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Girls/ Children

Hello, I am a student at the University of Minnesota and I am doing a research paper on the evolution of the "fairytale woman," by analyzing one of the early versions of the Little Mermaid and the current film (Disney version) from the early 1990's. I am just beginning my search for information and came across your page. If you could help me at all I would really appreciate it. If you have info on other stories (Beauty and the Beast or Aladdin) I will surely be interested, but The Little Mermaid is my preference. My focus is the change in the portrayal of women in fairytales (specifically The Little Mermaid) and how it has changed and stayed the same. Thanks a lot

Growing up - like most children - I was a Disney fan - however, I was unaware of the extent to which Disney distorts history and reality and continues stereotypes through their characterization of all women and people of color in particular. I know that you and I are not alone in our thinking, however, because of the who/what Disney is, no one has taken a huge visible stand against them. After The Lion King was released there was a book proposal floating around that would have addressed the consistent inaccuracies of Disney movies, however, this proposal has never materialized. In a back issue of Ms. Magazine - I think Nov./Dec.'94 there is a review of The Lion King - great. (If not this issue, whichever was closest to the release date of the movie.)

The only source I have read of fairy tales is Bruno Bettlemheim, who, unfortunately, is to fairy tales, what Freud was to psychology. There is a book coming out called Great Books for Girls by Ballantine Books. This may have some review of Disney classics.

Sorry I couldn't be of much help. If it is any comfort, I know that one of the members of the Disney family is a strong supporter of women's rights and has begun to play a role in her family's legacy. This can only help. Good luck - Amy

P.S. Here's a note that came later to Feminist.com: "A while ago you mentioned my book Great Books For Girls on your website, and I wanted to let you know that it's out and available in many bookstores. In it I describe more than 600 books for ages 2-14, all of which have strong female characters. I certainly appreciate your mentioning it in your column -- I am hoping to reach lots of parents, teachers, librarians and children. All the Best, Kathleen Odean".

Note:: To buy Great Books For Girls, please visit the Feminist.com Bookstore.


Amy

 

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