Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Advertising Department Chair, James Tsao
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Advertising and Promotion Management
Although the Disney Princess franchise portrays its ten princess movies as tales of “happily ever after,” they are filled with negative stereotypes of all kinds; this study in particular focuses on those addressed towards females. Each of these princesses lives in a patriarchal society and her sole desire is to find a man who guides her to happiness. The Princess brand has immense popularity even with these unconstructive stigmatizations of women. This study explores these movies while investigating, through qualitative research, the potency of these stereotypes and whether the parents of the target audience (defined by Disney as ages three to five years old) perceive these messages as damaging.
This study begins by exploring plot details and, through a literature review, three themes prevalent in the princess films: physical beauty, role of family, and the search for true love. In part two, I analyze the impact of the Disney Princess franchise in terms of media outlets and advertising. In a qualitative study, to test the pervasive nature of these stereotypes, I conducted interviews with twelve parents regarding their perception of the impact of the Disney Princesses on their children.
The Disney Corporation has developed a brand that promises innocence and a sense of magic, things that people crave and desire to be a part of. One of the more surprising outcomes of this study was that parents noted that their children engaged with Disney Princess merchandise much more than they did with the films themselves. Further, parents perceived Disney’s influence as promoting imaginative play.
Greenblatt, Melanie, "The Heteronormative Objectification of Women in the Disney Princess Films: A Study of Brand Advertising and Parents’ Perceptions" (2013). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 85.
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