Appearance is Imperative

In our society, we like to focus on the superficial. We focus on material possessions and aesthetic qualities rather than morals and values. As discussed in class, the film, Beauty, and the Beast, displays an underlying standard all too familiar in our society, appearance is imperative. While Belle falls in love with the personality of the Beast, the movie can not have closure until the beautiful woman ends up with a beautiful man. The majority of Disney movies, similar to Beauty and the Beast, revolve around western conceptions of beauty. The demographic of these films are typically young girls, introducing an unrealistic standard of beauty for prepubescent children. It is ridiculous that society has such an obsession with presentation and appearance. It makes me wonder what the world would be like if people were taught that interactions and morals were more important than appearance. Through these films, which can easily be distinguished as gender propaganda, women and men are directed into certain gender roles and told to act/look specific ways in order to be accepted.

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14 thoughts on “Appearance is Imperative

  1. I agree with you. For the majority of Disney princess movies the main focus is a beautiful young ditsy woman falling in love with a masculine young attractive man. Disney movies are mostly targeted towards children who see these characteristics and expect or want their life to be like a fairytale. This is for the most part unrealistic. It is true that society tends to focus on looks over personality because the way a person looks is the first thing someone notices about someone else. Both women and men are told to act and behave a certain way. For example, you typically would not see a princess playing sports because she is usually wearing a dress and looking neat and proper. So when young girls watch the movie they think that that is what girls do.

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  2. This is so true. In relation to objects such as clothing, cars, and technology, sign value is something that is critical to social structure. Knowing what certain brands are worth dictates the specific types of people that are “supposed” to be using the respective items. This is a small part of the impressions that are built based off the way people present themselves. Issues begin to stem from these impressions as they enforce stereotypes and build prejudices against other types of people
    Additionally, the example of Beauty and the Beast also adds a different problematic message where love is the “end-all-fix-all.” While it is a very standard societal trope, it makes an unhealthy expectation that other people are the ones who can save/fix the problems that are presented in the characters that we follow. More examples of this are shown in many classic Disney movies, and while the producers of current movies are moving away from this idea, it’s still a prominent feature of the Disney brand.

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  3. I couldn’t agree more with this post. Disney portrays to their audience the ‘prince and princess’ binary. If there is a princess, she always end up with the beautiful dress and crown. If there is a prince they are seen as tall, handsome, and extremely manly. So the audience of these movies, mostly children, think this is what life is supposed to be like. How is this okay? Yes, for the most part everyone loves a classic Disney movie but sometimes these movies set the tone for how children portray reality. So when children grow up they think that girls have to be girly and men have to be manly. But in reality this is not always the case, and not many think it is okay. Children should not grow up with these certain expectations they are so early on taught.

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  4. I completely agree with you. Beauty and the Beast was the first Disney film that did not depict the brave, lovestruck prince with a strong jawline and white complexion. BUT, Disney just had to do what Disney does best before the final curtain call, transform the once vulgar beast into a charming, handsome, white male; a perfect spouse for the “I’m not like every other girl because I’m beautiful and smart but I complain about these attributes” Belle. When put into perspective, its strange to think that we show children these movies, allow them to worship Elsa and Anna or Cinderella, when they set such unrealistic expectations for men and women. Every little girl soon hopes to grow into a thin, doe eyed white princess, waiting for a male to save her from any problematic scenarios. Why normalize this? And then sit and wonder why preteen girls absolutely hate the skin they are living in?

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  5. When reading your post I couldn’t help but agree with what you say. Everyone is obsessed with the pretty girl falling in love with the handsome man. Why can’t it be two guys, whether they are attractive or not, who fall in love with each other.. or vise versa for girls? We get caught up in what we think the norm is that we forget that there is a whole other population of LGBTQ people out there that are looking for their own “norm” in love and we rarely see their kind of love portrayed in TV shows or movies,, especially Disney movies. The only Disney movie where I believe sends a good message in love is Frozen. Anna falls in love with the first handsome guy she meets and he ends up betraying her. In the end she fell in love with her actual true best guy friend who shows her best interest whether he was attractive or not. Overall, I believe people should be worried less on people’s attractiveness and focus more of people’s personalities.

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  6. I share the same opinions you expressed in your post. Unfortunately in today societies beauty is held on such a high pedestal. I felt pressure to appear beautiful growing up, and the pressure only seems to have increased for young women and girls today. I feel sorry for girls (and boys) today who feel like the most they have to offer is their looks. It would be so much healthier if we taught young people to look for more qualities in a partner than just beauty, but to also apply that same outlook on themselves. Often time it is easier to accept someone else than it is to accept yourself. Have a great week!

