Target Women does Disney

// 19 October 2008

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Comments From You

JENNIFER DREW // Posted 19 October 2008 at 11:52 am

Sarah Haskins is brilliant. Succinctly shows how Disney is all about the myth of women just having to wait passively and their ‘prince’ will suddenly appear. Also, the misogyny in Disney wherein unattached women are always evil witches. Or else, stepmothers are always evil. Not forgetting of course, female characters are sexualised and depicted with impossible bodily dimensions. But hey, this is just reproducing ‘reality’ is it not?

Monty // Posted 20 October 2008 at 12:31 am

I love current, the programs fit my attention span rather well.

Katie Waters // Posted 20 October 2008 at 12:33 am

Whilst I agree that Disney is horrifically sexist and quite often disempowering to women (like a lot of adult films, tbh), I wish to remove some of the ‘credit’ Disney is being given, by pointing out that the majority of the Disney films were based on older stories… embellished upon yes, but created, no.

If that just means fiction has almost always been filled with victimised women in need of rescuing, I would have hoped we’d grown out of it by now.

Charlotte // Posted 20 October 2008 at 8:26 am

Ahh, thank you for introducing me to her! I’m going through all the videos now, brilliant. It’s so funny because these were the animated films I grew up with as a child during the 90’s…great message they’re instilling into the minds of little girls!

Lindsey // Posted 20 October 2008 at 11:37 am

@Katie Waters

They are based on older fairy tales but…

1) Disney chose the appearance of the female characters

2) Disney chose the type of language they used

3) Disney changed the endings on some of the stories. eg the Little Mermaid didn’t originally get the prince – he married someone else and she died, but through her love she earned a soul and became a sky spirit.

Eliza // Posted 20 October 2008 at 3:48 pm

Sarah Haskins is awesome.

A lot of the older stories the Grimms are based on are from the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen, who got them, in a lot of cases, from Perrault, who wrote for adults. The Disney endings are probably changed not to up the sexism quota (which doesn’t really need doing) but to make them more child-friendly, rape-and-mutilation-free affairs. The most disturbing thing about it is how far they’re still based on stories from the 17th Century – you’d hope that women would be seen differently now, but apparently not.

Is anyone else (very slightly) cheered up by Disney’s more recent films? I can’t say I really follow them very closely, but all the big recent ones I can think of (Walle, Monster’s Inc., Finding Nemo etc) seem to be lacking a princess. They’re still far from perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction.

BrevisMus // Posted 22 October 2008 at 12:54 am

Eliza, if anything the Disney-Pixar films you cite go too far in the other direction, completely axeing any female lead characters. There’s a lot written on this, but is a good start.

lisa // Posted 22 October 2008 at 9:52 am

The original (and very ancient – old even by the C17) fairy stories can also be more useful and realistic than the Disney-censored version and referred to rituals which have lost their meanings for most people now e.g. the original Snow White involved 3 visits with 3 very different items used (laces, comb, apple) of ancient symbolic significance. The real story can be understood on many levels and as the child grew the deeper meanings would becomes clearer.

Fran // Posted 22 October 2008 at 10:39 am

If anything, the Disney films are even more offensive when compared to the stories on which they’re based. For example, the original Beast in Beauty and the Beast was a good person despite his appearance — the moral being not to judge people by the way they look. In the Disney version, he was violent and aggressive, and only redeemed through his relationship with Belle — does the theme of “woman as gatekeeper to morality” ring a bell with anyone?

Leigh // Posted 22 October 2008 at 5:51 pm

Jess- can we get the embed code for links like this for the purposes of putting the video on our blogs directly?

Helen // Posted 12 July 2009 at 10:46 pm

The disney films were based on earlier fairytales, however those fairytales didn’t become female victim role propaganda until the 18th Century. Before then stories were passed around by word of mouth, changed frequently and weren’t so uniform.

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