Thesis Title

Hakuna Matata! Do Gender Roles Really Matter?: a Feminist Rhetorical Analysis of Walt Disney Cartoons

Author

Jan M. Hovden

Date of Graduation

Spring 1996

Degree

Master of Arts in Communication

Department

Communication

Committee Chair

Janis King

Subject Categories

Communication

Abstract

This thesis examines the gender roles present in Walt Disney cartoons using a feminist rhetorical perspective. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Bambi, The Little Mermaid and The Lion King are analyzed to determine the relative amount of power that women have vis-a-vis men. The thesis also examines the differences in the portrayal of gender roles of human and animal characters. In addition, a comparison of the two films from original Walt Disney era are compared to the two films from the contemporary Eisner era to see how the presentation of gender roles have evolved over time. The thesis concludes that all of the movies portray gender roles in a deleterious manner. The two contemporay films are in many ways worse than the two older films because they pay lip-service to women's empowerment while denying women any true level of political power.

Copyright

© Jan M Hovden

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Dissertation/Thesis

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