Have We Made Progress? Disney Films Through The Decades

2440 words - 10 pages

Is there a difference between a Carl’s Jr. Hamburger commercial featuring a scantily clad Paris Hilton and a Disney movie? Many would argue “Well, of course there is a difference!” Those looking through the lenses of feminism would see that both are highly sexualized and send a negative message to children. They teach young girls that they are only valued for what their beauty sells. In this age of technology, children are spending more and more time in front of their television. Whether it is an episode of an edgy situation comedy like Two and a Half Men or a serious, heart-to-heart episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, there is a very high chance that a child is learning about their gender role and what that entails. The trend of damaging stereotypical portrayal of women in animated films has not lessened and perpetuates poor role models for children.
Snow White’s sole purpose in this film is to find a prince to marry and enjoy life happily forever after. She has minimal dialogue with the prince that she meets but it is understand that for this couple it is love at first sight. When Snow White happens upon the seven dwarfs’ cottage in the woods, the dwarfs are alarmed to find an intruder in their home. Nearly all of the dwarfs are relieved to find that the intruder is a beautiful young woman. Despite her beauty and demeanor, Grumpy is put off by the fact Snow White is a woman. When the six other dwarfs agree that Snow White is an angel, Grumpy exclaims an overtly misogynistic statement, “Angel, ha! She’s a female! And all females is poison! They’re full of wicked wiles” (Snow White). In addition to her beauty, she also tells them that she loves to cook thus sealing her into the stereotype of an ideal woman of the 1930s. The men allow her to stay with them in exchange for her domestic and culinary abilities. It appears that Snow White’s only redeeming qualities are her overwhelming beauty, domestic skills, and high status as royalty.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs embodies the “damsel in distress” plot to a “T”. At no point in this movie does Snow White provide any action to save herself from impending trouble. There are four instances in which Snow White is in trouble and rescued by men. First, the Queen is seeking to be the “fairest of them all”. To determine “fairest”, the Queen relies on an external source, her talking mirror as opposed to looking within herself for validation. Realizing that her physical appearance did not equate to the “fairest”, the envious Queen orders her huntsman to kill the “fairest of them all”, her step-daughter, Snow White. Second, then the huntsman finds Snow White, he cannot bear to kill her because he finds her so beautiful. She does not have to think of a witty escape or physically defend herself to dodge death because the huntsman found her to be so beautiful. Third, at the climax of the movie, the dwarfs save Snow White by chasing the Queen off the mountain where she plunges to her...

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