Good Girls and Wicked Witches: Women in Disney's Feature Animation

Good Girls and Wicked Witches: Women in Disney's Feature Animation

Good Girls and Wicked Witches: Women in Disney's Feature Animation

Good Girls and Wicked Witches: Women in Disney's Feature Animation

Synopsis

In Good Girls and Wicked Witches, Amy M. Davis re-examines the notion that Disney heroines are rewarded for passivity. Davis proceeds from the assumption that, in their representations of femininity, Disney films both reflected and helped shape the attitudes of the wider society, both at the time of their first release and subsequently. Analyzing the construction of (mainly human) female characters in the animated films of the Walt Disney Studio between 1937 and 2001, she attempts to establish the extent to which these characterizations were shaped by wider popular stereotypes. Davis argues that it is within the most constructed of all moving images of the female form--the heroine of the animated film--that the most telling aspects of Woman as the subject of Hollywood iconography and cultural ideas of American womanhood are to be found.

Excerpt

The subject of women and how they were regarded over the course of the modern era is not by any means new. Writers, feminists, anti-feminists, politicians, political commentators, psychologists, journalists, celebrities, housewives, students, historians, and many others have written on this subject in varying degrees of depth and seriousness. But in the twentieth century, as a mainly printbased culture gave way to one which, at the start of the twenty-first century, is primarily image- and media-based, it was the way these physical/cultural/social expectations were tied together with and within the medium of film, and disseminated in the person of the “actress” (be she a live woman or a drawing), which became important. It is with the images of women in popular culture that all of the aspects of American society’s changing attitudes towards women were mapped.

This book analyses the construction of (mainly human) female characters in the animated films of the Walt Disney Studio between 1937 and 2004. It is based on the assumption that, in their representations of femininity, Disney films reflected the attitudes of the wider society from which they emerged, and that their enduring popularity is evidence that the depictions they contain would continue to resonate as the films were re-released in later decades. It attempts to establish the extent to which these characterisations were shaped by wider popular stereotypes by putting the films into the context of Hollywood films from the era in which these Disney films were made. Moreover, because of the nature of the animated film – because it is a unique combination of printed popular culture (as in drawings done for . . .

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