Saturday 13 May 2023

Disney Movies, Gender Stereotypes, and a Mongolian Sample

In a survey carried out in 2020 at the National University of Mongolia, 500 Mongolian people aged 18 to 33 were asked questions to see how Disney films influenced "the personal view of modern nomads on images of gender". One of the questions was how Elsa (main character of Frozen) can turn her life into a perfect one. About 60% answered that Elsa would have to find true love, 33% thought a new adventure and challenges would be the right choice and 8.3% said that Elsa would need to govern her kingdom and make progress as a queen. 

According to the answers of the people, females’ stereotyped desire is to find true love and happy marriage disregarding individual’s talent and capacity. Disney films may have shown that the solution for young females to overcome difficulties is in finding a man as her protector. Seemingly, most of the Disney films such as the fairy-tales illustrated that the one and only aspiration and dream for females is finding a perfect man to marry. And for this, a feminine personality and attractive physical features (more often than not represented by White women) are conducive.

Another question regarded The Little Mermaid and its character Ursula. Almost 60% said they found her appearance unpleasant, 16.7% thought she was "super ugly". 74.8% agreed that her appearance made her more hateful. 

Different shapes and sizes of female roles in films maybe dedicated to highlight the contrast between evil and good by their looks. While Ariel is small, thin, and white, in contrast, Ursula is overweight, bigger, and purple. Thus, their appearances could express radical differences between the characterisation of Ariel and Ursula to the audience. Accordingly, Disney films may have been giving the message that unpleasant appearance is equal to an unpleasant personality thus reconfirming the existing stereotypes around the constructs of perfect beauty and body image. (Tergel Bold Erdene)

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photograph (Darhad Valley Nomadic Family by Jun Hwan Sung) via

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