Repository logo

Walt Disney's true lo$v$e: tales of dizzying misogyny

Faculty Advisor




class values, sex roles, fairy tales, Walt Disney

Abstract (summary)

Marlene Wurfel used feminist textual analysis to deconstruct Disney princesses from Snow White to Pocahontas. Historical context for the fairy tale genre and the transition from an oral tradition to a film tradition was examined using critical discourse analysis. How a European folk tradition was reproduced and appropriated by Disney for American audiences in order to inculcate young minds with white, patriarchal class values was critically examined. The Disney formula for “true love” as synonymous with female self-abnegation, meekness, purity, and whiteness and resulting in an always financially rewarding marriage of a “natural” princess to a rich prince was exposed in Cinderella and The Little Mermaid. Aladdin, Pocahontas, The Lion King, and 20th Century Fox’s Anastasia are critically examined for evidence of how systemic class oppression and privilege are coded as being part of a natural law. The importance of fairytales to pre-modern, modern and post-modern children in communicating values, asserting sex roles, and rewarding certain behavioral patterns while punishing others was critically argued. The author asserted that fairytales, while often dismissed as unimportant or merely entertaining, are produced to educate, inform, and indoctrinate children with culturally specific belief systems.

Publication Information

Wurfel, Marlene. "Walt Disney's true lo$v$e: tales of dizzying misogyny." Z Magazine, June 1999, pp. 48-50.



Item Type





All Rights Reserved