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“Behind the Fair Façade”
Representations of Femininity in Three Walt Disney Animated Features

Bachelor Thesis
Bethany Schouten, 3278972
Media en Cultuurwetenschappen
Genderstudies

Supervisor:
Domitilla Olivieri
May 31st, 2011

“Behind the Fair Façade”
Representations of Femininity in Three Walt Disney Animated Features

Bachelor thesis by Bethany Schouten, 3278972

Index
Introduction 3

Methodological and theoretical Framework 4

Corpus 9

The Research: SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS 11

The Research: THE LITTLE MERMAID 18

The Research: THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG 24

Findings and Interpretation 31

Identity Formation 35

Conclusion 38

Literature 41

Media 43
Introduction
The Walt Disney Company’s cultural products have been a great influence on popular culture since the 1930s and an inspiration for generations all over the world ever since. For many, including myself, the Princes, Princesses and fantastical creatures of Disney’s animated fairy tales have become symbols of their youth. Seeing the films gives rise to a feeling of nostalgia, they become a memento of one’s childhood world. But what kind of world is this? What kind of realities do Disney’s fantastical representations construct? In my thesis, I will analyze a specific element of Disney films: gender roles constructed through the representation of femininity in their animated features. I will study how this representation changes over time: has Disney’s highly criticized construction of gender roles changed over time, and if so, what realities do contemporary Disney discourses construct? I propose to research how femininity is represented in Walt Disney‘s animated features, how this representation changes over time and what kind of effects this has on the...

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