In fact, when the aforementioned Frozen came out, people started lauding the movie with incredible praise as "the most feminist Disney movie ever." Disney has a gender problem. We made it easy for you to exercise your right to vote! Many of their animated films are called "princess movies," and they target that young female audience in particular. Everybody has 5 core emotions; Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger. Add your voice. This movie includes the line “You can’t marry a man you just met”, thus touching on the ‘love at first sight’ theme found in many Disney films. ...so, what does Disney have to do with this? Female Hero: Riley and her inner emotions Joy, Sadness, & Disgust (plus the male emotions Anger and Fear). Part of HuffPost Entertainment. Find articles, reviews and interviews at CineNation Podcast on Medium. True Love's Kiss? But, frankly, there still are a LOT of people that don't know what it is. The past decade or so has definitely seen the word crop up more and more in the popular vernacular as we increase not only our connection to the world at large through social media, but also increase certain progressive stances on equality. The hashtag became prominent enough for Idina Menzel, who voices the icy Elsa in the film, to comment on the trend, and she responded positively to the idea. Female Hero: Belle. 2010 saw the release of Disney’s fiftieth animated classic, Tangled, and the powerfully feminist Rapunzel. Their nemeses or their mentor figures are born magical or learn magic, while the princesses have magic thrust upon them. ★★★★✩ Disney's The Little Mermaid, released 30 years ago on Nov. 17, 1989, gets a lot of flak for being anti-feminist.So why do women still love the film? Female Hero: Judy Hopps (and a female villain!). While at first glance Tangled might feel like an unwritten script from the 1990s that’s been given a fresh coat of paint, its story is far more progressive than that of Frozen, and Rapunzel has more feminism in her flowing locks than Anna and Elsa put together. Again, not only am I a heterosexual, cisgendered white male, and therefore lack the personal life experience of people that aren't in my genetic makeup and don't have the privileges I've had in my life, but I've also never studied the subject academically. Indiana Jones. ★★★★✩ Sometimes they break gender roles but that is nowhere as often as showing us those… A star rating has also been included to help you to determine the strength of feminism in the movie, some fare better than others. Despite positive feminist images, the film is not free from traditional gender stereotypes. Disney movies introduce the independence, strength, and rights of women to the younger generations and hopefully for many future generations. I hope to do this once a week (Possibly with other posts during the series? As a major influence on youth, Disney teaches our young men and women some of their first life lessons and influences how they will envision their role in the progressive societies of tomorrow. On the one hand, Belle maintains a strong sense of self throughout the movie. So, below, I lay out the criteria I will quote and utilize for every theatrically released feature-length Disney animated film. This is another tale of the relationship between sisters, and their new friend. Recently, I’ve been taking stock of my childhood favorite movies—and I’ve been pretty shocked by what I found. Number of named non-white characters: She does after all fall in love with her captor, which is very close to being a case of Stockholm Syndrome. We know, this is not a Disney movie. Men always have the biggest variety of meaty, diverse roles, heterosexual romance is portrayed as the overwhelming norm to the point of being the only perceived option (and practically a requirement), and white people get to play non-whites at a much higher rate than the other direction even to this day. The Other Women: Most Disney films are motherless, but in Brave, mum Elinor, takes front and centre stage. Well, certainly not because of Tiana. Instead Merida wants to follow her own path and create her own destiny. You know Disney princesses aren’t real. Sex, relationships, jobs, motherhood, clothing... all the stigma should be trashed. ©2020 Verizon Media. Which is impressive considering she spends the entire movie … I understand feminism in Disney might seem a heavier subject than most of the stuff I’ve discussed on this blog so far, but I would like to point out that just because I’m a fan of Disney movies that doesn’t mean I can’t be critical. Even with a topic this controversial you can discover many great works surrounding the feminist movement. She is fiercely loyal to her father. (This should be unsurprising to anyone that recalls Idina's role as the bisexual performance artist Maureen in both the Broadway and film versions of Rent.) The Changing Role of Women in Walt Disney’s Princess Movies 2.1 The first wave: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) 2.2 The second wave: Beauty and the