A majority of my childhood was centered on watching Disney movies and dreaming of one day becoming a princess. I think it’s safe to say that the Disney Corporation has a huge impact on kids growing up. They instill beliefs they value into children, and most people don’t realize just how much children are influenced. After taking this class on Disney, I have come to learn how big their impact is and how racist and gendered Disney actually is. As a child, I never noticed the blatant gendered stereotyping or white superiority. However, now that I am older, it is so obvious I cannot believe I missed them as a child. These tales that Disney is remaking have been around for many years, originating as oral tales. Did they change the original morals or plots of the tales? In this WordPress, I will be doing a thorough comparison between two classic Disney princess movies and their corresponding original versions: Cinderella, and the Little Mermaid. We often do not think anything of the Disney movies; instead we accept them as being accurate and entertaining. Little do we know that in actuality, the movies differ greatly from their originals. Throughout this blog, I will also discuss why Disney has chosen to alter these fairytales so greatly. Please enjoy!
We will start our analysis with Cinderella and the fairytale version by the Grimm Brothers. Firstly, we will take a look at the differing roles Cinderella’s family play.
The biggest difference between the stepsisters in each versions is the fact that in the movie they are ugly, and in the Grimm version, they are beautiful. They are portrayed as delicate and pretty, while in the movie it is clear they are not supposed to be pretty. They have squeaky voices, scrunched up faces and lanky bodies. Why make this difference? Perhaps Disney wanted to show that the only way you can get a prince is if you are beautiful. Or perhaps, Disney was trying to draw a parallel between ugliness and cruelty. In the original, the beautiful stepsisters have a greater role in making Cinderella’s life miserable. For example, they constantly throw lentils into the ashes so she has to pick them out individually and clean them. In this version, it is ok to be cruel yet pretty at the same time. However, in the Disney version, the stepsisters merely mock Cinderella and deride her with their words, and, as mentioned earlier, they are ugly. I strongly believe that Disney is trying to say that you cannot be pretty and mean at the same time. They altered the looks of the stepsisters to visually show that ugliness and cruelty go hand in hand. What is this telling the youth? That kids who are ugly are mean? Or that people who are pretty are automatically assumed to be nice and gracious?