Fairy-tale stereotypes

By Emma Anthony


I was not your average kid. Although I loved girly makeup and dolls, I also loved fishing and playing with hot wheels. I never asked for help; I was determined to do everything on my own. So when I watched Disney princess movies, I could never understand why all of the female leads were so dependent on their male counterparts.

What made Prince Charming so charming anyway?

If you ask me, he was just some guy who sang high-pitched ballads and rode around on a white steed. And to make matters worse, it wasn’t just princesses who needed male help, it was women in general.

Recently I watched “Cinderella” with a couple of my friends. As the movie progressed we become annoyed with the way Cinderella’s helpers were portrayed. If you have ever seen the movie, or are rusty on your Disney facts, I’ll fill you in: they are mice. They help Cinderella with her daily chores, except for one scene in which they make Cinderella a ball gown without her knowing. During this scene the male mice go out to look for the supplies, while the females do the sowing and beading  This intrigued me, so I began to analyze the sociological implications behind the movies we watch as children.

Billboards and advertisements affect children. They tell them how to dress, what colors to like and how, generally, to present themselves. But no one really thinks about how the movies we watch as children affect us — every princess is a size two, with big boobs and perfect hair. We pay to take our children to movies that tell them what they can and cannot do. As Francesca Flax said while watching Cinderella, “Why is it okay to sue Barbie for making their dolls stereotypically beautiful, while Disney princesses look exactly the same?”

It just makes me think about society as whole — why is it that we have allowed women to be represented in such a pathetic way? It is only recently that female Disney characters have begun to assume more agency. New movies such as the “Princess and the Frog” andMulan” represent women as independent characters who are in control of their own destinies. However, neither of these films depicts a man being rescued by a woman; they just portray women as equals. But, this shows the sociological shift within our society; we as a country have begun to accept women with stronger personas. However, I have still yet to see a woman become a male’s crutch in a Disney movie.

I wonder what the future will hold for women in the world of Disney. Will there someday be a movie that has a woman save a man? Will Disney at some point create a movie that shows a female becoming a corporate leader or military general? I doubt it, but then again, Disney has done some amazing things in the past. I guess I’m just waiting for Disney to take charge and help promote a more progressive depiction of gender roles.

Emma Anthony is a Collegian columnist. She can be reached at [email protected]