identified by her male protagonist and not for her own inherent right. So I was overjoyed when another Disney Princess bestowed herself onto my cinema screen that I could idolise for her whimsical, witty and wilful nature.

Watching Frozen last week with my friend, I could not discourage the wide smile that crept upon my face. It revealed that Disney was no longer frozen in antiquated gender stereotypes. Here is a quick synopsis to update you: “After the kingdom of Arendelle is cast into eternal winter by the powerful Snow Queen Elsa, her sprightly sister Anna teams up with a rough-hewn mountaineer named Kristoff and his trusty reindeer Sven to break the icy spell.” Ultimately, it was the feminist fairy-tale we’ve been waiting for. It centralises around sisterly love and not idolatry infatuation with a man, like its predecessors. Elsa learns to trust in her own gifts and is brave enough to let them define her, even though they do not conform to the docile and meek perception of women held by the realm. The characters mock the “Romeo and Juliet” perception of love at first sight, when Anna becomes engaged mere hours after meeting a suitor. Furthermore, there was no Prince Charming in sight! In his stead, was an unwashed manual-labourer with a reindeer as a perpetual buddy. Though the most fundamental feminist moment is when Anna delivers a fine right-swing punch to knock out the villain! From start to finish, this movie broke Disney gender preconceptions. Yet the time-old “true love” is not missed, as the movie still smashed box office records. Frozen is definitely a win for the feminists.

It is important to note that the point of this article is not to lock those Disney movies away and rip away daughters’ ball gowns. Just make sure you can see how the magic mirror upon the wall, may only reflect the fairest of them all, in society.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

Posted on by
Heyho! I'm a creative writing student from Brisvegas; though my nerdy bookworm personality and couch potato symptoms means I love to journal about literature, film & tv!
Edited by Dale Barham, Spencer, Sean Z.

Want to write about Film or other art forms?

Create writer account


  1. Brad Norton

    IMHO Frozen deserves all the praise it gets. It broke the classic princess formula (Spoilers-he said in River Song’s voice) and delivered a story that had quite a few twists. Sure, a buttload of people are going to say “Duuuude, i saw the twist comign miiiiiiles away!” but then again, a hefty amount also said that they had predicted that Elizabeth was Booker’s daughter so early that the game was ruined for them so take that as you wish. Could it have been better? Sure, a bigger length would hae helped but the point is that it broke the mold, delivered an exceptional story (sure, it wasn’t a straight adaptation but then again, so was the Little Mermaid) and made each and every character likeable and interesting, especially Elsa.

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      Hey Brad! Ah couldn’t agree with you more… I’m a cheerleader of this movie with pompoms! It was feisty and feministic and fantastic! And honestly, I didn’t see the twist coming… I was totally shocked! So maybe I’m just bad at predicting plot twists!

  2. PerkAlert

    What well-structured points and great writing! I agree that Disney is expanding its reach to more inclusive story lines. However, I’d argue that Frozen wasn’t the first (see Princess and the Frog), but it has certainly been the best so far. While the classics still retain their charm, I’m glad there is finally a fairy tale that caters more realistically to young girls in the present-day.

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      I do agree that Princess and the Frog broke racial stereotypes… but I was just a tad disappointed that “true love” was its main focus. I will always love the classics… but Elsa has a more prominent place in my heart!

      • I’d like to continue the discussion that Princess and the Frog could be the first. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the movie, but as I remember, the Princess did have to save the Prince because he had been turned into a frog. In it’s simplest form (not always the best way to analyze something) it looks like a reversal of gender rolls. That being said, I do agree that Elsa took it to a whole new level. I loved also that when she had to choose “an act of true love” she committed that act instead of allowing the man to act upon her. It was a beautiful portrayal of her saving herself. Loved Frozen! Great article!

        • Emily Lighezzolo

          Thanks for your opinion, Page! Indeed, it has been awhile since I watched it too… but while it did bang at the wall of gender stereotypes, it didn’t knock it down like “Frozen.” While she was acting on her own will to build her “restaurant” in “The Princess and the Frog”– he whole cliché of morality being driven by true love pushed the ending and her choice to save him

  3. When I first heard about the storyline for Frozen I was excited that the relationship focus would be more on the sisters and I found it refreshing to see them as more independent from men. This article makes me think of how there was an attempt to portray Princess Jasmine as more independent by having her reject potential suitors in Aladdin. However, her identity and her storyline revolved around her need to be married and the importance of her having a partner to rule. I am glad Disney appears to be trying to shift away from those sort of storylines for future films.

