Date of Award


Degree Type




First Advisor

Carnell, Rachel

Subject Headings

Masculinity in motion pictures, Gender identity in motion pictures, Fairy tales in motion pictures -- History and criticism, Film Studies Gender Gender Studies Literature


Disney fairy tale films are not as patriarchal and empowering of men as they have long been assumed to be. Laura Mulvey's cinematic theory of the gaze and more recent revisions of her theory inform this analysis of the portrayal of males and females in Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin. This study reveals that many representations of males in these films actually portray masculinity as an object of female agency. Over time, Disney's representations of masculinity have become more supportive of male agency and individuality, but this development has been inconsistent and much-delayed. While early films generally show princes who lack character and ability, later films present men as more individuated and active, and eventually present men with more options and power