Little House and Disney

Gender roles in our society have been evolving throughout our history.

exemplifies this through the way they portray princesses in their movies. This video provides information to young girls on how they are supposed to conduct themselves in society. For example, Cinderella portrays women as having to work hard with the responsibility of keeping the house clean. Keeping everything tidy was important. In order to find true love women have to be beautiful and present themselves as innocent and harmless. Cinderella also shows young girls that even from a young age they must pursue these domestic values to be accepted in society.


This can be compared to the book Little House On The Prairie. The women and children’s roles in the book are very innocent and the men very dominant. This can be exemplified by the fact that the girls in the book Laura Mary and baby Carrie would always look to the male characters for direction. They only felt safe when accompanied by the male characters. This is shown during their travels when Laura comments that she feels safe because Jack and Pa are there to protect her. The male characters in the book would protect the women characters from any harm and danger throughout their journey. In the book the woman’s only job was to keep everything clean and tidy. The young girls were overlooked by the adult figures in the family. Their only jobs was to stay out of their father’s way. They had to find their own entertainment, play quietly and stay out of the adults’ way. Society felt, “children must be seen and not heard”(58). The young girls always seemed to want to help with building the house or hunting for food for the family. It was discussed in the novel that the girls could only watch from a distance in order to let the male figure in the book do the hard work. The other male figure in the book, Jack the dog, stayed back with the women to keep them safe from harm. They believed that women need to be protected because they cannot defend themselves.

As quoted in the Keywords book in the section Gender: “The intersections of language, bodies, and socialization performed by such periodicals linked femininity with stories of romance and domesticity, and masculinity with stories of adventure and empire.” (86) This quotes is describing how women are depicted in literature. In many books the women had jobs which consist of being very elegant and submissive to the dominant male characters. The Disney princess movies show women acting in a certain way in order to please the male figure they are trying to win over in the story. As quoted in the Keywords book many of these novels presents women as “girls as tag-alongs, subordinate to boys in initiative and daring, relatively docile, passive, emotional, and unimaginative.” (87) These books depict how young girls are supposed to act in order to meet the norms of society. These movies and novels are stripping these young women at such a young age of their individuality and demonstrating to them that they need a male figure in their lives in order to be accepted in society. Gender is “often intended to emphasize the social and cultural” (88).


Attached is a Disney utube video. This video illustrates the evolution of the female stereotype over time. The older Disney movies show the female characters as helpless and powerless. The Disney films evolve over time as does the role of the women characters. In later Disney productions, the role of the women change. These women become more independent, strong willed and determine. This is a reflection of societal changes. Women in the past were limited in their roles and responsibilities. Females were also limited in their careers choices. In the past women typically pursued jobs like administrative assistants, teachers and nurses. Now, women are aspiring to become business executives, school superintendents and even the President of the United States. Films and books often reflect the societal norms. As society evolves so does the storyline of popular movies and novels.

1 thought on “Little House and Disney”

  1. It is very interesting to see how women’s roles are changing in society. I compare myself to my grandmother. She married early. I think of myself and I want a career, to travel, pursue secondary education, and much more before I even consider being a married woman. In addition to that, I plan on living on my own which is something that she disagrees with. She feels that I need to stay home under my father’s protection until I marry. However, I tell her that the times have changed. It seems like before women were held in a box and couldn’t do anything out of the ordinary. So much potential was lost due to this confinement. Now women are more likely to pursue their interests. It shows that women are much more than the traditional roles.

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