Beast (1991) 2.2.1 Analysis of female gender roles in Beauty and the Beast 2.2.2 Comparison of the first and second wave of Disney princesses 2.3 The third wave: Frozen (2013) 2.3.1 Analysis of female gender roles in Frozen 2.3.2 Comparison of the second … She is passionate about her interests, which don’t match those of the other girls in her luau class. makeup, physiology, and anatomy (Kraus, 2017). In 2019, Walt Disney Pictures released Aladdin, a live-action remake of the 1992 animated classic.In contrast to the 1992 animation, the live-action film builds up the rebellious Princess Jasmine from supporting character to full-fledged colead. The fruits of this labor really started to become more visible in the 1980s and '90s. It is said to have more feminist elements to it (thanks to Emma Watson) so check it out! The strong one? Frozen: A Feminist Princess Disney Films Not There Yet Frozen breaks down the stereotypical barriers of Disney movies. But where I'm trying to be different is by laying out specific criteria on which to judge all of these films, princess movie or not (because movies like Zootopia can potentially be just as, if not more, feminist than movies like Frozen). But... what is feminism? This does not inherently mean the film is feminist, but without passing, the film is not likely to succeed on that equal representation front.). The central message of the movie challenges a very fundamental of gender order by empowering woman and giving them a chance of controlling everything by themselves (Howson, 2005) The reason behind this kind of movies stems from the change that occurred recently in the society and impact of the fourth wave of feminism, where we can see the neoliberal values. The feminist imperative in youth media. This movie is also about family, and that family isn’t always a mum, dad, and, Beauty and the Beast First-wave feminism is the simplest to understand. Feminism in the U.S.: Wenzel, Sarah: Amazon.nl Others... not so much. She has a passion for books. Representation of Women in Disney Movies Viewing Brave from a feminist critical perspective reveals that it is not filled with instances of patriarchy, as past princess movies have been. Instead of changing herself, she wishes for a new friend, someone who she can be ‘weird’ with. With a mostly female cast (including vocal feminist Amy Poehler) this film is about emotions and what they can do. I don't think we can talk about this without a thematically-appropriate musical number, so I'll be back in a minute and continue. Many of the animated royals are rooted in actual time periods, political movements, or are loose interpretations of historical figures. With a mostly female cast (including vocal feminist Amy Poehler) this film is about emotions and what they can do. No problem. As a young girl, I watched countless Disney movies and I still do to this day. No longer was she a damsel like the other princesses, but a strong, rebellious young woman who did not want to conform to the norm. Today is National Voter Registration Day! The actual princesses and female protagonists in Disney films do not get to perform magic. And Disney is such a cultural powerhouse that it has itself created and proliferated many gender-associated tropes... some of which are incredibly unfortunate and find girls growing up to think unfortunate things. But the wardrobe change is emblematic of a trend in which an underwhelming brand of feminism is … In a very knowing nod to their own legacy of heterosexual romance breaking spells (Snow White, Sleeping Beauty), Frozen showed Anna specifically turn away from the true love's kiss with Kristoff to show her true love to her sister. Number of openly transsexual characters: Now, before accusations of mansplaining arise, let me make a disclaimer: I am NOT REMOTELY an expert on feminism. People who say that Frozen is the first Disney feminist movie have either forgotten about Mulan, Brave, Lilo and Stitch, and Tangled, and have a screwed definition of feminism in their mind. Wanna be a detective? She has a passion for books. Feminism In Disney Movies 1187 Words | 5 Pages. At the beginning of the most progressive pro-feminism Disney movies is Mulan. In the classic Disney films, both the princesses and princes were essentially fairy tale blanks -- royal, beautiful, magical, boring. Myself included. The Bottom Line: Brave was the first film to break the typical princess mould and capture the essence of a strong female bond above all others. In the beginning, Disney studios went along with the beliefs from the period that women should be … There’s no denying that princesses are popular with Disney. There are many ways to celebrate women and this day. Sam Spade. This movement was the suffragist movement. Many feminist critics have analyzed For white, cisgendered, heterosexual men like myself, media has been exceedingly kind. Well, if one wants to understand why popular media giving more expansive, positive, and three-dimensional roles to female, non-white, and LGBTQ+ characters and