The portrayal of women in Disney's feature animation princess films, and the messages that these films convey

Beltrami, Katie (2011) The portrayal of women in Disney's feature animation princess films, and the messages that these films convey. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    The Walt Disney company, founded in 1923, is today one of the biggest media conglomerates in the world. At the core of its success, throughout the decades since the pioneering 1930s, are its feature animation films. To date, Disney has released 51 ‘classic’ animated feature films, with diverse story lines and varied characters. However, a theme which the Disney Studios relentlessly return to and are inevitably associated with is the Disney princess: “the reign of the Disney fairy tale princess began with the production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937, and since then Disney productions have become the dominant source of children’s intertextual knowledge of fairy tales, particularly in relation to visual and imaginary images” (Hurley, 2005, p. 224). However, Disney were not the first to feature a princess in their animation; the first American animated short, ‘Little Nemo’, featured one female character, and she was a princess. Nonetheless, unlike previous animations, Disney’s princesses were central to the plot, and indeed the title, of their films. “In the twenty-six years between the release of ‘Little Nemo’ in 1911, and that of Disney’s animated feature Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937, a number of other female characters would be shown, but rarely were they central to the cartoons in which they appeared” (Davis, 2006, p. 83). With the princess characters forming an essential element of Disney’s films, and also the rapidly expanding Disney Studios, strong opinions began to develop about the portrayal by Disney of its women characters and the messages that the films projected, as their popularity, and consequently influence, continued to rise.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries > School of Art and Design
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2012 16:06
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 12:10
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/9556

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