Early in the semester, I found a strong connection to the fairy tales we read that have been remade as a Disney classic. Originally, my argument followed in suit with many scholars that have argued that Walt Disney perpetuated a chauvinistic and patriarchal ideal that featured women who ultimately were at the mercy of the men in their life. This has been evident in these films through the lack of a maternal figure, the only adult women are typically evil and violent, the father figure always transfers control to the husband at the end of the film, and it is always Prince Charming that rescues the princess from a near death experience. As a woman, I obviously find this problematic because it instills into the minds of young girls everywhere that our happiness is dependent on a man. While I do not consider myself an outright feminist, I would imagine many other women would find this notion not only discriminatory but also a continuation of many current ideologies that women are nothing without the help from a man. After proposing my initial thoughts of this, I quickly realized that many people have also found these truths to be evident and there was no clear original argument that I was making, so I have since changed the focus of my paper.
Rather than necessarily chastising Disney, I decided to figure out and understand why he chose this way to market a majority of his corporation. When I looked back on the original fairy tales of Snow White, Rapunzel, the Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast I noticed incredible amounts of sex and violence that were heavily interspersed throughout the entirety of the story, some of which certainly did not seem suitable for children. Then as I began re-watching the Disney movies regarding these stories, I noticed that while Disney may have harped on the patriarchal dominance of a man, he also desexualized and took out a lot of the violence that shrouded the original tales, which made them more accessible for children. In the original Rapunzel, she is not only described as hoisting up the prince to the tower with her long hair for presumably sexual encounters, the story also features pregnancy out of wedlock, which is hardly the story I would want my child to read. Ironically, these parts of the story did not seem to make the Disney movie Tangled. Furthermore, Disney took out a lot of the violence that is featured in the original stories of Snow White, Ariel, and Belle and instead, he created a more romantic story line in order to cast a cloak of innocence on the movies to make them more affable for children. Through further research it can be adequately argued and demonstrated that while Disney may not be revered in the Women’s Studies department in Ustler Hall, his ability to make subversive tales into a more child friendly story have certainly prevailed and allowed him to remain as the leading force in children’s entertainment today.