Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Gender roles in Disney, a surprising thought.

I was going to blog about Pactor's Chapel talk and how he regarded women and assumed all men that went to Wabash must play a certain gender role and be heterosexual... but something more fascinating happened as I was reading Felski. The girl that I have been seeing the past couple of months and I were talking about Disney movies. I brought up a few things in Felski (pp. 96-104) that regarded Disney movies and the view of gender and sex in those. I brought up Cinderella and the need for external forces to empower her to find happiness; a happiness that can only be found by marriage to a prince. She said that she had never seen the movie. My jaw, naturally, fell to the floor. As I scrambled to find my missing mandible, she told me the reasons why. Her father, who seems to be quite a quizzical figure, believed that the film had a devious moral. (Come on, Cinderella with an ulterior motive, right?) She told me that her father believed that little girls should not watch such films, especially Cinderella, because they messed up what he called "normal" gender roles. Cinderella, by being granted a wish by her fairy Godmother, was able to leave the home and seek out the excitement of the ballroom. In doing this, Cinderella forsakes her "womanly" duties of tending to the house chores. Thus, as she leaves her domestic sphere to venture out, albeit in masquerade, to the public and social sphere of a royal ball, she sloughs off her passive gender role for an active one in which she tries to find happiness.
Wow, that blew my mind. I mean, I see the typical passivity in her situation: pushed into adoption by step-mother, forced to do the housework by her step-sisters, only able to escape with the help of magical or unnatural external forces, bound even then by a set of rules, finding happiness only by riding off into the sunset with a Prince Charming to be married and live happily ever after; however, I did not see a reversal of gender roles at all. Cinderella, actually, is not just a passive character, but takes such an active role to leave the domestic sphere that it causes a father to not want his daughter to watch this movie in fear that she may do the same and become an "unnatural" type of woman.

Seriously, blew my mind.

No comments:

Post a Comment