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      Hey Lisa. I was thinking the same thing… I thought the Disney women were independent AND bold. But now that I’m older I realise that there lives always involved around the man in their lives. It was eye opening when I realised that my favourite Disney princess, Belle, was also manipulated by the men in her life. But I’m glad to hear you loved Frozen too 🙂

  4. Frozen was an instant classic for me. Had the same heart warming and family format as Disney’s golden age movies.

    Personally though, I still believe that Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph were better. Not by much.

  5. I definitely agree that Frozen broke free from the chains of the older Disney movie pattern that led the female lead into the abyss of gender stereotypes. Not only did the movie provide us with a female who saves the day by sacrificing herself for family rather than for a man, but Disney finally gave us a female (Elsa) who has a positive transformation and becomes empowered and independent, realizing her self-worth in the sequence of Let it Go.

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      Oh you put this so eloquently Jasmine. For once a woman was driven by familial love and her own independence, rather than driven by the patriarchal standards that were conditioned in her time.

  6. Max Lin

    I was so glad that Disney took the true love angle in this movie towards sisterly love instead this time around. The bond between Elsa and Anna was the best developed relationship in this film and I’m glad they didn’t cop out with the typical love story.

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      Although I do love my romance, I too was prepared to roll my eyes when Kristoff was about to bestow the “true love kiss” that would save Ana… however, the movie twist made her recovery even more incredible, because it came from sisterly love.

  7. I have not seen Frozen, but I have heard a lot of good things about it, including this article; however, based on what I have seen, there is still an element of physical beauty that is bothersome to me. The main character has long, beautiful blonde hair, a tiny waist, and pretty outfits. Just because a pretty character is paired with morally sound principles doesn’t mean there does not exist an element of publically acceptable “beautiful” norms. In fact, making her a character of virtue along with being extremely attractive according to society’s terms, is almost subliminally instilling a certain picture of what a “good” girl is.

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      A very interesting point you raise! Thanks for sharing it! Honestly, Disney unfortunately will never pitch a plain, thick waisted girl for their protagonist. They are all anorexic and proportionally beautiful dolls. This is another whole argument you can postulate: beauty vs brains in Disney. Beauty always wins out: even in Beauty and the Beast, as he transforms back into his princely self. I think Disney needs to be knocked in the head by Pixar, with their Shrek ending: transforming back into ogres 🙂 What do you think?

  8. Siobhan Calafiore

    What I loved about Anna in Frozen was that she had the most personality out of all the Disney princesses! She seemed like someone who could easily be your best friend. She had her quirks, and her faults but they only made her more adorable.

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      I agree! She was the first princess that wasn’t disciplined and flawless! She was odd but also witty… a combination rarely seen in our Disney Princesses

  9. Interesting. I guess you could say Jasmine from ‘Aladdin’ is a little more independent and strong-willed than some of the princesses on this list, because she refuses all her father’s efforts to marry her off with some unsuitable suitor, and sneaks out of the palace to find the kind of life she is desperate for. On the other hand, she still ends up as a kind of traditional ‘damsel in distress’ role, so it’s not a completely one sided story.

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      Hi there and thanks for your opinion! Yeah, I didn’t do a section towards Jasmine, purposefully because she is probably one of the most recalcitrant princesses of them all. However, saying that: I still noticed that again: Aladdin is her saviour like you said. She is besotted with the idea of ‘true love’ and is only to happy to beg for Aladdin to save her from her hourglass captivity, rather than find a way out of it her self.

  10. I think Frozen was by far the biggest step in the right direction for Disney. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that a few parts of the movie were just going through the motions of feminism, a sort of forced atonement for Disney’s past atrocities against females. Part of this is the unrealistically beautiful character models for the princesses, I think. We can have lines about them being gassy and eating chocolate, but they only ever display the peak of physical attractiveness onscreen.

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      Yes when Elsa shakes off her stern exterior and becomes a bodacious bad-ass babe in the ice castle, I did fear we had gone back to classic Disney beauty. Once again the feminists were skinny, classical-pretty and model-like. I shall agree with that. Unfortunately, while it did take a huge leap in the direction of breaking stereotypes– some ancient ones of Disney still held, just like you said.

  11. Frozen is the best film Disney have put out since Beauty and the Beast. I might go as far to say I think it’s better, but until I rewatch that I cannot say.

    All I know is that each of the 3 times I’ve seen Frozen at the cinema I’ve enjoyed it even more than the last. It’s just really well done.

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      I’m with you! Frozen officially knocked Beauty and the Beast from “First Place” in my Disney heart collection 🙂 Glad to hear you liked it too!

