Gender Role Portrayal and the Disney Princesses

Abstract

The popular Disney Princess line includes nine films (e.g., Snow White, Beauty and the Beast) and over 25,000 marketable products. Gender role depictions of the prince and princess characters were examined with a focus on their behavioral characteristics and climactic outcomes in the films. Results suggest that the prince and princess characters differ in their portrayal of traditionally masculine and feminine characteristics, these gender role portrayals are complex, and trends towards egalitarian gender roles are not linear over time. Content coding analyses demonstrate that all of the movies portray some stereotypical representations of gender, including the most recent film, The Princess and the Frog. Although both the male and female roles have changed over time in the Disney Princess line, the male characters exhibit more androgyny throughout and less change in their gender role portrayals.

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Acknowledgement

The first author would like to thank Dr. Carol Martin, Dr. Anita Garey, Dr. Lynne Goodstein, and Dr. Natalie Eggum. Funding for this project was provided by the University of Connecticut.

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Correspondence to Dawn Elizabeth England.

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England, D.E., Descartes, L. & Collier-Meek, M.A. Gender Role Portrayal and the Disney Princesses. Sex Roles 64, 555–567 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-011-9930-7

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Keywords

  • Children
  • Disney
  • Film
  • Gender
  • Gender role