Animated Misogyny: The Disney World of Gender

Bactista, Cheryl
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
Folk and fairy tales throughout history have served the purposes of alluding to the generally held beliefs within a culture and passing this belief system on to subsequent generations (Bottigheimer, 119). From the oral histories of pre-historic ages to the early writings of the ancient Chinese to the interpretations of the Brothers Grimm to the court tellings of Charles Perrault and beyond, the form and content of these tales has been adapted to reflect, reinforce and recreate the culture of the time. Likewise, critical interpretations have been applied to those writings by individuals in various disciplines who seek to gain insight into the development of these tales and their impact on the societies around them. In the latter part of this century, much of this criticism has centered around psychoanalytic theories with an emphasis on child development. From Spock to Erikson to Bettelheim, those concerned with the developing child have expounded on the possible impacts of folk and fairy tales on the young mind. Since the 1970s, with the re-emergence of the women's movement, feminists have begun to explore the implications of these works for young girls within the framework of a patriarchal society.
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