Disney’s Women

For my last blog I want to talk about the Emily’s presentation. I always found Disney an interesting topic and I really enjoyed her presentation. Somehow Disney and gender always seem to follow me through all my courses. Last year at my home university I took a gender course in which I wrote a paper about Disney and gender. During that same time I also took a film course called American film and culture, but it was commonly known as the Disney course since it mostly was about Disney. On top of that I am currently doing a course called German Fairy Tales in which we also look at the adaptations of Disney.

Emily talked about Snow White and how she was depicted as the perfect housewife; the preferred housewife of the 1930s. Snow White stumbles across the dwarves’ cottage and inside it is super messy. What I found interesting is when you look at the original source for the film, Grimms’ fairy tale, it is the complete opposite. Snow White then stumbles across a perfectly clean cottage and she is the one that messes everything up by drinking out of their cups, eating of their plates and sleeping inside their beds. This is how the dwarves learn that someone is in their cottage. I find it interesting that Walt Disney changed this around and made Snow White the role model for little children.

What I found interesting about Mulan is the difference between the representation of Mulan in comparison with the other Disney princesses. Although her waist is thin, it is not as thin as the waists of the other princesses. On top of that, when Mulan is still herself, her lips are drawn much larger and feminine in comparison with when she is in the army. Somehow Disney is still trying to make her more feminine that way.  A similar thing occurs when they find out she is a female, then she suddenly seems to wear make-up. I always found that interesting about Mulan, how does she put on her make-up that fast?

Going back to Emily’s original question; I do not believe that Disney will ever have a strong female character. Disney is a traditional company that still holds values established by Walt Disney himself. Even though they have become more modern, family values are always on top of Disney’s list. This is actually interesting considering that the princesses hardly come out of a nuclear family. Most of the time they are orphans or have only one parent left. However, Disney seems to make their films for the nuclear family and I believe they still will show traditional values. It is hard to imagine that Disney will ever have a gay character that is being depicted as positive or a female character that goes against the binary. Even though Brave showed that not all Disney films end with a heterosexual kiss, I still think most of them do. I believe that Brave is an exception, because it is a Pixar film and technically not a Disney Classic like Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Mulan. If we look at the true Disney films, most of them end with heterosexual couples and that is what drives the story.  Even recent Disney films show this; like The Princess and the Frog, Tangled and the upcoming film Frozen.

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