About the Project

Research Question

Succinctly, our research question is simply the following: how has the portrayal of female Disney characters changed throughout Disney films over time?

More in-depth, we want to analyze whether female Disney characters have been increasingly or decreasingly portrayed using stereotypical standards of the past (i.e. described using traditional woman’s sphere, etc.). Through analyzing film critiques using program(s), we want to see how the portrayal has evolved over the years, if it even did so.


In order to display change over time, we chose films based on the time frame, analyzing the movies in chronological order. In particular, we cherry-picked well-known, iconic movies with prominent female lead(s), including Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937), Cinderella (1950), Sleeping Beauty (1959), The Little Mermaid (1989), Mulan (1998), and Frozen (2013). If you noticed a trend, you’re correct. As the term “princess” automatically confers the role of a female lead(s) upon a movie, Disney princess films were chosen (and yes, Mulan, by Disney standards, is considered a Disney princess). While most movies chosen were released approximately ten years apart, the 1970’s and 1980’s were gap years in which a princess film wasn’t released; therefore, we were unable to choose a film to analyze in those time frames. Nevertheless, we feel that the current group of films is an adequate representation of Disney films produced over time.

Snow White and the Seven DwarvesCinderella   Sleeping Beauty The Little MermaidMulan Frozen

Afterwards, we chose websites based on a mix of professional and public reviews from platforms that are prominent in the community (i.e. Rotten Tomatoes, Animated Film Reviews, Roger Ebert reviews, New York Times, Washington Post, etc.) and extracted the text. Even if it is unintentional, the reviews will reveal what the audience things about gender. We then ran the information through AntConc and/or Voyant and analyzed the information that was displayed on the program.

All the information we retrieved was displayed on this blog that would be maintained by one of the members of the group.

Program Tools


Timeline JS – Knightlab


Reviews Used

If you’d like to follow along, here is a list of the reviews we used. They’re available in either a document file or a text file (or perhaps even both).

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Film Reviews

Cinderella Film Reviews

Sleeping Beauty Film Reviews

The Little Mermaid Film Reviews

The Little Mermaid Film Reviews

Mulan Film Reviews

Mulan Film Reviews

Film Reviews Frozen

Frozen Film Reviews


One thought on “About the Project”

  1. I really like how you went into detail about the background of your topic and the explanation of your approach as well as the very detailed reviews of each of the movies and their princesses. I also liked the graphics that you guys used from Voyant and AntConc.

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