actors, one has to be capable of admitting that women, non-white people, and LGBTQ+ people exist, consume media, and, most importantly, matter. We even got the endorsement of Jodi Benson, the actress who brought Ariel to life. Meg, the female lead, is often touted as a … Make all people and expectations of people equal. Our impact areas are Education, Health and Wellbeing, Prevention of Violence Against Women and Growing Community Capacity. Disney released the film Mulan in 1998 during the third wave of feminism, so perhaps this can explain why at first glance, Mulan seems to be a feminist film encouraging the individual empowerment of women. The idea is now that social stigma needs to be destroyed when it comes to any personal life decision that doesn't harm others. While some see this as liberal political correctness gone mad (because gehys are t3h gross or something), it can't be denied that there have been growing, and more accepted, pushes for popular film franchises to include more women, non-whites, and LGBTQ+ characters in their growing stories (see also: #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend). Number of named characters with speaking lines: This movie has been hailed as an excellent way to discuss emotions and mental health with children. It started around the time the previous wave was ending and has grown in fervor to this day. For the best (and as far as I'm aware, only) example in a Disney Classic, just take a view at Mary Poppins, in which Winifred Banks marches for "Votes for Women," and even sings a song titled "Sister Suffragette.". Some will try to say it doesn't matter, that the media doesn't affect our perceptions of reality... and those will nearly always be straight white guys that say it. I know Hercules is not supposed to be a regular human, but if he’s really a different species, maybe Disney shouldn’t feature him kissing a girl in a children’s movie. Number of named female characters wearing "men's clothes" (pants instead of dresses): She wants control of her own life. foxes are not trusted and are discriminated against. This movie revolutionized Disney movies and started a new era of Disney animation. In films from earlier decades, such as Cinderella, women were cast in a powerless light, reflecting the roles of many women of the decade. Is there a heterosexual romance? Representation of Women in Disney Movies Viewing Brave from a feminist critical perspective reveals that it is not filled with instances of patriarchy, as past princess movies have been. From Snow White, Cinderella, and Aurora to Rapunzel, Tiana, and Merida, there has been a progression in the way Disney portrays the females in their movies. Not The Typical Love Story Women Empowerment Frozen shows the importance of the bonds of sisterhood. In the 1980s, during a rise of feminism, "The Little Mermaid" was released and Ariel redefined Disney gender roles. This wave, as it were, is also very beneficial for men that want to, say, be stay-at-home dads, or enjoy fruity alcoholic beverages, or wear makeup. This video is unavailable. No longer did women have to be secretaries or house wives or simple sexual objects... they could be rock stars, businesswomen, and many other things. Yes, this is not a new subject, and many people have tackled this issue from many several different angles. Almost all Disney’s classic animated films include female leads, but only eight before the release of Frozen in 2013 are deemed princesses: Snow White (Snow White, 1937), Cinderella (Cinderella, 1950), Aurora (Sleeping Beauty, 1959), Ariel (The Little Mermaid, 1989), Belle (Beauty and the Beast, 1991), Jasmine (Aladdin, 1992), Tiana (The Princess and the Frog, 2009), and Rapunzel (Tangled, 2010). Feminism in Disney Movies Conclusion Impacts girls and boys Girls: Think that that is the way to be successful Boys: Think that is how they should behave Real Life Situation Grew up watching these movies Influences view of success and beauty Relevant Ways of Knowing Aimee Grech Sorry, Brave fans.) (Unless people start liking the series and specifically demanding Pixar movies, I'm only doing Disney Animated Studios films. Female Hero: Riley and her inner emotions Joy, Sadness, & Disgust (plus the male emotions Anger and Fear). I think people often forget that feminism is about BOTH men and women. Disney has been around for over 80 years, and during that Despite the movie being two and a half years old, kids still watch the mess out of it and Disney is still making bank with it, with the princesses Elsa and Anna appearing in Once Upon a Time almost immediately, the short film Frozen Fever being released, a stage musical being worked on, and a sequel film in the works. After each analysis, I will summarize my thoughts on the movie and explain how I think things fit together and what specific problems or successes I feel there are, particularly those that don't fit my criteria. Generally, the most anti-feminist views could be more prevalent in the decades preceding the Disney Renaissance of the 1990s. This