Over the years, especially in the 1950’s, women were seen as graceful objects that should nurture, clean, and cook for men. Mass culture throughout that time did not help by advertising to reflect the sexist gender roles in society.
In the original Disney classic, Sleeping Beauty, Aurora dances around the woods singing with her perfect blonde hair swaying with every step. A perfect prince just happens to show up and she falls in love and refuses to be with anyone else, despite only knowing him for ten minutes. He saves her, they get married, and they live happily ever after. In the new movie, Maleficent, the same boy goes in for the true loves kiss and it did not wake her up. Maleficent ended up waking her up with her own kiss of love.
It showed that boys are not needed to solve everything. With Disney movies being created today, many show that women can achieve things on their own, altering the cultural view of a women’s role in society.
What other Disney movies show this cultural change of Disney roles? How does this affect young girls growing up?
Masculinity is a hegemonic idea that men look upon to become more dominant in society. Men in America are raised with the idea that they have to be a more dominant figure by being strong and protective with bigger muscles and little emotion.
In the song, “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from the movie Mulan, the lyrics outline exactly what is idealized in a man such as being “swift as a coursing river” or having “the strength of a raging fire.” The video showed that only the manliest of men were suited for war and anyone feminine would be excluded. Mulan proved her “manliness” by showing her strength and determination by retrieving the arrow that was on top of a pillar.
As children grow up, social situations play an important role in gender identification. Through consent and coercion, boys strive to become the strong independent men in commercials or magazines. They believe by being able to carry heavy weights on a stick, they’ll be seen as more of a man. By associating with the color blue rather than pink, their dominance is proven.
What other ways is hegemonic masculinity portrayed in the American society? Do you believe the expectations for being a “real” man will ever change?