Disney- Media Influence on Young Girls in 1930s

In the previous post I talked about the conditions that women had to endure. But what about the little girls? If you look at the media that young girls were exposed to at that time like Disney’s Snow White (1937), it easy to see the negative ideas that were being reinforced.
The Queen- Snow White’s Stepmother (Antagonist)
  • Obsessed with being the most beautiful one of all and will stop at nothing to achieve that status– other options the story tellers could have chosen include: being the smartest, most creative, most cunning, etc. Instead, they have decided to focus on physical appearance
  • Is jealous of Snow White’s beauty after the mirror has said it so– they should be focusing on teaching girls to be confident in themselves and the way they look and not let anyone tell them otherwise.. especially a mirror
  • Decides that killing Snow White is acceptable– no other explanation is needed; this is clearly not acceptable
Snow White- Protagonist

  • While overall she is portrayed as someone who is kind, giving, and caring– her fate in the story is dependent on the prince who must save the day. Instead, they should have focused on creating a heroine who could think for herself
  • She is naive to a fault and refuses to follow the good advice that others have given her
  • Like Barbie, her physical appearance is impossible to achieve in real life, but when little girls look at her– they strive to be like her when they grow up.
The events and ideas you are exposed to when you’re younger have the greatest impact on who you are and your beliefs. And while I disagree with Disney’s portrayal of Snow White, over the decades, the company has changed their movies so that there are more heroines.
A great example is Mulan, when a young girl decides to dress as a boy to join the army in place of her older father to keep her family together. This type of bravery is the kind we need to inspire into our future generations whether they are girl or boy.

~ by tanyaw on May 13, 2010.

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