From princes to paupers: the progression in representations of masculinity in Disney's feature length animations.
(2016) From princes to paupers: the progression in representations of masculinity in Disney's feature length animations., no. 39.
Introduction: The battle of the sexes seems to have existed for as long as humanity itself. Gender equality and representation have been discussed, theorised and fought for increasingly passionately over the years; however until recently, this conversation has deliberated almost exclusively on the topic of women. Feminism and female rights movements have been on-going since the first victory in the suffragette's appeal for women's rights to vote in the late 1800s, developments being identifiable in film in elements such as progressingly independent female characters. Texts such as television programmes, film productions and novels are immensely influenced by society and its ideals at the time of their production, and thus since the values and opinions held by society change over time, so too does the content we consume and are exposed to through books, television and cinema. Therefore, the progression and rise of feminism and women's fight for gender equality in society is perceivable in analysing films from over the years. This being a well known fact, it can then be stated that in looking at ideas around feminism, subsequent theories can thus be constructed on the basis of this topics strong relationship with the subjects of men and masculinity. By entering into discussions around women and feminism, we implicitly enter into conversation about the relationship between women and men and gender dynamics. The lesser explored notion of masculinity's evolution can be addressed in the same manner as feminism despite the lack of previous academic work surrounding it. In taking this angle of study, several questions can be raised to discuss the topic of masculinity. How is men's progression depicted on screen and throughout filmic history? And what can be deduced by chronologically studying film with this intent in mind? With the objective of answering such questions, this thesis will home in on particular films from significant points in history in order to come to a well rounded conclusion on the subject. Using this approach, the study of films from the same franchise are compatible with this type of comparison as we can see the changes and progressions more clearly. As a male led investigative counterpart to a highly theorised female based topic, this thesis will utilize the films of Disney's animated Princess franchise and its male heroes in evaluating the progression of masculine representation in film over time. Due to the nature of Disney's Princess animations in their very female centred marketing and content they are often discussed on this basis alone, however despite their female led focus they subsequently say a great deal about gender more completely, raising questions on the topics of the relationships between women and men and on issues of masculinity as a whole.