feminist fail

Last year, I saw the Disney movie "Cinderella" for the first time in what must have been ten or fifteen years. And what I remembered most about that experience was, next to the nostalgia attached to all the songs (especially since I was watching it with a group of international students and everyone started singing the songs in their own language), the fact that "Cinderella" sends so many mixed gender messages! Watching it all these years later, as an adult (and fully aware of feminist issues, thanks to some bad experiences and a lot of gender/women’s studies work done at the university), was quite a shock. Cinderella is a very passive character, without any agency at all. First, she’s rescued by her fairy godmother (thank God fairy godfathers don’t exist or Disney might have put that in!), then the mice and other animals help, and finally, the prince rescues her once and for all. While watching, I wanted to shout at the screen and make Cinderella stop crying and start acting in her own interests.

One of my favorite (YA) books is Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine. It’s based on the Cinderella story, but Ella has so much more agency (not to mention fun) that I prefer Levine’s version to the Disney one. I’ll have to go read the original Grimm story to see how Cinderella fares there…

Anyway, this was a very roundabout introduction to the following image, taken off the Feministing website.

Here’s the original post, with a few sentences on more recent Disney movies: the characters might have gotten more diverse, but the sexism has remained the same.


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