Disney has been established as one of the biggest, strongest and most influential companies in today’s pop culture. A whole generation has grown up watching their movies and buying their products. Girls have watched the stories unfold, dreaming that one day “prince charming” will come and they will get their “happily ever after”. Boys thinking that this is the mold a woman should follow. But is this idea correct? Is the way they portrait women the most accurate and adequate example of what a woman should be? Is this image dangerous and toxic to our children?
For decades Disney has portrayed women as individuals with no more aspirations that singing songs, waiting for prince charming. Always the victim, the misunderstood, they would wait for the man of their dreams to come and save them from their misery. Take Snow White for example. She’s mistreated by her stepmother so she runs away to be protected by the dwarves. When they fail only true love’s kiss is able to save her. As expected the prince comes, glorious, and saves the day, and they live happily ever after. But is that to be expected in real life? Disney gives a false sense of reality to these stories which can give young children reason to believe they need to fill these stereotypes.
Almost every protagonist in a Disney movie follows a stereotype of what a woman should be. They are similar in body type and similar in personality. The story revolves around them but they play a very passive role on it. On the other hand, the prince who is mostly absent gets the glory and the girl. At some point one might even consider it chauvinist. Even when the girl is able to play a great part like in Mulan, the need to transmit her as a male character makes it a little hypocritical. Another example of chauvinism in these movies can be found in Beauty and the Beast. Belle, as a semi-independent and intelligent girl is forced to go to great lengths just to find true love. She’s mistreated, and also faces violence, but just to find the inner prince on the “beast” she withstands it all. Isn’t this developing in girls a really dangerous idea?
With all these points we can see that Disney’s image of a woman follows a stereotype created by men. These women are controlled by men and base their decisions on the goal of finding that male partner. The image of a woman whose only purpose is to serve and who’s survival depends entirely on their male counterpart. This are extremely dangerous messages that are being sent to our younger children daily and whose should be explained to younger children to avoid confusion.