Are you a girl?
Then you better be a princess or a villain, or you cannot take part in our cartoon movie.
Ariel from The Little Mermaid, Jasmine from Aladdin, Belle from Beauty and the Beast, Tiana from The Princess and the Frog and even Elsa and Anna from Frozen all have one thing in common: they don’t have a mother. The absence of female adult influence is spread out in Disney movies, and little spectators cannot find mature models to follow. Have you ever wondered why Disney Princesses are all motherless?
It can possibly have something to do with Walt Disney’s own mother loss. But this no-moms-allowed rule is still working nowadays. Why? Furthermore, why do not they have friends who are girls to talk about with? For good or for bad, villains are usually female characters. So basically, girls and women in cartoon movies are enemies or envy each other’s beauty. Princess friends are normally male characters, and if they happen to have sisters they don’t really interact with them (for example, did you remember that Ariel from the Little Mermaid is one of seven sisters?). Either we get a lack of women characters, or their relationship is antagonistic.
There are exceptions, of course; Pocahontas has a female best friend to talk to and Elsa and Anna from Frozen have a strong bond, but why are father-daughter relationships and romantic affaires prioritized over female friendships and mother-daughter bonds? So it is not only that princess are manly helpless, skinny, white and prioritize love above all things. These cartoon movies are also giving a horrible message to little girls and boys: if you are a girl, you can choose between being a princess (helpless, skinny and white) or a bitter and horrible villain.
Why can’t be a female character who helps the princess? Why can’t a female character be the funny one in the movie? All this facts cause a surprising situation: even though these films have a girl as the main character, men often speak more than women, as shown in this chart by the Washignton Post blog:
The article in the blog claims that part of the problem is that these films are mostly populated by men. Aside from the heroine, the films offer few examples of women being powerful, respected, useful or comedic”. Despite being a story about two sister princesses, male characters talk more in Frozen, so it is true that Disney is improving, but it has not reached some goal yet: breaking the restricted area for girls.