      • Would you say that implicit sexuality is portrayed in Cinderella and Snow White and that it is shifting? Which is proven in Tangled and Frozen…

  12. iMO i agree, Frozen was the greatest example of Disney breaking those stereotypes (even though as a bookworm I’ll always love Belle and as a lover of New Orleans I’ll always love Tiana). Disney’s choice to throw out the original option of making Elsa a vision was the best choice for everyone in the entire world, because while I do tend to love villains, it’s only because they’re usually more fierce and strong than the female princesses. It was great to have two strong, powerful princesses in one amazing movie. And the focus on sisterly love was something that I could relate to and feel good about because I love my big sister too, and so without showing girls more of a “Prince Charming” love, they focused on something everyone understands, the love of family members. And then at the end of the movie, Ahna and Hans didn’t IMMEDIATELY get together, which just drove home that there are other ways to love than just marrying a guy after seeing him for two seconds.

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      Oh beautifully put! Often Disney sets unrealistic expectations of “true love” but this film drove home the bond of family– something much easier to attain and more relatable to everyone. Also, I was so happy there was not “lingering looks before kissing” moment at the end: it was awkward and quick… something more likely, after a few days courtship. Thanks for your thoughts, very much appreciated 🙂

      Also… I’ll always be a Belle devotee too 🙂 She just spoke to us nerds hehe

  13. Wonderful article! I couldn’t stop reading – although I thought you could expand a bit more on Aurora and Cinderella, and talk about how Jasmine from Aladdin was more headstrong and rebelled against her father’s wishes to marry a stranger.

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      Hi there! Thanks so much for your feedback 🙂 I was going to talk about Jasmine, but as stated in some of the comments above, I noticed she was one of the most recalcitrant princesses of them all. Headstrong and wilful in nature; however, still shackled to the depending on her male counterpart. She began to break stereotypes, but then fell back to the damsel in distress card unfortunately

  14. I love how you broke down each stereotype from past Disney movies and explained how they affect society. I had never really thought about them that way before. This article makes me want to go see “Frozen” as soon as I can! I also think these ideas could be expanded to include “Shreck.” While “Shreck” focuses on love, it also breaks the stereotype that beauty is all that women have to offer. The princess is strong, independent and she can definitely stand up for herself. This is a great article on stereotypes expressed in movies! I hope Disney continues to break these stereotypes in future films.

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      Thanks so much Jessica for your feedback. Oh please do go and see it… I couldn’t recommend it more! Oh I would have loved to have included Shrek, but unfortunately it’s not Disney so I couldn’t :/ But I couldn’t agree more. Fiona is fierce, defiant and strong: she runs around catching flies and eats stewed rats for goodness sake 😛 Also, I love how true love of the inside defies the love of beauty on the outside, at the end of the movie when Fiona decides to remain an ogre. That’s definitely something we don’t see in Disney!

  15. For as long as they’ve been around, Disney movies have had little girls waiting around expecting Prince Charming. This is something my friends and I have said often. Also, wanting to become a Princess which is associated with being pretty, glamorous, having long hair and other superficial things. Don’t get me wrong, I love a classic Disney movies! After all, they are just fairy-tales but there are unrealistic messages being sent to children.

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      Ah, couldn’t agree more and thanks for sharing your opinion! Oh all little girls apply make-up and clomp around in high-heel expecting that exterior beauty shall attract their Prince Charming. It is a horrible message to send to children, that aesthetics not academia shall win the heart of the opposite sex.

  16. Brittney Lindstrom

    I’ve been the same of falling under Disney’s spell. Whether that means that I used to believe my prince will come or that I have to be of smaller stature to woo a man, watching Frozen (5 times to be exact, so far) I couldn’t help but laugh when Kristoff is in disbelief when Anna explains that she just got engaged to someone. Frozen took on a realistic point of view even though at the end of the movie we still get our “true love” aspect. I really enjoy your writing!! 🙂

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      Thanks so much for your feedback 🙂 Oh that is my favourite scene! After so many princesses being wooed in the forest with animals singing and princes dancing– it was hilarious to see a forest scene where the “prince-like” character is mocking the whole concept. Classic

  17. While I definitely agree that those princess movies have issues that need to be explained to children before the ideas they showcase become something like facts, I’m glad that you omitted other films in the Disney Princess lineup. Though not technically a princess, Mulan offers great morals for kids and is a wonderful feminist piece. Pocahontas, Jasmine, and Tiana especially are all also wonderful role models in their own ways – Pocahontas for her insistence on compromise and understanding, Jasmine for her refusal to be treated as an object, and Tiana for her work ethic and refusal to treat Naveen as he was accustomed to until he earned it. That said, I don’t think Frozen was the first Disney movie to break boundaries, because all these movies and more came before it. However, as you said it IS the first one to toss out the notion that true love is only romantic love and that sometimes (ok in the majority of cases) the first boy you date isn’t going to be the one you end up with in the end. So while it isn’t by any means the first Disney movie to offer important life lessons, I agree that it is the first one to break many of the stereotypes surrounding the Disney Princess lineup, and I hope that it sets off a trend that continues into Disney’s foreseeable future.

