Disney

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					If it's one thing that makes Disney so magical, it's   their princesses.
There are now 10 princesses, who you could argue are   ambassadors for
Disney, each with their own personality and look. It   all began with Snow
White and over the decades we've met more princesses   starring in their
own roles, but they haven't always been the same.

We've seen the role of princesses' change quite dramatically, which is a
reflection of how society sees women as a whole. If we analyse the movies
further we can see why this is the case.

Disney Golden Age

In 1937, we saw Disney's first fully animated feature film, Snow White
and the seven dwarfs. Serving as the evil queen's maid, she lives a
fairly menial existence, until she escapes the kingdom and stumbles
across the dwarf's home. However, she is still not safe from the evil
queen's plans and it takes a prince to come to the rescue.

Following this we have Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, who both become
victims of an evil villain and also require being saved by a prince.
There seems to be a trend here. The princesses at this time were seen as
helpless victims who needed to be saved. For the time, society saw this
as normal. Unfortunately, women were not given the same equal rights as
men, as they do today and this was in a way, reflected in the movies.

Each princess was resigned to house-keeping tasks and were perceived as
having very little ambition, but this was all about to change following
the Disney Renaissance.

Disney's Renaissance

After the turbulent few years after Disney's Golden Age, the movie studio
made a comeback in 1989 with the release of The Little Mermaid. Perhaps
one of the most popular princesses, Ariel was a character with ambition
and dreams. No longer was the Disney princess seen as a victim of an evil
captor.

Ariel was indeed ambitious and would seek out her goal through any means
necessary, even if it did mean she had to sacrifice her voice along the
way. However, she still needed a prince to save her at the end of the
day.

This became slightly more ambiguous with the later Disney films that
followed during the renaissance. Mulan didn't require a prince to save
her and she ended up defeating the bad guys by herself. Pocahontas seemed
to be caught up in between a conflict and some could argue that she
actually saved John Smith.

The Second Renaissance

The rumours of Disney's Second Renaissance are becoming true. Disney had
another turbulent time towards the end of the 90's and start of the
2000's. With this comes a change in how we see the princesses again. This
time they are far more ambitious, standing alone against odds to achieve
their dreams. Tiana wanted to build her own restaurant and Rapunzel
wanted to escape the tower and see the world. Both ultimately achieved
want the wanted to do with very little outside help.

Not only this, but we are seeing a complete role-reversal as the princes
are now the victims! The cursed frog and the wanted thief from The
Princess and the Frog and Tangled now need the help from the princess to
save them.

We are now seeing women as strong individuals who are capable of
achieving their own goals, a far cry from the Disney films of the 1930's
and 40's. This echoes how media echoes what we see in society. But let's
not forget what these movies are really about and the true message which
has developed with Disney's story telling.

The stories told by Disney have moved away from the fairy-tales and focus
more on reaching our dreams. You would be able to notice this whenever
you visit the parks such as Walt Disney World or Disneyland.
Inspirational messages are plastered everywhere encouraging you to follow
your dreams and if you wish it and work hard enough, they will come true.

This is ultimately what Disney has become and the princesses' act as a
story telling device for this. We can always expect this from Disney now;
with the only thing changing is how we act as a society which will affect
how the stories play out.

				
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posted:8/26/2012
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