How Messed Up Lessons From Disney Films Affect Us - URBANETTE: Lifestyle Magazine & Blog

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How Messed Up Lessons From Disney Films Affect Us

A startling look into the lessons embedded in Disney films.


This study didn’t just focus on how many words the characters said, but what was said as well. They analyzed compliments, and here we see a positive trend. During the Classics stage, the female characters received 55% of compliments based on their appearances and 11% based on their skills. In the New Age era, female characters are complimented on their appearance 22% of the time and on their skills 40% of the time.

With the most recent batch of Disney Princess movies, the dialogue trend has been reversed. Frozen, Brave, and Tangled have been more judicious about the speaking roles between the genders. This newest cycle features Princesses who are independent, talented, and are often the drivers of their own narratives. In fact, in a dramatic change of events from the earliest Princesses, these modern ones often save the men. In Frozen, the traditional love story is turned on its head when true love is revealed to be the love between sisters.

How Messed Up Lessons From Disney Films Affect Us

But Disney could still very well be f*cking us up. A major motif in the feminism of today is unrealistic body image, and Disney does very little to address this. Impossible body proportions in Disney Princesses, and this study found that the ratios of women’s bodies to men’s in modern Disney movies reinforce the sexist notion that women are beautiful only when they are impossibly thin, with delicate caucasian facial features.

Look, I don’t think we should lose our heads over Disney Princess films. After all, these films are meant to entertain and little more. That being said, children aren’t capable of understanding the potential effects it may have on their self-image and, clearly, internalize these sexist messages. So what’s the answer? As it often boils down to, being aware and educated, and voting with our dollars is really the best we can do.

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A writer, artist, and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she lives in Monte Carlo, but spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She's always traveling, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and life hacks to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 122 Comments

  1. Check out the Beast and the Beuty

  2. Patti Salazar

    I feel like Cinderella was the worst of all. What a freaking gold digger. But yeah, not to mention the prince of Sleeping Beauty who just kissed a princess who wasn’t even conscious. I wouldn’t have understood all of this if it wasn’t for this article. But I was thinking that maybe Disney didn’t intend to do this, mainly because they’re not really the author of these classic books. Removing the main details would have been a complete remake. So I guess they didn’t have a choice.

  3. Joan Taylor

    I don’t remember Disney being as stupid as this. Maybe we’re just overthinking?

  4. Delores Green

    I hate how they made Rapunzel dumb. I used to like her.

  5. Hilda Norris

    Oh please, just because they’re cartoons it doesn’t always mean it’s for kids. Plus, supervise your children so that they don’t end up watching something as stupid as this.

  6. Claudia Delgado

    Never liked old Disney anyways. I like the current Disney Princesses better. Elsa didn’t even need a prince.

  7. Monique Fleming

    I was probably a dumb kid back in the days because I didn’t even see the undertone of these Disney movies. I just thought that princess and prince’s were loving couples and that everyone in this world has their prince charming. The real message was lost in translation to me. Eitherway, I’m glad someone compiled this because I want this to serve as a lesson to a lot of people that even though they’re cartoons and that the show seems harmless, we might be putting across the wrong message.

  8. Angel Gray

    I didn’t even know that Snow White was 15 and she lived with 7 male dwarves!

  9. Anne Glover

    I think we’re overthinking this. It’s not that Disney is trying to portray women like that, but it’s from classic books that aren’t even originally from Disney.

  10. Terry Morgan

    All these disney characters messed up big time. I really wish the stories were better but those are classics.

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