Disney's Fairytales: Breaking the Spell of Gender Stereotypes - Essay Sample

Paper Type: 
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  638 Words
Date:  2023-08-12


Artists use art to portray and express their feeling about the inequalities present in society they live in. However, according to Zipes, Disney uses the platform for his gain instead of portraying the political and social atmosphere around him. In “Breaking the Spell” by Zipes, gender stereotypes and modification of the fairy tales are involved to suit the American narrative. The analysis focuses on discussing Zipes' view of Disney's method of incorporating fairytales and how gender stereotyping gets portrayed in the cinemas.

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The seven dwarfs and the snow-white used by Disney was his personal background story, which in real sense signified the long depression period Americans faced in 1930. In the story, the seven dwarfs get portrayed as rich miners and hardworking, which according to Zipes ‘’the seven dwarfs and the snow-white were to do the work like the spadework, while the glorified prince was to come along and carry away the prize." (Zipes 29). Disney portrays women as being heroines, but in a real sense, he is trying to state that they are helpless beings whose aspiration is to get their prince who will guarantee their safety. It gets demonstrated in the fact that despite their charm and glowing beauty, they are the most pathetic and pale figures of all characters.

Male characters instead are portrayed to be demonic and very active, which portrays each gender role in society. In society, men are to provide for the needs of the family as women stay doing housekeeping chores. In Disney cinemas, women get omitted in action times to show they are fragile individuals (Zipes 35). The seven dwarfs went working as the snow-white remained to take care of the house. It depicted what the American women were in the mid and early 1900s (Zipes 35). He indeed exploited female gender stereotypes while applying the innocence of the Americans.

When it comes to matters with incorporating fairy tales in cinemas, Zipes feels that Disney has contradicted the followed method by many writers. Fairy tales got used to describe the experience to the audience by relieving the conflicts within the society. Their primary purpose was to display opposition or obtain a sense of society in a tribe. A message got always passed to the audience. Zipes argued that Disney's goal was for self-gain and failed to follow what other writers did (Zipes 40). Disney used loud sounds, bright colors, and elaborated images to manipulate his audience. He was unable to pass the message as it was on the ground.

The story of the seven dwarfs and the snow-white got modified to suit the narrative of the Americans of that time. The cinemas also had recurring archetypal characters, which were straightforward, and the storylines were very predictable, giving the audience no opportunity to analyze or reflect critically. According to Zipes, Grimm and Perrault were the writers who brought out the intended purpose of fairytales (Zipes 42). Disney manipulated the innocence of the Americans by using technology and images that reinforced stereotypes of women. The viewers could not think beyond the images since their appearance so blinded them. The unique use of animations in his cinemas made his work so famous, and people preferred viewing his productions to other writers.


From the above illustrations, it is evident that Disney's cinemas get majorly incorporated with gender stereotypes. Females get viewed as helpless beings whose primary work is to stay at home and take care of the family needs. However, his choice of eye-catching moments and objects carry away the viewer's attention, such that they are unable to see beyond the images. According to Zipes, Disney manipulates the literally form of applying fairytales in his cinemas.


Zipes, Jack. "Breaking the Disney spell." From mouse to mermaid: The politics of film, gender, and culture (1995): 21-42. https://jtbarbarese.camden.rutgers.edu/files/2013/05/Zipes_Breaking-the-Disney-Spell.pdf

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Disney's Fairytales: Breaking the Spell of Gender Stereotypes - Essay Sample. (2023, Aug 12). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/disneys-fairytales-breaking-the-spell-of-gender-stereotypes-essay-sample

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