Media & Communication Department

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Diane Reilly
A Textual Analysis of the Representation of the Disney Princess:
From Snow White to Pocahontas

Before most children are old enough to walk and talk, and certainly before they are old enough to interpret and synthesize complex media messages, they are surrounded by the "Disney culture." The messages are so strong and influential in part because they surround girls at such a young age. With so many messages directed at our youth, scholars cannot ignore the representation of the Disney princess. In my paper I provided a review of literature, which explored the representation of the Disney princess from Snow White (1937) to Pocahontas (1995) in an attempt to understand the changes in her character over time. A textual analysis was then conducted to specifically explore the subtle changes to the Disney princess by comparing Snow White and Pocahontas. Although my research did find a positive change in the Disney heroine over time, it must be remembered that children are still exposed to those early heroines and their effect must be acknowledged.