It of what is considered ‘beautiful’. They

It seems harmless fun when we see little
girls joyously prance around in a costume version of the iconic ball gown of
their favourite Princess, but in fact these characters are shaping the
identities of younger generations and introducing repressing concepts such as
gender roles, patriarchy, beauty standards, insecurities and
self-consciousness. In Disney films women tend to be defined
as either the perfect princess (waiting to be saved and married) or a villain
(labelled so due to their appearance, age and lack of husband). There is no
question that attractiveness is the key ingredient in both Disney heroes and
heroines. These characters are idolized by millions of children with many little
girls dreaming about becoming their favourite Princess, and with each Princess
displaying the typical Westernized standard of beauty – petite waists, pretty
faces, dainty features, big eyes, long hair – children are presented with a
very narrow-minded and limited view of what is considered ‘beautiful’. They are
forced to believe that to get their happy ending they must fit the image on
screen. Consequently, if they don’t, that leads to questions such as ‘why is my
hair not as beautiful as Rapunzels?’, ‘why doesn’t my tummy look like Ariels?’
and thus begins a life of comparison, insecurity and self-doubt.

Up until The Little Mermaid, all of the female
protagonists were bland and defined entirely by exterior beauty. Immediate assumptions about Snow White are made the moment she appears
on screen. Her pale skin represents her purity, her large eyes and rosy lips
embody femininity. The audience is informed of her angelic nature through her
appearance alone and sympathy is gained without her actually displaying any
personality. The movie begins with Snow White singing “I’m wishing for the one
I love, to find me, today” as she stares at her reflection the water.  Coincidentally,
Prince Charming hears her song, takes one look at her and begins singing that
her love possesses him. Her beauty alone is the driving force of this “love”, suggesting
that the essential ingredient in finding your ‘true love’ is to embody the
beauty standard set out by men. The Evil Queen reinforces the importance of
beauty in a womans happiness by wishing for Snow Whites death upon the news
that Snow White is considered more beautiful than she. Redefining herself as ‘the fairest of
them all’ literally becomes a matter of life and death, which introduces the
poisonous concept of envying another person appearance.

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