Susan Douglas examines how the media and popular culture convey conflicting ideas of what is right for a woman in America. She explains the contradicting messages of the strong, free, independent and defiant women and the ditsy, thin, commercial women in the 1960’s.
In today’s media and popular culture, we still see similar contradictions. Many young children growing up idolize their favorite Disney princesses and, to their credit, many of these princesses are strong, independent women who don’t need no man. However, as this Buzz Feed post highlights, animators draw these women with unnaturally small waists, conveying the idea to young children that you can only be a beautiful yet strong woman if you are equally unnaturally thin. The alterations of each character demonstrate that these princesses can still inspire children without causing such an issue with self-esteem and body image.
For years, Disney has tried to produce progressive characters and stories that represent the world’s diversity. I wonder if Disney will soon create a princess or protagonist with an average body who is conveyed as just as strong yet beautiful as the other princesses like her. It would also be interesting to see how that manifests in the lives of young children and how they view themselves.