Disney Movies

19 Oct
Ah Disney movies! Love to hate ’em? Hate to love ’em? Good, harmless fun – or vehicle for indoctrinating racism, sexism, and heteronormativity? What do you think?

[Above video – Sexism, Strength and Dominance: Masculinity in Disney Films]

2 Responses to “Disney Movies”

  1. Naja Later October 19, 2011 at 1:31 pm #


    This is a great blog that looks a lot closer at different Disney films and their portrayals of women. While I don’t enjoy the heteronormative misogyny in a lot of traditional ‘princess’ films and believe they’re where a lot of negative body image culture starts, there’s also movies like Lilo & Stitch, Mulan, and Toy Story 2/3. One thing, at least, is that the films do centre on stories of women and have very basic male narratives, like the fairy tales they’re based on. The famous/rich/handsome/charming prince (with the exception of Aladdin, one of the few central male characters) doesn’t get nearly as explored as, say, Belle, whose interest in literature and travel give her aspirations beyond her small town (remember it’s reading together in the library that bonds her with the Beast). Ariel has a voracious anthropological interest in the human world before discovering Eric. Alice isn’t actually here but she’s another famous Disney character who’s more into discovering other worlds and being daft than she is marrying and being pretty. While the feminist perspectives are few and far between, there’s sometimes a little that can be salvaged from Disney’s typical misogyny.

  2. Betty Noire November 6, 2011 at 10:09 am #

    I think you are definitely right that there are gems to be salvaged from Disney films. However the problem is, I guess, whether and how kids can make this distinction.

    OK so I have to admit that Beauty & the Beast was my favourite as a kid – Belle has my same name, I was from a little town that I thought was ‘provincial’ and wanted to get out of, I loved reading, and we both have brown hair so we are, like, totes the same!! One thing that bugged me when I was older is that even in her favourite book, the story is effectively the story of the movie (ie ‘princess’ meets ‘prince’ but doesn’t figure it out til the end). So even her books are about happy princess marriage.

    But in general what bugs me most about Disney movies is that most characters who are not monarchs/rulers/autocrats aspire to move up the hierarchical power chain, and to reach the top of the hierarchy (for female characters, this is almost invariably through marriage) is the ‘happy ending’. Like in Aladdin, where he is in his little squat looking at the ridiculously opulent palace, thinking ‘one day I will live there’ rather than WTF, why have they got all the money??!

    The movies mostly teach that success means to move as high as you can up the chain, but don’t question the power system kids!

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