Publication Date

Spring 4-21-2009


School of Communication


Communication Studies: Advertising and Public Relations

Primary Subject Area

Mass Communications


Third Wave, feminism, Disney, impact of media, womanhood, Little Mermaid, Ariel, Beauty and the Beast, Belle, Pocahontas, Mulan, Complementarian, Egalitarian, Feminist, Generation Y, Millennial, Women's Studies, Cinema, Film, Movies, Mary Kassian, Does Disney reflect Third Wave feminist values in its definition of womanhood?, How did Disney portray womanhood to Generation Y during childhood?, Women are equal to men, Women are different from men, Women ought to practice sacrificial love, Women should follow their hearts


Communication Technology and New Media | Critical and Cultural Studies | Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | Mass Communication | Other Film and Media Studies | Social Influence and Political Communication | Women's Studies


It is important to understand factors that have influenced Generation Y’s view of womanhood. One way to do this is to analyze third wave feminist messages portrayed by Disney, the media powerhouse. In order to determine if Disney reflects feminist values, the third wave themes portrayed in The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Pocahontas (1995), and Mulan (1999) are examined. It is concluded that Disney portrays the feminist values of independence and multiculturalism; however, the films are set within patriarchal societies and portray women to be domestic. Ultimately, Disney portrays four messages about womanhood: Women are equal to men; women are different than men; women ought to practice sacrificial love; women should follow their hearts.