Evolving evil: female villain in Disney animation

Austin, Emma (2015) Evolving evil: female villain in Disney animation. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    The aim of this dissertation is to examine the evolution of the female villain in Disney texts, to determine what has changed over time. This study will investigate how the basic oppositions between the feminine protagonist and antagonist are constructed narratively and visually. To achieve this, it wil1 investigate representation and characterisation, through gender roles, narrative structures, social positioning and physical attributes in selected film texts.
    In Chapter One, a discussion of the Brothers Grimm traditional fairy tales, establishes literary archetypes and narrative formulas. This chapter is grounded in approaches from academics Jack Zipes, Bruno Bettelheim and Marina Warner, leading scholars in fairy tale construction and Disney text analysis. This established key representations of gender roles, specifically the female villain.
    In Chapter Two, the discussion was extended to see how these tales have been adapted into Disney's animations. Using specific case studies this chapter found that the female villain is represented as contained and concealed; where ambition, greed or madness as hidden. The thematic key here was rejection of the maternal role; obsession with beauty, power, and this was shown through their intended control over characters.
    In Chapter Three, contemporary Disney texts are discussed to explore, whether "classic" fairy tale narratives and representations of the female villain (and heroine) and being challenged. Using specific case studies, this chapter found that the villain is visually represented as grotesque, they transgress femininity and display the monstrous m[other]. The modern representation of female evil still relies on vanity, but their natures display the grotesque.
    This dissertation concludes that the evolution of the female villain no longer serve as one embodiment of 'evil', but instead a gradual illustration of how women can be represented negatively. Depending on their social positioning, obsession with appearance and how this incorporate themes of jealously, greed, ambition, and control.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries > School of Media and Performing Arts
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2016 15:01
    Last Modified: 30 Nov 2016 15:01
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/22715

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