Gender And Stereotypes In Disney's Animated Movies

2186 words - 9 pages

It is not a secret that for quite some time now Disney’s animated films have influenced particularly children’s mental identities regarding how they will view to society as well as the status quo. Disney film makers are not the creators of the gender and racial prejudices that are ever present in media, however, they certainly encourage the image of a woman being submissive and almost always white. As it relates to women of color specifically, Disney animated films have been exclusive and biased in terms of representation. For example, the recent Disney animated film The Princess and the Frog featured the very first African American Disney princess, Tiana. This princess, as well as the film itself is peculiar in comparison to those that had come before it; especially those that featured a typical white princess. This is a issue because Disney is one of the Big Six; this means that it is a huge contributor of many media sources. The current Hollywood Commercial film business is ruled primarily by six big companies: Warner Brothers, Paramount, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal, Columbia Pictures, and Disney.” (Campbell, Martin, Fabos, 2014) This is problematic because when big player in media such as Disney perpetuates gender and race stereotypes in its children's movies, it indicates that those stereotypes and biases are alive and well in our society. “Disney touches all people of every age all round the world.”(Campbell, Martin, Fabos, 2014)
In the fall of 2009, Disney’s first African American princess, Tiana, starred in the animated feature film The Princess and the Frog. (Perhaps not shockingly, over seventy years after Snow White graced the big screen as the first Disney feature film animated princess in 1937.) Although the release of this film generated feelings of pride in the African American community about the showcase of a Black woman as a princess, it also exemplified the ways that societal depictions of minorities spill over into animation, and help to reinforce negative perception of African American women. Michael D. Baran explains ‘‘Because of Disney’s history of stereotyping, people were really excited to see how Disney will handle [the first African-American princess’s] language, her culture, and her physical attributes.’’ (Lester 2010)
The film received a large amount of criticism and created controversy based on its representation of Tiana in this animated film. Many African American critics, as well as much of its audience were not pleased with the movie; as for many, it was blatant racism. Whether deliberately or otherwise, the film artistically displayed a plethora of racial stereotypes related to Blacks in America. Many critiques deem Disney a racist institution and believe that Disney purposely inserts racial stereotypes. This critic analyzes Tiana's character, and describes the ramifications of such representation blatantly:
Tiana is the first African-American princess in the history of Disney animated features and her...

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