The Damsel Of Distress And The Knight 's Shining Armor : Gender Roles

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The Damsel in Distress and the Knight in Shining Armor: Gender Roles in Disney Movies “How about a girls who’s got a brain, who always speaks her mind?” (Bancroft and Cook 00:43:30-00:43:40). This was Mulan’s (Mulan (1998)) response to her fellow soldiers’ desires for women who are beautiful, will cook for them, and will worship them. The men brush off Mulan’s suggestion without thinking, but what do objectifying comments like this being included in a children’s movie say about society? Movies play an important role in shaping the beliefs of children, because they are susceptible to the ideas to which they are exposed as they mature. It is the responsibility of movie producers, like the Walt Disney Company, to create characters and…show more content…
It is alright to want to want to find a “prince,” but it should not overtake a young girl’s desire for her own successful future. On the other side of the spectrum, young boys watching these tropes are affected as well. When the prince swoops in to save the princess, he is also “[claiming] the spotlight” that is not his (Leek 5). There are many instances, such as Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty in which the movie is titled after female characters, “yet it is men who are thrust into the role of heroes” (5). Even the movie “Beauty and the Beast [1991] devolves into a battle between two male characters while Belle helplessly awaits the outcome” (5). Young boys seeing all of these heroic princes may lead to them believing they are entitled to the spotlight over girls. This promotes inequality between men and women in society. The imbalance of the two extremes may be attributed to the other personality traits female and male characters are given. The characteristics given the the females and males of Disney movies reinforce gender roles for how each gender should behave. Many of the Disney heroines share the common traits of being docile, obedient, weak, nurturing, and domestic. For example, Snow White “finds a shelter in a dusty and dishevelled cottage and immediately feels compelled to clean it from top to bottom (since the
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