Representation Of Female Character: To What Extent Can Disney Be Said To Have Moved With The Times?

2214 words - 9 pages

Disney is an international film company that dominates full-length feature animations. Two feature long cartoons, Snow White (1937) and Mulan (1999), are good examples where a female character takes the central role, Snow White being from the first half of the 20th century and Mulan from modern times. Between the times when these films were made, one might expect the representation of women may have changed, (as female equality has improved) as well as some of the stereotypes of women that Disney has been criticized of conveying in the past. Before Mulan was created Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' and 'The Little Mermaid' had already marked a significant change in the portrayal of women, but it can still be argued that behind the audacious, attractive, and determined characters they are still happy homemakers just waiting to settle down.Other traditional Disney heroines are characters like Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) and Cinderella. In many ways they are similar to Snow White and became examples of how to act, what to do, and what was accepted and expected as a role model or just a woman. All three of them are shy, passive, and naïve towards the evils of the world. Their appearance in many ways relates to their personalities. They lack detail, are flawless, and are extremely unrealistic.Snow White is portrayed, at the beginning of the film, as an innocent obedient, domestic child, who dreams of finding the man she will marry, but is inactive in doing so. In comparison with Snow White at the start of the film, Mulan is very different. Although Mulan wants to be conventional/ traditional she is disorganized and clumsy. She is sacrifices herself and tries to be dutiful to uphold the family honor despite the fact that in actuality she feels as if she is trying to impersonate somebody she could never be.Snow White is depicted as a timid, young girl, naïve towards the dangers that threaten her. Once her evil stepmother sends a huntsman to kill Snow White her fate is in the hands of a man, much like the power in the world at that time. Since Snow White was made there has been many changes in the way women are treated, they have much more power and autonomy, and this is visible in Mulan. Instead of following the rules of society Mulan opposes and challenges them.It is hard to imagine Snow White resisting society's regulations. Snow White represents the submissive women before the feminist revolution and agrees to keep the house, cook, make beds, wash, sew and keep everything neat and tidy. She illustrated that the place for women was in the house, instilled in the domestic expectations of domesticity for women in society. Mulan does none of the kind. She instead charges off to join the army in the place of her father and takes her life in her own hands, rather than sitting around dreaming of romance. In this sense Mulan is a true liberated heroine; she is independent of anyone else, and makes decisions on her own.Mulan is far more complex than...

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