Gender as represented through the Disney princess character of Cinderella had the female represented as weak. She was brought out as vulnerable and subservient. The domination by her elder siblings and the negative outlook displayed by the stepmother who treated her in a bad way, depict that the females were prone to mistreatment and discrimination (Maity 2). They could not offer a strong reaction or enhanced change to the circumstance. It offers a differentiated view especially considering the fairy side associated with the story. At the time, women were not considered on equal footing as their male counterparts. It is a wrong concept, especially considering the ability and natural enablement that the female gender posses. They are equally as strong and capable just like the males and therefore need recognition and acceptance. Such a mechanism offers a lower value even to young children growing up.
Cinderella was expected to help at their home on the domesticated gender roles that even other female members performed. Her godmother, stepmother, and biological mother were all expected to provide care and maintenance of the house as opposed to leadership and income generation activities like the male characters. On the other hand, their placing in terms of wealth and class was significantly lower. In comparison to the male characters and the prince, their roles were not offered much importance. Phillips (1) argues that the attributed means of discouraging the gender roles of women was negative to the girl child. Domestication, raising children and providing the society with continuity should have been praised and given impetus more than the male roles. It is because its not an easy role to play and deliver while at the same time prosper.
The female gender was alienated in terms of objectification due to their sexuality. Importance was based on their beauty as a contribution to the society through their abilities. In Cinderella, she was the envy of her stepsisters due to the jealous nature they had of her beauty. She was forced to do the hard labours in the house since the sexuality was profound as compared to any other (Maity 2). The display of sexuality was different from that of the male characters as they were famed for their natural strength and ability in provision. In the latter, they were considered more important. Society ought to change from disparaging views. Sexuality should be celebrated, as it is a natural occurrence while significance should be encouraged through the input towards solving of life’s problems and contribution to the society needs.
As per the portrayal in Cinderella, women were not famed for their ambitions and expectations out of life. The female character had to wait for a prince charming that could sweep her off her feet and marry her off. In this regards, her life would change from the domestication duties and hard labour that accompanied it. She could not master independence and ambition to get her own means of making it in life despite her abilities. On the other hand, the male characters were distinct in comparison as setting the standards on achievements within the society and capable of acquiring better status in life. The discrimination is wrong as and should not be encouraged as all humans are equal in the society, capable of making their own destinies and achieving success. Ulterior motives lie in the discrimination on societal expectations.
Apart from seeking personal empowerment and happiness, female stereotypes pointed at the male characters as having substantial influence in their achievements. In Cinderella, the female character depicted typical societal stereotypes as concerns expectations. Phillips (1) notes that she could not seek her own happiness and breakthrough in life without the awaited prince charming. Similarly, many examples used in the society offer encouragement to the female gender on acquiring marriage and support from the male members as fulfilment. Instead, society should offer a balanced outlook in life without stereotypes. Despite the natural weaknesses and strengths that vary from one individual to another, there is an equal opportunity for all members in achieving their fulfilments. Stereotypes are meant to downgrade and demean individuals without exacted reason. Majority of the stereotypes contain measures of maintain the status quo and increasing the level of disparity between the genders.
The construction of princess characters in the Disney films portrays female struggles as competition between the gender members. In Cinderella film, she was the subject of jealous between the siblings in the family. In addition, the mistreatment due to her beauty was also orchestrated by her stepmother. The tendency showed that the male characters had more unison and cooperation despite their competition to woo her into marriage. Differences between people in the society occur from a natural perspective due to opinions, backgrounds, beliefs, and upbringing. It is therefore wrong to depict the female gender as always being in competition with each other while the male counterparts lack the same. Instead, common ground should be advocated among people despite differences in race, gender, ethnicity, and class in order to increase unity among them, development, and cooperation.
Maity, Nandini. “Damsels in Distress: A textual Analysis of Gender Roles in Disney Princess Films.” IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science. 19. 10 (2014): 1-4. Print.
Phillips, Adam. “Gender Roles in the Cinderella Story.” The Guardian, 29 November 2008. Print.
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