Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2013

Capstone Advisor

Johanna Keller

Honors Reader

Advertising Department Chair, James Tsao

Capstone Major


Capstone College

Public Communications

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories


Subject Categories

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.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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