Gender Stereotypes In Disney Movies
What About Women In Disney Movies
Yes, gender stereotypes in disney movies are one of the most common accusations placed against the media giant. Stereotyping is assuming that ideas about a certain group are true based solely upon membership in the group. Stereotyping usually carries a negative connotation. Stereotyping is almost always the basis for prejudicial feelings or statements about another group of people.
Disney has been accused of stereotyping women as either princesses, queens or homemakers. The women in Disney movies often are housekeepers, such as Cinderella and Snow White. They are often portrayed as simply marking time until a man comes along to take care of them. If there is a powerful female figure in the movie, she is almost always evil, as is evidenced by the witches in Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White.
Stepmothers are another stereotype which is a Disney favorite. Cinderella, Snow White
are the two obvious ones.
In addition to the gender stereotypes,, Disney has been accused of many racial stereotypes. In Aladdin, for example, the hero has much paler skin than the 'bad guys' have. He sings about the barbarism of his land in the very beginning song.
In the Lion King, the players are animals, but the voices of the heroes or good guys are white American voices, whilethe voices of the hyenas are played by Whoopi Goldberg and Cheech Marin, in accents that can only be described as inner-city ghetto.
Another common stereotype which Disney has been accused of is in the treatment of Native American culture and beliefs. The characters of Princess Tiger Lily in Peter Pan and of Pocahontas in the movie of the same name bear little resemblance to any historical person.
In Disney's defense, several statements could be presented. First, the Disney organization does not create the stereotypes, they simply reflect them. If a character is so far from the expected characteristics that it is unrecognizable in the viewer's experience, the real message of the movie if any will be lost. In other words, to shows a woman of the 16th century as being educated, able to act independently or working at an outside job rather than as a housewife is misrepresenting history also. Disney is not in the business of changing stereotypes with the movies, that role is not expected of any other television, book or movie--why should Disney be singled out for their presentation?
Some have said it is because Disney has such a profound effect on the children who watch the movies which portray the stereotypes that Disney should be blamed for the development of stereotypes in the next generation of children. However, until studies are done that can show that the Disney movies, or any other group of movies causes children to think differently about a particular group than the rest of their societal group thinks, those who blame Disney for stereotyping are guilty of much the same kind of thinking which they are condemning. A child who watches movies created by the Disney organization will be no more biased than any other child.