Page 1Blake O’BrienProfessor Thomas PatchellEnglish 201A5 December 2017The Princes Effect21st century parents letting their children develop their brains with the ideals and stereotypes that disney movies could be disastrous for children. Parents nowadays are usually very picky about what content they allow their children to watch. Especially with the vast amount of content they can be exposed to over the internet. So naturally then turn to what they saw when they were younger like Disney. Disney specializes in the production of G and PG rated movies are a godsend for these parents.
Little did they know that, allowing their children at a young age to watch Disney movies exposes them to some of the potentially harmful stereotypes. That can affect self esteem and their behavioral patterns for the rest of their lives. This is a think I like to call the princess effect. Upon further inspection you can find a lot of hidden and not so hidden princess effects in their movies.
And most of them affect little girls, but young boys are just as likely to absorb Disney’s stereotypes.Disney is a company that has been producing products and films special designed for children since 1923. Sense then they have grown into a multi billion dollar company, that now controls a large portion of the media. Their grasp over the media includes companies like ABC, Page 2ESPN, Pixar, Marvel Comics, Touchstone Pictures, Lucasfilm, and the list only goes on and on. This is a problem because Disney itself has the power and resources to change the way that people think and act. In fact they have been teaching children for years what it means to be a princess or a prince through their box office movies. Disney’s content could be dangerous for our children’s mental health if movies like Beauty and the Beast, Mulan, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Aladdin, Hercules continue to be watched. Source 1: Graph showing how women often speak less than men in films.
Reprinted from WAPO.ST by Carmen Frought and Karen Eisenhauer, 2012Page 3Disney’s older princess movies include a large number of these princess. Their princess movies made through the years 1937 to 2009 were stories told around the fictional lives of princess. These women were the main characters of these films yet they barely even spoke fifty percent of the words in the film.
(Source 1) The Little Mermaid is one of Disney’s older princess movies. It shows us the tale of a mermaid princess named Ariel, who falls in love with a handsome man at first sight. She then makes a deal with villainous octopus lady named Ursal to transform herself into a human at the cost of her voice. But it’s ok to loose your voice explains Ursula because you are doing all of this in order to be with the one you love. The main villain Ursula also directly states to the audience about how men don’t like women who talk a lot as she sings “They think a girl who gossips is a bore. Yes, on land it’s much preferred, for ladies not to say a word and after all, dear, what is idle prattle for? Come on, they’re not all that impressed with conversation, true gentlemen avoid it when they can but they dote and swoon and fawn on a lady who’s withdrawn, It’s she who holds her tongue who gets her man.
“(The Little Mermaid) This films most prevalent princess effect is when it shows how you should change yourself to be with the one you love. Instead of making an effort to show that you be yourself and chase true love, and that men prefer women who are more of the silent type. This kinds of messages should not be allowed to be shown to little girls. Because young children’s brains are like empty cups, just waiting to be filled full of information.Page 4Source 2: Example of how skinny Disney princess have been, Fanpop 2014 As seen in Fig.
2 Disneys princess before Mulon were all white, had pencil sized hips and were relatively attractive. Their male counter parts other than the Beast who was a rather large and hairy man were also pretty darn handsome. These kinds of unrealistic characteristics make young children feel aso though they must be fit and skinny in order to find true love. But that is just not simply the case in real life relationships. Yet Disney has set the bar high once again for their princess and princes looks. Which negatively affects those who are fat, making them question whether they can find true love or not.So there are a lot of different stereotypes that Disney has put out there over the years.
But have any of them actually affected women and is there proof of that? Yes, Brittany Minor did a survey in 2014 on forty women from ages 20-37 years old. They all had no particular level of education, profession or economic status. Most of them were around close to being an age where they would have seen a Disney Princess movie when they were young. Question eight of the Page 5survey asked simply if, “Fairy Tale ending possible in reality”(Minor, “Happily”). It was found that sixty percent of the women answered yes.
Which is honestly a very delusional response to such a question as fairy tales are works of fiction. Kinda shows that the women liked to believe in the impossible. Through the research and the answers to the rest of the questions Minor found out that, “Disney princesses impacted 36 out of the 40 women surveyed” (Minor, “Happily”). Seeing that such a large number of the women were somehow impacted by older Disney films it is important that the company change how it portrays females. So that newer generations don’t get affected by Disney’s older movies.
Disney is still relevant as of today. Seeing as how a study done in 2016 by a group of Child Development researchers involved a total of almost two hundred preschoolers and found out how much they interacted with the Disney Princess culture. The whole point of it was to see if the children watched the movies or played with the toys. They found out, “…that 96 percent of girls and 87 percent of boys had viewed Disney Princess media. And while more than 61 percent of girls played with princess toys at least once a week, only four percent of boys did the same”(Coyne, Pretty).
It’s amazing to see that 96 percent of those little girls had been exposed to the company’s princess films. This research shows that a large amount of children are exposed to Disney’s content nowadays. Especially with how much children take in, as Speer says it best a when talking about an article, “‘Fairytales, they do come true.’ This may seem harmless, but it does have tremendous effects on kids. Children will believe practically anything you tell them.
If children believe this subtopic, then they will believe that all of the underlying messages are correct, and thus imitate them as close as possible”(Speer, 8). Children take all of these messages Page 6of how outward beauty makes you special and that you should change how you are to be with the one you love and live out their lives this way without even consciously being aware of it. This is why it is important for Disney to change the way that the make their movies. Disney has finally began to slowly change their content to be more female empowering. Newer Disney Princess movies like Mulan, The Princess and the Frog, and Brave. These movies have made a strong effort to increase the amount of dialogue that the female princess get in there movies. Some of them speaking up to if not over fifty percent of the words.(fig.
1) As wells as making females be the ones who are the rescuers rather than the damsels in distress such as seen in the movie Brave. These changes show that Disney is making an effort to change the way they make princess movies. Disney and the ever so growing Disney princesses have been and will continue to shape American Society. The obvious influence Disney has on all of society, shows that it is necessary to take a closer look into what we allow for children to see. Because the influence is happening and what can be done to prevent or stop it must be done.
Because children are like empty cups and they are just waiting to be filled with new information and Disney’s information could be harmful. Research shows that Disney princes and princesses play a major role in why young girls are so attracted and attached to these film. Therefore, researching how the character were made and how they are going to be made will have a strong impact of on society.