Lecture Outline


Walt Disney Background Information

Disney’s Role in WWII and post-WWII America

Sexism in Disney Princess Films

  • What stereotypical gender roles are being emphasized?
  • Snow White
    • Femininity: Snow White’s versus Rosie the Riveter
  • Lack of Disney Production during WWII
  • Cinderella
    • Cinderella as a turning point
    • Subservient role of women
    • Return of femininity
  • Sleeping Beauty
    • Dependence on men
    • Public criticism from gender equality activists
  • Gap in Disney Princess Movies
    • Walt Disney’s Death
    • The Feminine Mystique
  • The Little Mermaid
    • Silence of the Female Voice
    • Sacrificing everything for men
  • The ironic nature of the princesses having no power

Race in Disney Films

  • Song of the South
    • Insinuation of slavery
    • Disney’s recognition of the racism-not being taken out of the vault
    • “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah”
    • African Americans’ role in WWII and post WWII America
    • White Suburban Americans’ superiority complex
    • GI Bill Discrimination
  • Fantasia
    • Black beauty racial stereotypes
    • African Americans being inherently inferior
    • White beauty seen as superior to black beauty: hiding the fro and using skin bleachers
    • Social discrimination for black women
  • Racial tensions being created from such a young age
    • Hard for children to accept desegregation

Class Distinctions in Disney Films

  • Lady and the Tramp
    • The struggle between the proletariat and bourgeois
    • Societal opinion on “handouts”
    • Domestic, suburban life is preferable
    • Negative immigrant opnion
      • pound dogs & siamese cats

Returning from War in Princess Films

  • Sleeping Beauty
    • Idealized analogy of returning World War II veterans and their wives.
    • Wives at home versus soldiers abroad
    • Sword and shield symbolism
    • Expectations for return to normalcy

Anti-Establishment in the 60s and 70s

  • Robin Hood represents wealth redistribution and equality
    • New Left
  • Corrupted Government
    • Prince John
    • Sir Hiss
    • Sheriff