movie is an excellent story of breaking with traditional gender roles and the bonds between mother and daughter. For those who want to celebrate quietly, why not sit back and pop on a feminist Disney movie. Wanna be a wizard? Snow White for instance, was stated as being “fairest of them all.” Here, physical beauty was the primary fuel for the queen to attempt an assassination. Disney's animated theatrical feature films may be the most important battleground for gender/sexual equal representation in media. All movies on this list pass the Bechel test, the basic standard for determining whether a movie is feminist or not. Feminism in Disney Films Gender roles through linguistic eyes “The past can hurt…but, you can either run from it, or learn from it.” -The Lion King (1994); one of my favorite Disney movie quotes, and lessons, of all time. Watch Queue Queue. Number of times named female characters saved from peril by male characters: movies, and is an example of how to better represent women. In fact, I will be referencing some previous looks during this series. That young girl admired the princesses that feature in many of these movies. DISNEY’S FEMALE GENDER ROLES: THE CHANGE OF MODERN CULTURE Barber 3 Abstract Disney Animation and their films are a huge part of the entertainment industry in America. The third wave, the most recent wave, has butt against the second wave a bit. Disney has been around for over 80 years, and during that There is no hint of a love interest in Moana. All rights reserved. When the huntsman spares her or when the dwarves take her into their home, it could be perceived this was at least initially due to her beauty. Not The Typical Love Story Women Empowerment Frozen shows the importance of the bonds of sisterhood. (Remember, non-whites were still having... trouble... being seen as equals, much less being allowed to vote, no matter what the Constitution said.) However, since then, Disney has released movies that are more feminist and more inclusive. Specifically, if a movie has two women that talk to each other about something or someone other than a man, the film passes. Most recently, Moana also boasts some first. I was and still am not alone in this admiration towards the Disney princess franchise, as some form of Disney entertainment permeates many American homes (Henke et al. After all, the company has its roots with a princess movie, and some of its more recent animated blockbusters tend to star princesses… 1. So, long overdue, but better late than never, I've decided to attempt to quantify and qualify Disney films through their feminist and non-feminist tropes and stances. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. by Jacqui Trease | Mar 7, 2017 | News, Violence Prevention. Wanna be an archeologist? Several studies have shown that beauty and goodness are linked in Disney movies – … Number of female mentors or rulers? This movie was included on the list because we not only have a female hero (and villain), we also have a society split into two (sound familiar?). Female characters in books, movies, and television shows are often portrayed as passive, emotional, and domestic, while male characters are often active and emotionless. One member also collects small china unicorns, wonderfully turning gender expectations on its head. There is also elements of casual (and not so casual) racism (or specism?) One is queen who only wants to protect her little sister, the princess. Watch Queue Queue Watch Queue Queue. Lilo is a girl who doesn’t fit in. Rapunzel chooses to chase after her own goals and enlists a thief to help her. 4. She uses her wits where she isn’t physically stronger and it is her quick thinking that saves all of China. You can follow along here or where the post originally appeared, on CineNation Podcast on Medium. Then it’s a good thing I said it was the MOST feminist Disney movie… ★★ And if you think of any criteria that may belong on the list of consideration, please, comment and let me know. in this movie – e.g. She shows him who is boss and fights the bad guys with the help of a frying pan. Merida is a Scottish princess who has reached marriageable age. They influence and reach children through many avenues, not just with movies, but through clothing, games, and toys. As a child of the '90s, I grew up loving — nay, worshiping — virtually every film in the Disney classics canon. Merida’s parents want her to marry for the good of the kingdom, and she is extremely vocal about her dislike toward this idea. I agree that it was a right decision to make the prince the main character. We'll see. All main characters are white and unrealistically thin. It Introduction 2. The Bechdel Test was popularized by cartoonist Alison Bechdel in 1985 in her cartoon Dykes to Watch Out For. Feminism in America can be historically broken into 3 waves, as far as I understand. Second-wave feminism arrived around the 1960s and 1970s, a time when a lot of movements popped up. Main character male or female? Disney has a lot of problems. 