Sexism in Disney Films

Thursday’s Gender Thoughts: A well interpreted YouTube video created by Sanjay Newton called ‘Sexism, Strength and Dominance: Masculinity in Disney Films.’ What is revealing about this example is how Disney movies appear to be innocuous, but in truth they send subtle messages to our children about how boys and girls behave, what they should seek in one another, and how they should treat members of the opposite sex. Newton focuses this creation on the effects of the messages on masculinity, but also addresses what girls learn about boys. Well done!

What do you think? Does this change your mind about showing Disney movies to your kids? Are Disney movies harmless?

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About Marinagraphy

Marina is a writer who focuses her work on the need for female empowerment. She writes articles, books, and blogs centered on female experiences related to motherhood, female agency, feminism, and building positive images for young girls and women. She currently teaches Literature, Writing, and Women's Studies on the College level.

12 Responses to Sexism in Disney Films

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  2. Lanita says:

    I haven’t approached Disney films with sexism in mind, but I have thought about how most Disney films represent dysfunctional families. Families with evil steps, runaways, widowed parents, parents that are killed, or parents that aren’t around. The only movie I can think of that has a two parent family and is somewhat “normal” is The Incredibles.

    • Lanita, I never looked at Disney movies from those lens. This would be a fantastic article to write — for you! Makes me think of them differently. My lens is always sexism or feminist or gendered…and it shades everything I see and read withing this context. Wow! Thanks for reading!

    • Yes, Heather — although I am trying very hard to fix myself — and the way moms are seen today and in the past, really. I don’t have a village and i envy those who do — makes parenting and trying to achieve your goals so much easier.

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  6. Lisa says:

    Thanks, just reposted this on my blog.

  7. Mumstrosity says:

    What you didn’t see in that, is the Main male characters don’t start fights, they stick up for their family, and the one they love. Sure, some of the men are masculine.
    Hercules IS masculine, he’s supposed to be.
    Mufasa is the King of the lions, they have to be strong.
    Gaston (sp?) comes across in the movie as a big oaf who loves himself too much, it shows that just because a guy is ‘pretty’ it doesn’t mean he’s someone a girl wants to get involved with.
    The Beast, was supposed to come across as ugly, and should show boys that it’s whats inside that counts.
    Mowgli was a scrawny kid.
    Peter Pan wasn’t masculine at all.
    ‘Wart’ from sword in the stone, was a scrawny kid.
    Kusco (sp?) was over the top obviously a douche bag (not to mention, scrawny). And Krunk was the masculine halfwit. And that villiage guy was masculine but not ‘good looking’ and was very smart.
    Aladdin was a ratty kid who tried to be all masculine but found out that he should just be himself.
    The princes in Cinderella, Little Mermaid, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty aren’t ‘chiseled’ at all. They are very average. And half the maidens of the story don’t even know the guy is a prince.

    Disney movies are awesome, and they always will be ;)

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