Articles & Editorial:
‘Dream Big, Princess’: Identity, gender, power and nostalgia in twenty-first century Disney culture
Authors: Linda Beail
Page Start: 87
Conforming beasts and compliant princesses: A radical appraisal of Disney’s 1990s Americana rhetoric
Authors: Samantha Seybold And Massimo Rondolino
Page Start: 95
This article provides a systematic analysis of the Disney Renaissance films’ narrative tropes as a way to discern the particular social world they collectively depict and promote. Taking these popular cinematic productions as expressions of their authors’ and artistic creators’ world views, it argues that they all effectively legitimize a particular American ethos conventionally and frequently equated with the ‘happy ever after’ life ideal of the United States’ white, Christian middle and upper classes of the post-World War II era. Ultimately, based on the textual analysis of these films, the article urges us to consider the cultural and social implications of these narratives, particularly in light of their global distribution and the narrow world view they promote and legitimize.
What does a prince do?: Postfeminist girlhood and boyhood in Disney Junior cartoons
Authors: Kelli McCoy
Page Start: 111
The Disney Junior television network provides 24-hour-a-day programming aimed at preschool-aged children. Its popular animated series depict female characters in ways that are stronger than ever before. The girls are brave, heroic, adventurous, and are the moral anchors for the shows. However, their efforts are undermined by many of the male characters, who tend to represent stereotypical tropes of masculinity, including the braggart, the buffoon and the reckless younger brother. Therefore, these programmes are representative of a postfeminist and neoliberal culture, in which girls are expected to do more than boys in order to be successful, while boys take risks with few negative consequences.
‘Better in stereo’: Doubled and divided representations of postfeminist girlhood on the Disney Channel
Authors: Linda Beail And Lindsey Lupo And Caroline Beail
Page Start: 125
Disney’s cable channel has global reach and the highest audience share among 9–14 year olds, demonstrating its powerful influence in constructing narratives for young citizens. It has produced several films and television shows aimed at tween girls, which embody the paradoxes and ‘double entanglements’ of postfeminism discussed by Angela McRobbie. These representations demonstrate many postfeminist characteristics, such as a focus on girls’ empowerment and neoliberal agency; temporal anxiety and time travel; commodification of racial difference; affluence and consumerism; the assumption of gender equality, even as its achievement makes it politically irrelevant; and femininity/romance as girls’ free and natural choice. This paper examines current Disney Channel hits such as Liv and Maddie, Girl Meets World, K.C. Undercover, Teen Beach Movie and Teen Beach 2. The doubling of female identity – following the Hannah Montana pattern of a double life, and replicated in K.C. Undercover and the Teen Beach movies by creating past/present dyads of characters from the 1960s/1970s and the present day – creates the opportunity to represent contrasting ideas of femininity and feminist history, engaging a politics of nostalgia that erases feminism as a political movement, while reaffirming a neoliberal notion of postfeminist girlhood.
My little princess: Exploring mothers’ experiences of their daughter’s parasocial relationships with Disney princesses
Authors: Melissa J. Newman
Page Start: 141
The proliferation of the Disney Princess line of media and products has been a pervasive part of American culture for several decades. In this study, mothers of young girls were interviewed to better understand how they restrict their children’s parasocial relationships (PSR) with Disney princesses as a result of their peer reference group influence. Results suggest that mothers were cautious of too much Disney Princess media consumption by their young girls but they did not go to extreme measures to prevent them from having a PSR with a Disney Princess character. Although some mothers felt the pressure of social comparison most were primarily concerned with their daughter’s healthy social development and representation of good role models in the princess-related movies and products.