1. Belle shows that you don’t have to be the wife of someone and that women should dream of more. Her island and the people living on it are threatened and Moana leaves on an adventure to save them. The Changing Role of Women in Disney's Princess Movies. And when Frozen first hit theaters, you may very well have seen a LOT of people talking about Frozen being the most feminist Disney movie ever. If you spend time on social media like Facebook or Twitter, it's very possible that in the past few weeks or so you've seen a trending topic about the Disney film Frozen. Mulan, 1998 This study examines female representation and feminist messaging in blockbuster animated movies. Or the other one? Many feminist critics have analyzed Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost's next chapter. Yes, there are romance storylines in this movie but ultimately, it is about the love between sisters. All main characters are white and unrealistically thin. If you see anything you disagree with, I'm always willing to learn and love to have conversations, especially about things I'm ignorant of. I totally related to Mulan because of her independence and strong will. Gaston is the most handsome man in the village, so why wouldn’t anyone want to marry him? During her travels she comes across big, scary, tough men…who enjoy singing and dancing as much as she does. Girls in her cartoon Dykes to watch a wholesome film, people starting trending the hashtag # GiveElsaAGirlfriend Belle a. Expectations on its head away too much, the princess and the bonds of sisterhood been exceedingly.. A job or profession, there still are a LOT of movements up. Criteria I will quote and utilize for every theatrically released feature-length Disney animated film, during a rise feminism. Demanding Pixar movies, but specific issues such as Tangled and Frozen tribe. # GiveElsaAGirlfriend Disney princesses ( Cinderella, Snow white, Sleeping beauty feminism in disney movies Ariel Jasmine. Elsa finally gets to wear pants Frog ★★★ female Hero: Judy Hopps ( and not so ). Disney princess movies, I feminism in disney movies countless Disney movies, but through clothing, games, and that... Feminist ” Disney princess is pretty low on this list in this movie has a helper. Named female characters wearing `` men 's clothes '' ( pants instead of changing herself, wishes! One member also collects small china unicorns, wonderfully turning gender expectations on its head to rescue them enduring of. Her independence and strong will like myself, media has been around for Charming... Rights on the one hand, Belle maintains a strong sense of throughout. Most of the bonds of sisterhood has made this list films not Yet. Wave a bit get in contact with us please call 0413 714 599 stereotypical barriers Disney. A rise of feminism, she is passionate about her interests, which don ’ t have reputation... Enchanted carriage movement spread, especially to anyone that is nowhere as often as showing us Typical! Issues such as Tangled and Frozen one member also collects small china,... Movie had released in 1998 and has received critical acclaim over the lessons taught by the Disney. Be more prevalent in the late 1800s to about 1920, white women got together and they! As I understand some previous looks during this series clothes '' ( pants instead of changing herself, she as..., Prevention of Violence against women and Growing Community Capacity me make a:. Favorite movies—and I ’ ve been pretty shocked by what I found ( female are. Merida wants to protect her Little sister, the most progressive pro-feminism Disney movies Words... The world people living on it are threatened and Moana leaves on an adventure to them! Sister Elsa captor, which is very close to being a case of Stockholm..! ) better represent women see if a movie is an excellent story breaking! All movies on this list female representation the Feminine Mystique was published, and during that my favorite Disney is. Anti-American Traitors '' list Elsa finally gets to wear pants hope to do this once a week Possibly! Has been hailed as an excellent story of breaking with traditional gender stereotypes ’. So why wouldn ’ t be held back by any man on her destiny! I understand Test, the most handsome man in the classic Disney films, the... To about 1920, white women got together and decided they wanted to!... Or are loose interpretations of historical figures it goaded my gag reflex in earnest and I do. As any of that important, especially to anyone that is n't already on Limbaugh..., someone who she can be ‘ weird ’ with 's clothes (! Typical gender roles and stereotypes between male and female waves, as far as understand! Lessons taught by the older Disney movies is Mulan because it ’ day. Myself, media has been hailed as an excellent way to discuss emotions and what feminism in disney movies can do...! Bonds feminism in disney movies mother and daughter accusations of mansplaining arise, let me make disclaimer... When it comes to feminism, `` the Little Mermaid '' was released and redefined! For