assignment is analyze an animated Disney (or Pixar, etc.) character for the gendered messages that are being conveyed.

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You may not realize it, but “Disneyfication” is a word.It refers to the transformation of cultural phenomena to resemble the images promoted by Disney films and theme parks.As the materials for this week have shown, these images can frame our understanding of gender and gender roles.So given this, a careful examination of the images that Disney offers to American society (and increasingly the global community) can help us better understand an important cultural influence on how gender proceeds in our imagination and in our interactions.Your assignment is analyze an animated Disney (or Pixar, etc.) character for the gendered messages that are being conveyed.

The Assignment.Select an animated character from a Disney film (or a similar film studio) – this can be a hero, a villain, or a secondary (but still important) character – and provide a detailed discussion about how the character presents a gender strategy and what might be the message that children take from that presentation.


Detailing the Character’s Gender Strategy.The first part of your analysis should focus on how the character presents their gender – what kind of strengths and capacities does the character present? what kinds of weaknesses? how do they interact with people of the same gender and with people of a different gender?how does their body convey a sense of gender beyond the biological?

Example:I thought I might look at Ursula from “The Little Mermaid” (Disney 1989) as an example.She is clearly a female character, and we see many of the typical markers of femininity:her make-up includes lipstick and eyeshadow, she wears a necklace with a large pendant, earrings, her outfit resembles a strapless dress.She shows a few markers of being an upper-class woman in that her hair looks modern (for the 1980s); she seems to be in a formal dress with jewelry; and she has long, painted fingernails that I often association with people who have the money for a manicurist.She does offer a few masculine traits that overall provide an element of androgyny.Her hair is short, though still in a style that could be identified as for a woman.She also departs from many of typically feminine characters in Disney in that she full-bodied, older than the norm.[I could write for quite a bit longer and elaborate on the gender expression, but I think I’ve provided enough to serve as an example.]

Setting the Character into the Narrative.It matters whether our character is framed as a hero or villain or comedic side-character, wise sage, etc.The characteristics of a hero are praiseworthy, of a villain are scornful, and of other characters falling somewhere between.Identifying the gender message from the film requires understanding if the narrative sets the character up as a model to be emulated or reviled.

Example:Ursula is a villain.She offers a Faustian bargain with the main character, a young girl who risks giving up her voice in order to pursue the love of a man.Beyond this, when it seems as though Ariel may actually be able to win her love’s heart and retain her voice, Ursula deliberately intervenes against Ariel.Without Ursula, there is no plot (as she sets the adventure in motion with her bargain) and there is no tension (as we realize that Ariel may lose her voice forever to a cruel woman with a greater concern for acquisition than true love).She is clearly an antagonist in the film and not meant to represent a character worth modeling good behavior upon.[Again, I could write so much more, but this will suffice here.]

Gendered Message.And the final element of your paper should articulate precisely what you think the gender message is:what lesson about gender might a child take away from this film?how does this message frame out the importance or irrelevance of hypermasculinity and hyperfemininity?does the character reinforce the feminine apologetic or challenge it?For this section, look back into the readings for this week, and use some of the concepts that Wade and Ferree offer to help with your analysis of the gendered messages conveyed by your character.

Example:Given that Ursula is a reproachable character, we are meant to read her gender portrayal as something equally reproachable.Her masculinist traits (ambition, power, calculation) are deemed the source of her evil.Likewise, there are elements of her feminine gender portrayal that can be read as wrong.She is, for example, a full-bodied woman in a film medium that valorizes thin, hourglass-shaped heroines, making her easily seen as an outcast from the first glimpse we get of her in the film.Intersectional elements are further used to cleave her from a desirable feminine image:she stands out in being an older woman (note the silver hair), and her upper-class affect diverges from the princess-type of wealth to that of a successful business woman with a preference for modern styles.[I could argue many more points and further elaborate on the ones here – I think I could write a whole paragraph on how Ursula rejects the feminine apologetic – but in order to close down this example, I’ll conclude with…]The gendered message that we get from Ursula is twofold:first, do not diverge from the young, thin image of the female body as this represents badness, and second, do not have any other ambitions than to seek a man.

In the end, I’d like to read a 1200-word (at least) discussion detailing of the gender messages presented by an animated character.

Parameters.Please following the following guidelines.Before turning in your work, please edit your paper for proper punctuation, grammar, spelling and usage.

. length 1200 words minimum;please include the word count at the end of your essay

. text format single-spaced block format (no paragraph indents but with a line of empty text between paragraphs)

file format PDF format

Saving your work as a PDF is easy.For Microsoft Word users, just select “save as” and then change the format type to PDF;for Apple Pages users, select “export to” and then choose PDF.

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