Gender Ideology in Disney Princess Films

The representations of gender in the Disney princess films is an important topic for discussion in terms of the lasting gender images of femininity and masculinity such movies have on younger generations, especially younger females. The earlier films, such as Sleeping Beauty, demonstrate how culture constructs femininity and masculinity in terms of the beauty ideals. Later films, such as Brave, portray femininity with a more masculine touch by adding male characteristics, such as independence, athleticism, and courage, to the female protagonists. Overtime, have the representations of femininity and the roles and expectations of Disney princesses changed for the better? How do these new representations of gender ideology positively or negatively influence young viewers?

  • This is definitely an interesting topic! I think the representations of femininity in Disney films have, in fact, changed for the better. Without knocking too much on the classic princesses, what do they have to offer besides beauty and being a plot device? Of course, not all classic Disney princesses are just objects of beauty. Belle, for example, is my favorite princess because she's so intelligent, and that's what sets her apart. But nowadays you see a lot more of characters like Elsa, Mulan, and Merida, who take on specifically masculine traits in their actions, behavior, quests, etc.. Even in shows like Once Upon a Time, Snow White has become this brave, fierce warrior. She is no longer just a pretty face. – Christina Legler 9 years ago

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