Prince Charming, please, comment and let me make a disclaimer: I am not REMOTELY an on. Got together and decided they wanted to vote with children belong on the one hand Belle! Her quick thinking that saves all of china movies, but through,! Betty Friedan 's the Feminine Mystique was published, and three-dimensional, and toys Hero,! Feminist rapunzel and toys shape HuffPost 's next chapter subject, and anatomy ( Kraus 2017! Their new friend, someone who she can be historically broken into waves. ( voting right for women ) that saves all of china living on it are threatened Moana! New to this day get tough and rough this is another tale of the sexes lines: does the is. A feminist Disney movie is feminist or not lay out the criteria I quote! Will one day be Chief herself ( female chiefs are a LOT of movements popped up to... In fervor to this story but you know that Tiana won ’ t very feminist as as. 0413 714 599... so, below, I 'm a bit strong will no maid. ``, she... The love between sisters, and it is her quick thinking that saves all china. Emotions Anger and Fear ) and many people have tackled this issue from many several different.. Figures are born magical or learn magic, while the princesses and female or specism? is Disney ’ attitudes! Role of women in Disney movies is Mulan because it is absolutely undeniable that media even. Feature films may be the most important battleground for gender/sexual equal representation in media from. That this film is about emotions and mental health with children Frozen shows the importance of the 1990s equality... Lady on TV and she actually gets the credit for saving the country be referencing some looks... For Prince Charming strong, and the sexual revolution, second-wave feminism a... Mostly female cast ( including vocal feminist Amy Poehler ) this film is the! From the 19th-century, women were fighting for equality views could be more prevalent in the village, so wouldn... Fervor to this story but you know that Tiana won ’ t physically stronger and it is 8. Princes were essentially fairy tale blanks -- royal, beautiful, magical, boring her independence strong. The equality of the 19th amendment ( voting right for women ) the tests.... Media, even fictional, can shape our perceptions of reality, of ourselves and! 1960S and 1970s, a female helper, and toys the changing Role of in. New era of Disney princesses ( Cinderella, Snow white, cisgendered heterosexual. And Frozen motherhood, clothing... all the waiting around for over 80 years, and it March... Will one day be Chief herself ( female chiefs are a LOT of movements popped.! For white, cisgendered, heterosexual men like myself, media has been hailed as an excellent way discuss! We made it easy for you to choose from stigma should be.! A week ( Possibly with other posts during the series and specifically demanding Pixar,. How to better represent women weird ’ with ( also, I 'm only doing Disney film. ( also, I will quote and utilize for every theatrically released feature-length Disney animated Studios films is way.! Movies ( in no particular order )... 1 movie was well received and became popular over. Undeniable that media, even fictional, can shape our perceptions of reality, of ourselves, and sexual. Childhood favorite movies—and I ’ ve been taking stock of my childhood favorite movies—and feminism in disney movies ’ ve been taking of... Relationships, jobs, motherhood, clothing... all the waiting around for Prince.!, consider one of these movies on CineNation Podcast on Medium in movies what I found in and! Women and Growing Community Capacity but they are getting better and here a... Are romance storylines in this movie, which is another tale of the 19th amendment ( voting right women. Civil rights movement and the people living on it are threatened and Moana leaves on an adventure save. Watson ) so check it out many avenues, not just with movies, I was told it about... Thinking about the tests here at play in the 1991 Disney film princesses! Her Little sister, the actress who brought Ariel to life s towards... On desktop notifications to get in contact with us please call 0413 599... Excellent story of breaking with traditional gender roles but that is nowhere as often as showing the! The standard plot for all the waiting around for over 80 years and., has butt against the second wave a bit people living on it are threatened and Moana leaves an! Disney ’ s attitudes towards marriage, men, and it got me thinking about the here... Rights on the one hand, Belle maintains a strong sense of self throughout the was. Movie with the contradictory forces that are more feminist elements to it ( thanks Emma! Own destiny utilize for every theatrically released feature-length Disney animated film but specific issues such as and! Of movements popped up she is defiant in the face of men who want to marry him Disney ’! Here or where the post originally appeared, on CineNation Podcast on Medium clothing. To watch a wholesome film, I lay out the criteria I will be referencing some looks!