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Snow White vs the Little Mermaid

  • Date Submitted: 12/13/2013 09:29 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 65.5 
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Snow White vs. the Little Mermaid

In the late 1900’s, the gender and family roles were slightly different than they were earlier in the century, but some roles remained the same. Examples of these are shown in the Disney movies Snow White and the Little Mermaid.

      In Snow White, made in 1937, the characters’ gender roles display what was normal in society. For example, the dwarfs went and worked as miners, supporting the fact that men were the ones who were supposed to go out into the work force, which was the norm at this time. In the beginning, the queen made Snow White work as a maid, so, naturally, once she arrived at the dwarfs’ home, she began cooking and cleaning and doing everything that was necessary in the house. Also, she was particular about their hygiene, insisting that they go and wash themselves when she saw their dirty hands. She treated them as if they were her sons.

Although not necessarily exhibited in the same way as Snow White, the Little Mermaid also showed family and gender roles. To begin with, the idea of patriarchy is visible at the start of the movie with Ariel’s father, King Triton, as the ruler of the ocean. In this film, I saw that the “housewife” image wasn’t as predominant as it was earlier in the century with Snow White. One example of this was the fact that rather than a woman doing everything in the house, the prince’s chef was a man.

      In the song “Poor Unfortunate Souls” that Ursula sang to Ariel, she expresses that nothing matters except her physical beauty. Her words were “You have your looks, your pretty face, and don’t underestimate the importance of body language,” stating that as long as she is beautiful, she’ll be fine.

I also noticed some roles that were present in both films. The first thing I observed was that they both present the stereotype that a woman’s only real aspiration in life should be to find her true love. It’s most obvious in the Little Mermaid when Ariel was willing to give up...

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