Walt Disney Anniversary. Evolution of the female cartoons

Walt Disney Anniversary. Evolution of the female cartoons
Isabel del Rio

Walt Disney Anniversary. Today, in this especial day, we are going to speak about the evolution of the female cartoons in Disney movies.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 1937

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 1937 (Photo credit: listingslab)

But before anything: Happy birthday, Walt Disney!

Walt Disney was born on December 5, 1901. Then, today is Disney birthday. As everybody knows in Yareah magazine, I was born on December 5 too (some years later… Sorry for the clarification) and this coincidence has focus my attention on Walt Disney work from the beginning.

I’ve seen Disney movies hundreds of times. When I was a child and currently. Then, every time I can focus on a different aspect. Today, why not, I’m going to speak about his female protagonists. In my opinion, the evolution of their different personalities over time, it is the evolution of the female role in the society too.

We’ll see:

‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ (1937) or ‘Bambi’ (1942) have too nice girls (except the stepmother and this is the reason of her current success). Then, the nice Snow White or the poor Bambi’s mother are representative of an old female role. Obedient, sympathetic, always waiting for a man (boyfriend or firstborn) who solve problems. ‘Cinderella’ (1950) is still in the same role, in spite to be posterior to the IIWW.

Yes, the Second World War changed the role of women forever. And Disney films couldn’t be indifferent to this change. ‘Alice in Wonderland’ (1951) or ‘Lady and the Tramp’ present female characters more complicate, able to fight for themselves and be active members of the society.

This evolution is completely evident in ‘Peter Pan’ (1953) and of course, ‘Mary Poppins’ (1964), one of Walt Disney last films before his death. Here, women are rebel: Tinkerbell looks for revenge, Wendy for adventures and Mary Poppins is an independent spirit, a perfect modern woman who never asks men for permission.

As I said yesterday in another article, Walt Disney is one the biggest artists of the 20th century. Great director, drawer, creator… but his movies are a legacy which overcome him. In fact, we can study very many aspects of the 20th century watching his films.

Happy Birthday, Walt Disney! This world would have been dull without your cartoons.

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Isabel del Rio

Managing Editor at Yareah® Magazine. Author of ‘Ariza’ (2008) and ‘The Girls of Oil’ (2010)

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