February 05, 2017

Proof Of Concept Presentation

1 comment:

  1. Hi Becky,

    Okay - in terms of contextualising the representations of gendered characters in Disney, you'll need to go right back to looking at the prevailing ideologies present in the original sources for these films - i.e. fairytales and folklore as originally presented. What you need to establish/prove/demonstrate is that gendered binaries etc. are organising principles in fairy stories - before that is, you seek to dismantle them, and take them to task. There appear to be two issues in your proof of concept - role and appearance - so the roles afforded to female characters in fairy stories, and the way the characters look and what that tells us.

    In terms of your big books, you need to some more 'mothership' texts to begin with: some 'must reads' if you're going to take on Disney princesses and representation etc:

    Vladimir Propp - Morphology of the Folk-Tale:
    http://changingminds.org/disciplines/storytelling/plots/propp/propp.htm

    Marina Warner - From The Beast To The Blonde:
    http://www.marinawarner.com/publications/bookdetailsnonfiction/fromthebeasttotheblonde.html

    What you need to do is look across lots and lots of original fairy stories and seek to prove how, despite the variations and differences, the 'role' of female characters is governed by a series of 'cultural expectations' or norms - these will often be hetero-normative - i.e. a woman's status is confirmed only by marriage, or will reveal other kind of bias - for example, the much-used motif of the witch, evil step-mother, evil fairy, as being a woman either widowed, or old, or clever - and therefore 'other' and therefore 'evil'. etc. This investigation is the stuff of Chapter 1, because the very beginning of any discussion re. Disney representation of women, must begin by this scholarly, evidence based activity in which you seek to reveal the 'constructions' or 'systems of meaning' or ideologies that are organising are thoughts and feelings around women in stories. The other really important aspect to determine is the idea of fairy stories as 'moral lessons' for children, because it is in this idea of 'teaching life lessons' that fairy stories come under criticism (and likewise Disney) because they are transmitting gendered ideas to children...

    Chapter 2 would need to take on those 'constructions' in terms of 'deconstructing' them - so you should be looking at poststructuralist writers (Propp is a structuralist, because he is seeking to identify some universal 'fixed' structure underlying all stories) - and feminist writers - so Judith Butler and Nancy Chodorow. Chapter 2 would be about demonstrating that gender is created out of cultural bias and is therefore a 'performance' or a repeating, self-justifying trope, that stories and pop-culture broadcast and maintain....

    Chapter 3 therefore, is when you look at your Disney representations (from Snow White to Moana) and demonstrate how those different gendered ideas are represented, transmitted, repeated and, maybe, challenged by more progressive 'deconstructed' representations of female characters etc.

    Let me know if this makes some sense! :)

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