Essentialized Females Animated: A Feminist Analysis of Visual Pleasure of Two Disney Heroines

Dr. Colleen Garside
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Disney has been criticized for its continuous representation of essentialized females in patriarchal structures. This paper provides a feminist analysis of two Disney heroines, namely Snow White and Pocahontas, using Mulvey's theoretical perspectives of visual pleasure and the cinema. It also includes thematic comments from a written survey of 178 third and sixth grade students talking about their favorite Disney heroine. Findings suggest that although contemporary Disney narratives attempt to take a more feminist approach in presenting assertive images of women, Disney heroines continue to be objectified, sexualized, and commodified through their visual images even though their actions may imply otherwise.

Keywords: Mulvey's Theory of Visual Pleasure, Feminist, Essentialization of Women, Disney
Stream: Media, Film Studies, Theatre, Communication
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Essentialized Females Animated

Dr. Colleen Garside

Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, Weber State University

Colleen Garside (Ph.D. University of Utah, 2004) is an assistant professor of communication at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, USA. She has been teaching for 19 years, during which time she has been affiliated with the International Communication Association (ICA), the National Communication Association (NCA, The Western States Communication Association (WSCA) and the Central States Communication Association (CSCA). She is currently a partner with the NCA service learning initiative, Communicating Common Ground. She was the chair of the instructional development division for WSCA and chair of the WSCA Master Teacher Selection Committee. At Weber State, Colleen is the basic course director and has been selected as a finalist for Master Teacher of the Year three times. Her research has been published in Communication Education. Her research interests include communication across the curriculum, service learning, feminist studies, instructional, interpersonal and intercultural communication.

Ref: H05P0526