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      Indeed, to put my argument across I did omit some of the strong female protagonists in the past. Mulan defied all stereotypes as a woman, with her fighting skills and perseverance. However, again I was disappointed when she returned to the submissive role of a woman after all that she had done. I too hope Disney keeps pumping out these feminist idols

  18. Nowadays Disney is really stepping up their game in regards to feminism. Frozen is a great example of how women are running the show when it comes to Disney films. Elsa is not the princess, but she takes over as Queen, and Anna definitely portrays characteristics of modern day women. If you look at Tangled and Brave, Rapunzell and Merida they are the ones saving the day.

  19. I’ve seen Frozen a lot more times than I probably should have, but I think it’s one of those films that will never grow old. It has everything that Disney has been lacking for too long, and it was really refreshing to see that young children of today are able to see that you can still be a princess in your own right without needing a man to save you. These two princesses were also very relatable; Elsa was restricted and self-conscious, and Anna was very awkward. Both embodied normal girls, and they are attainable personalities that don’t involve people feeling the need to be perfect in order to be loved and accepted by others.

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      Haha, there is never a limit on how many times you can watch a Disney movie! Indeed Nicole, I found that I identified with Anna more than any other Disney princess before: clumsy, awkward and idealistic. It was lovely to see some normality in Disney

  20. I love that Frozen focuses on the love between sisters rather than romantic love. It’s such a great departure from the genre and I hope Disney continues in this path

  21. Frozen is a breath of fresh air, in that it focusses on the relationship between sisters rather than that between a prince and a princess (this maybe due to the fact that it is based on a Hans Christian Anderson’s book ‘The Snow Queen’). That being said Disney still portrays it’s women in frilly little dresses with long hair and a need to marry a handsome prince. I also think ‘Beauty and the Beast’ was most probably the first example of gender reversal, as the Beast required the kiss of a woman to save him from himself. But I am a sucker for a Disney film, and would probably find it a big shock to find a princess with no love-interest at ALL! I love this article.

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      Thank you so much for your feedback! Yeah, although Beauty did kiss the beast and incurred the transformation: it still followed the cliché Disney prototype. Women can only conquer with their beauty. However, I shall also remain an avid Disney fan and swoon of their romances ^_^

  22. Mary Awad

    I personally think Frozen is a tad overrated (it is NOT as good as the Lion King) but it does make my feminist side jump in joy so I can’t complain. This was a really interesting article and you discussed all your topics really well so nice job~

  23. I like how you talk about how women are portrayed in these Disney stories. I agree with your opinion on Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and the Little Mermaid. However, I was surprised about Snow White being compared to “Eve” and that Belle, as independent as she seen, actually gives into the Disney norm and still portrays sexuality.

    Frozen is different. When it first came out, only one of the friends in my group was able to view it. After he watched it, he told me that it steered away from Disney’s norm, the villain was unexpected, and it had a new description for “True Love.”

    Of course, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Then I watched it and I agree with what both my friend and you have said. Frozen taught me that I didn’t need a prince; I just needed a reindeer. The best thing about Frozen, aside from the aspect of sister love, is that the movie actually questions loving and getting engaged to a guy that you just meet!

  24. Victoria

    Recently I have been doing research on modern movies for a class, and I have loved reading about all of the stereotypes and counter-stereotypes for in Disney films. Frozen is a great counter-stereotypical movie! It focuses more on the loving bond between sisters than on the unrealistic love between a prince and his princess. The movie makes girls look strong, determined heroines, and it shows men as messy, caring, and not always perfect. Disney has really done great with this movie, and they have come a long way from Snow White and even The Lion King where men are depicted as the only protectors and leaders in a community. But, I have encountered a few people who are discouraged with one line in this movie. Early in the film, Prince Hans says, “I like crazy” when he is talking to Anna. I have friends who have felt the need to explain to their daughters that you don’t have to be crazy to get a guy to like you. Disney just needs to be a little more careful when selecting dialogue and lyrics if they want to create a film that escapes all stereotypes.

