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John Baldwin

Mentor Department



This paper rhetorically analyzes gender role portrayal in Disney princess movies. Disney princess movies have a significant impact on how society defines gender roles as it is a prominent voice of the entertainment world. Disney has successfully commercialized the concept of being a princess feeding on a century-old fantasy. Each of their movies’ centers around a female lead. Although they vary in the storyline, the gender role portrayal in these movies remains similar. From dependent, delicate and domesticated to independent, bold and adventurous features of their heroines, Disney princess movies have shifted their concentration briskly. At an initial stage, Disney portrayed stereotypical notions of women in their movies. Gradually, accepting the changes in society, Disney adapted their storylines. In this paper, I will identify whether the recent uprising and previous waves of feminism, have any influence on these movies and to what extent the characteristics of princesses changed from past to new princess movies. To do this, I have categorized the most popular Disney princess movies in three generations – the conventional princess (1939 – 1959), the transitional princess (1980s and 1990s) and the modern princess (2000 till now). After introductory discussion, this paper discusses gender roles in media followed by three generations of Disney princesses and concludes with a discussion of this shift in the storyline, in line with the waves of feminism.


This project has not received IRB approval.

You Only Have to be Brave Enough to See it: Evaluation of Gender Role Portrayal in Disney Princess Movies in View of Waves of Feminism

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