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  7. I agree. All the Disney movies have a handsome prince and a beautiful princess. Take Cinderella for an example, she didn’t start out being fancy but as soon as the ball came around she had her hair perfect with her gorgeous dress and shoes. Not to mention that the Prince was also gorgeous and portrayed as a proper gentleman. In reality it is very rare to see a guy act the way any of the princes act in real life. Disney is giving young children the wrong impression that if they don’t grow up and have a fairytale life or look like the unrealistic princesses or find an unrealistic prince they didn’t live their life to the “full potential”.

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  8. I think it’s very ironic that most Disney princess movies are all about acceptance and loving what’s on the inside but at the end of the movie the two main characters are both gorgeous anyways. Mulan is a good example because Mulan and Shang are both fit people who are very good looking and although it “doesn’t matter what someone looks like on the outside” it helps that they are both beautiful. Sometimes I try and imagine what it would be like if a Disney princess fell in love with an average looking man instead of an unreal prince. Or if a prince falls in love with a maiden who does not transform into a beautiful princess in the end. I would like to think that as long as the story line was good the movie would do well but a part of me knows that if the two main love intrests are not gorgeous people will most likely not think it’s as good as “the classics” or other movies where the leads are all good looking actors.

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  9. I agree 100% with your analysis of today’s society. In this present day, people place way to much emphasis on the way people look and pay much less attention to what is inside of a person. Granted, it takes a person to be physically attacked to another in order for them to “make the first move” but to often, these things only run surface deep. When movies such as Disney princess movies implement these standards of unrealistic looks that impress upon young viewers. They see these flawless images of women and want to recreate them and this want pervades throughout their live. It is heart breaking to see young children trying to reach these unreachable goals of perfection and it is our job to make sure that future generations feel comfortable within their bodies.

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  10. I agree that Western (and especially American) society tends to rely overly on materialism and outward appearances for identity construction. Companies market their products to different demographics with the intent to create a certain image that buyers can then purchase as the preferred way of expressing their identity. This shows up in a lot of media as well, since different pieces of media are also products that promote certain images or worldviews. As you mentioned, the worldview endorsed by Disney media products generally includes a very binary, appearance-focused view of gender relations, with women portrayed as beautiful but helpless damsels and men portrayed as handsome, daring heroes. Recently, however, Disney seems to be diversifying it’s media profile to include other portrayals of gender, perhaps due to changing cultural values. While Disney still produces and markets versions of extremely traditional princess stories such as Beauty and the Beast, it has also begun to add shows such as Star vs. the Forces of Evil that portray stronger, more independent female characters to its TV lineup.

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  11. i think I’m probably going to be the only person in the entire class that argues some of the points in your post. While you made excellent points about how valued appearances are in the movies, you also have to realize the judgements you are making are based on modern day feelings. When watching these movies people HAVE to realize that these films were created some as early as the 1930’s. During these times women were expected to be a sort of damsel in distress. The films based there plots off of certain areas in the world and their history/current settings during the times when these films were being made. If you take a look at Disney movies (new princesses) now-a-days you would notice the women are being portrayed as the strong heroine characters. I think people need to stop judging the past films so much on their content and bashing disney for all the “negative” images they portrayed and start recognizing the shift in images that have developed since then.

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  12. I agree with you one hundred percent. Almost all Disney movies portray a beautiful young woman falling in love with a handsome prince and they live happily ever after. People aspire to live their lives like a Disney movie, but clearly that is not how life works. The way Disney portrays characters causes society to obsess over appearance and presentation. I appreciate how today, Disney is creating films portraying princesses of different nationalities and skin colors rather than the simple white princess. Disney also started portraying gay couples, but In the new Beauty and the Beast film, they show a gay couple which started a lot of controversy.

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  13. I so agree with you ! Disney movies always portray true love as being a man and a woman, a very beautiful woman, damsel in distress, who false in love with a person she just met and somehow that ends up making her life 10x better. I also think that the time period in which these movies were made/ takes place has a lot to do with why they all seem to be the same. It’s quite upsetting to see that little girls, who aren’t old enough to see the points we see now, grow up to think they’re not beautiful because they’re not a princess. It teaches them to think that our society is mostly centered with looks rather than morals and values, and is the reason why the cycle continues on.

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