  25. Alright, I just want to start out by saying that I agree with all the points you make about pre-renaissance Disney, a lot of it is very problematic and outdated and I think Disney has slowly been heading in a better direction lately. That being said, I don’t agree with a lot of the points you make here, especially about Frozen, but I’ll get to that later.

    I really feel like the big drawback to “The Little Mermaid” for me is that Disney completely reversed the message. In the original story, she gave up her voice for Prince Eric, but he didn’t love her, so she was turned into sea foam. This is meant to be a sort of “cautionary tale,” to tell girls that they will never need to give up any part of themselves for anyone. Hans Christian Anderson writes a lot of quasi-women empowerment tales (and I say “quasi” because even though this story has a good message, it still portrays a woman making a mistake and being punished for it, which isn’t all that positive), “The Ice Queen” being one. Frozen is probably Disney’s loosest adaptation of an original text, because the original is about a girl (not named Anna) who saves her male best friend from an evil snow queen, and meets many other women characters along her way to help her on her adventure. In no part does she seek out any help from men, nor does the story encourage unnecessary romantic relations to make the female character more likable, but I’ll get to that later.

    One part of this article very much concerned me, being a feminist who believes other feminists should be supportive and encouraging towards other women. I’ll just paste it here:
    “Girls now dress in skimpy outfits and show off their waist to woo the opposite sex. They pathetically act tipsy and dumb-witted, knowing guys will find this more appealing than them reciting the Linear equation. Not only that, they list “marrying a wealthy man” as a viable career choice. Perhaps we are still pretending to be Disney Princesses today, even if we are not naïve enough to expect a Prince Charming on our next date.”

    This sounds very misogynistic to me. Honestly, you’re being just as sexist as Disney when you call women “pathetic” and “dumb-witted” and shame them for their “skimpy outfits.” What ever happened to sexual freedom? Why do you feel the need to control women’s bodies and choices, and condemn those who are sexually active/want attention from men? Feminism is all about providing choices for women and freeing women from stereotypes, like how we apparently “act dumb” to get men’s attention. That really is just sexist and promotes these kinds of stereotypes, not to mention that you’re criticizing womens’ behavior when you really should be criticizing things that are actually harmful to women.

    Also, “Frozen is definitely a win for the feminists???” It feels like you were basically saying that Elsa and Anna were the first feminist princesses. May I remind you of Mulan, who saved China and didn’t give two shits about a relationship until almost the end of the movie. Also, The Princess and the Frog was very important because it portrayed a black women who worked hard for her dreams. Granted, you could argue that she “marries rich” once again, but the moral of the story is really to work hard for what you want, and she does this even after she is married. Both of these movies feature a protagonist who is a woman of color, but they get pushed aside by Frozen: a movie “about” two white sisters that only had approximately 20 minutes that actually shows their relationship. Movies like The Princess and the Frog and Mulan still aren’t perfect, but they break down stereotypes much more than a movie that supposedly was based around a female relationship, but still had most of its screen time on the completely unnecessary love interest. Frozen promotes the idea that a movie solely based around a female relationship isn’t worth watching, and Disney princess movies have to have romance interjected into the plot just to be acceptable. I’m not saying that Frozen is the worst thing that ever happened for feminism, but it certainly isn’t “feminist fairy-tale we’ve been waiting for.”

  26. Peter Miller

    For all its “gender stereotype” liberation, Disney can not resist mocking the one group it is still safe to abuse: short men…

  27. The U.S. is a big toilet. Over-run with fast food, cell-phone companies, and gas stations. Disney is not Disney and sure isn’t what Walt Disney had in mind. Money, Money, Money, and then more money. Gender discrimination? Give me a break. This world is doomed.

  28. Stephanie M.

    LOVE your article and insights! Snow White being cast as “Eve”–right on. While the parallel isn’t obvious–let’s face it, Disney would never get away with that–it does exist and is disturbing, at least to an adult if not a kid. The same could be said for your points on Cinderella and Ariel.

    I too, loved Belle as a kid and still do, because she is a “rampant reader” and smart. Would I have liked to see her engage more intellectually with the Beast. Yes, absolutely, but I think that before Frozen, she came closest to breaking down the feminine stereotype. Of course, with the addition of princesses like Jasmine and Pocahontas, Disney swung right back into it, so there you go.

    As you noted, Elsa and Anna do indeed break the ice of those barriers. Elsa gets the most credit, but IMHO, Anna takes the crown for so many reasons. She feels and acts more like a “real” woman than her predecessors. She’s unafraid to stuff her face with chocolate, appear messy and uncoordinated, and just live life. Plus, as you noted, her Prince Charming is anything but, which forces her to face and challenge the stereotypes in her own mind.

    Again, superb job.

Leave a Reply