Disney animated movies have gained significant amount of popularity over the last decades especially among children. These movies are known to have classic stories and characters for moral and entertainment purposes. However, in most of these animated movies women and men are portrayed in a way that reinforce stereotypes about gender role. Gender roles are socially and culturally constructed ideas of what women and men are suppose to do. Many children get first exposure to the idea of gender roles from all the these movies. From all the characters they see, these children grow up learning that men are expected to be tough, competitive, independent, and emotionless, while women are expected to be possessive, emotional, sensitive, and weak. Basically, animated movies is partially responsible for shaping children’s opinions, beliefs, and attitudes toward gender roles.
Children are exposed to many animated movies that promote gender stereotypes from the early age. Looking at the male and female animated characters, it is not hard to figure out that the two genders are portrayed differently in terms of gender roles. Usually female characters are portrayed to be sweet, naive, conforming, and dependent, while male characters are typically presented as strong, adventurous, independent, and capable (Singh). For example in the Disney movie “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,’’ the female character, princess Snow White, is rescued from dying by the prince’s kiss. The whole movie displays how Snow White take care of the Dwarfs by cooking and cleaning in the house, while they complete their responsibilities of keeping her safe. Other movies like Cinderella, The Princess and the Frog, and The Little Mermaid also follow the same trend. Since these children are too young to distinguish what is real or fiction, they start to believe that women are responsible of taking care of their house and family, and men are responsible of providing protection and financial help to the family. At early age, many children feel pressured to conform to the gender roles because they learn that they will accepted by the society if they act in certain ways.
Disney movies impact many children’s view on gender roles because of the way they portrayed their male and female characters. The makers of these movies usually get away with displaying these ideas because gender roles are conceived to be true by the society. It is important to acknowledge that these children lack the resources that teach them that they are not always required to into one of boxes, and that it is acceptable to expresses themselves without being bounded by the stereotypical gender roles.
Singh, Manjari. “Gender Issues in Children’s Literature.” . Office of Educational Research and Improvement, n.d. Web. 6 June 2014. <http://www.kidsource.com/education/gender.issues.L.A.html>.
Porter, Tony. A Call to Me.’’TED Talk.’’ December, 2010. <http://www.ted.com/>.