WHAT ARE THE REPRESENTATIONS OF FEMALE DISNEY VILLAINS REGARDING GENDER AND BODY IMAGE. FOCUSSING ON URSULA, MALEFICENT AND MOTHER GOTHEL
This dissertation examines the body image and gender of three female Disney villains to uncover Disney’s representation of female villains. The Disney corporation has been the leader in the American animation industry since 1923 and is most famous for its take on classic fairy tales. As each film and character portrays messages regarding social and political issues, it is important to analyse these characters to discover what they are teaching children. Uncovering the representation of the ‘bad’ characters is just as important as uncovering the representation of the ‘good’ characters as this is what teaches children to define good from bad. A review of important literature surrounding this topic is provided. An analysis of the appearances, body type and levels of femininity of Ursula (The Little Mermaid), Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty) and Mother Gothel (Tangled) is also provided, along with a breakdown of how they individually fit the evil woman stereotype as sexualised middle-aged women. This study concludes that the message they convey to an audience remains ambivalent. Some aspects of the female villains have changed over time such as the representation of body image, but some have remained questionable such as the representation of aging women. Thus, concluding that Disney is trying to adapt its representations of female villains to fit contemporary issues such as feminism, but still has levels of misogyny in its stereotypes.