October 19

Paradigm Shift Essay

Introduction: Every girl dreams of growing up and becoming a princess, living their happily ever after lives.  But do they really know what this means.  The princess that a modern person would want to be does not correspond with the princess of the 1950s and a person who believes in a traditional lifestyle may not want to be a modern princess.

Thesis: As the feminism movement grew throughout history, Disney began to adjust its princesses along with it.  One can see that there are three categories of Disney princesses depending on the social climate. A beginning stage, a transition stage and a modern up to date stage where women a equal to men.

  1. 1930s
    1. 3% of women had jobs
      1. Continued into the 1940s
      2. Cheaper labor
  • Poor working conditions for women
  1. People believed women should be married
    1. Place in the home
    2. Mother’s worked when husband’s wages could not support them
    3. Do what the wife wants (Working Women in the 1930s – U.S. History in Context)
  2. The original Disney princess reflected society
    1. Snow White
      1. Looks for a man to marry
      2. Blue dress-represented femininity in the day
  • Stay at home-clean the house of the seven dwarfs
  1. Magic mirror
    1. Who is the fairest of them all
      1. beauty is what defines a woman
        1. her worth
      2. Cinderella
        1. Marriage the ultimate goal
          1. Escape from lives that they had before
        2. She performs housewifely duties
          1. Consequences if they are not done
  • Beauty-what women are valued for
    1. Love at first sight with the prince
      1. He does not look at anything but her looks
    2. Has to look perfect for the ball
  1. Sleeping beauty
    1. Gifts
      1. Gift of song
      2. Gift of beauty
        1. Necessary skills for a women to possess
      3. She does not have much of a purpose in the movie
        1. Is used as an object
          1. Not a feminist role
        2. Feminism in the 1960s-1980s
          1. What did women want
            1. More job opportunities
            2. More pay-higher wage
  • Wanted to get out of the house-not do house hold jobs
    1. Wanted to prove that they can do other things
  1. Opponents of this
    1. Did not want to disrupt gender role
    2. Did not want unisex bathrooms mandated
  • Military conscription-men were liable for military service
  1. Unconstitutional alimony laws
  1. Disney’s response to this
    1. Ariel and Belle are very similar-WBEZ
      1. Explore
        1. Belle-read books
        2. Ariel-go on adventures with Flounder
      2. Independent
        1. Take care of themselves
          1. Belle does not fit in with the environment so she does her own thing
          2. Ariel goes and explores on her own without the knowledge of others
            1. Makes her own decisions-Ursula
  • When they found their men they lost their drive in life-submissive role in society
    1. Belle
      1. Pretty girl falls for abusive man
        1. Unable to escape at first until she falls for him
      2. Ariel
        1. Has to give something up to be with the man she wants too
          1. Changes her life for him (for a part)\
        2. Jasmine
          1. More athletic body type
          2. Running away from the palace-exert her independence
  • Sexualizing women
    1. Outfit
      1. Ethnic outfit-makes people think that this is not the purpose
    2. Proves that it is still a man’s world

Fulfilling the women’s role to natural fulfillment of a young woman’s dream as continually defined by men

  1. Pocahontas
    1. Athleticism-strong woman
    2. Independence
      1. Lets John Smith go back to England without her
        1. Partial independence because she does not leave because she does not want to
          1. She says her tribe needs her-not completely an unclouded decision
        2. It is also a coincidence that there is not a biracial couple in the movie
          1. Against traditional marriage roles
        3. Mulan
          1. Physically fights
          2. Progressive-breaking gender norms
            1. The whole movie focuses on the problems with this
              1. Men should protecting the women and children in the community
  • Independence
    1. Makes her own decisions to join the army
      1. Cuts her hair off
    2. Saves China by were own RISK TAKING and thinking
  1. Shift to modern feminism-pacific
    1. “destabilizing” men’s standard of society with the belief of universal womanhood
      1. Distinct genders
      2. Sexuality
        1. Revealing clothing
      3. Strong and empowered women
        1. Women can create their own definition of beauty and role in society
  • Equality among multicultural women
    1. Ethnicity
    2. Class
    3. Sexual orientation- https://www.pacificu.edu/about-us/news-events/four-waves-feminism
  1. Modern Disney Princesses
    1. Merida- https://www.bustle.com/articles/107099-fact-merida-from-brave-is-disneys-most-feminist-princess
      1. Shows how forced stereotypes can influence a relationship
        1. Not every person is meant for the same womanly role
      2. When something went wrong she did not let someone else fix the problem
        1. She went and fixed it
  • No relationship
  1. Refused the makeover for her coronation
  1. Tiana-bustle
    1. Comes from a life where she has to work two jobs to achieve here dream
      1. Economic independence
      2. Stability in a job
        1. Wants to own a restaurant
      3. Names the restaurant after herself
        1. Knows her worth
      4. Women of color
        1. Feminism in this generation has also to do with disparity among different ethnicities
          1. This focuses on someone of minority struggling achieving their dreams
        2. Elsa- http://www.thefeministwire.com/2014/10/slamming-door-analysis-elsa-frozen/
          1. Opportunity to make mistakes
          2. Love of sister rather than suitor
          3. Does not make her in to be more powerful than she is
            1. Humanizes her
              1. Dhows her mental health issues-coronation
              2. Does not need to be the perfect person-LET IT GO
                1. Puts on sexy outfit and does not care what anybody thinks
                  1. Eyebrow raise
                2. Frees herself from the trap that her powers put her in
                  1. Does not need a man’s helps
                  2. Accepts who she is


  1. Rapunzel-bustle
    1. Runs away from the life she is terrified off
    2. Knows she is worth more than that life
  • Self-defense-not afraid to hit others to protect herself
  • Makes her life happen
    1. Does not need Flynn to achieve her dream
      1. She was already in the process of making it happen when he came along
        1. It is not a problem that she found love, but it was not a central theme in the movie.


  1. As the feminism movement grew throughout history, Disney began to adjust its princesses along with it. One can see that there are three categories of Disney princesses depending on the social climate. A beginning stage, a transition stage and a modern up to date stage where women a equal to men.

Posted October 19, 2017 by sak5851 in category Uncategorized

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