Surely we’re better off now than we were a few decades ago. As in, certainly big corporations like Disney have recognised the need for young girls and women to have positive role models to look up to in their films.
The times have changed, and so have their leading ladies, right? Huh. Maybe, maybe not.
The newer “princesses” are stronger, sassier and offer zestier personalities. This is compared to their earlier sisters; the meek and the mild, the softly, softly female who had bad things happen to her and then had herself rescued by a dude.
Nope. Just nope. That’s definitely not a thing anymore. Even slightly older heroines like Belle and Ariel show more independence.
But it’s more than just throwing a punch, or a frying pan. It has to be more than the action because it’s the words that will be quoted on posters and merch, and then imprinted on the back of our eyelids as we watch our all-time favourite Disney films over and over.
Researchers have revealed that these newer and more more “idolised” princesses have a decreasing amount of speech in their films. Basically, it’s all downhill after ‘The Little Mermaid’.
That’s right, Snow White and Aurora, characters who could be described as woeful or even pathetic in comparison to the likes of Elsa and Pocahontas, say MORE in their films. So who’s getting all the lines? Duh. The men. Of course.
This research is still being carried out, but they have released the following shocking stats:
‘The Beauty and the Beast’ – Men speak 71% of the time.
‘Pocahontas’ – Men speak 76% of the time.
‘Mulan’ – Men take up a whopping 77% of the dialogue.
It’s, in a word, bollocks.
There is some light in all this derogatory darkness. For instance, fan favourites ‘Brave’ and ‘Tangled’ see Merida and Rapunzel owning it. AND THAT’S NOT ALL! As the trend for bigger casts of characters became a thing, gender equality has also suffered.
There are twice as many speaking roles for men in ‘Frozen’ than for women, and ‘The Princess and the Frog’ comes off even worse (but that opens up a whole new conversation about whether you can actually count talking animals).
So even though our current Disney kwanes look like they’re slaying, they’re certainly not doing it with their words. They’re physically stronger, more independent and have shaken off the need for a handsome prince to save them from mortal peril…
But, as we seem to be experiencing lately, nothing is without consequence or sacrifice. And for our animated faves? They’ve had their voices stripped.
Are you as shocked as we are by these findings? Who is your favourite Disney heroine, and why? Tell us in the comments below.