How Disney Has Set Unrealistic Beauty Standards


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Media has become an integral part of our lives and the representation of women in the mainstream media has influenced us to hold some kind of expectations from ourselves. At some point in our lives, those expectations have also made us believe that there are some beauty standards that exists and a girl should fulfil all of them to be accepted and loved in society.

Misrepresentation of women in media takes us on a nostalgic journey of us sitting in front of our TV sets, watching Disney princesses living such mesmerizing lives, not knowing at that moment that the representation of women all along has been done in a wrongful manner and is offensive at many levels.

Media has made young girls believe that there are some beauty ideals that they should follow and it has created a mental model image of how a girl should speak, eat, sit, interact and look. Disney movies have been the strongest influence on such young girls’ mindsets on how they should behave.

The Disney Princess series is a Walt Disney Company Franchise. It started in 1938, with the adaptation of Snow White. The series has been popular among young girls and the admiration of the series has kept increasing ever since. All the Disney Princess series have had different plot lines but the physical attributes have been similar in all of them.

Most of the characters possess the hourglass shape which is considered to be an ideal body size with ideal breast size, slim waists and large hips. These are some unrealistic images that have been created which do not really exist and not all women have strikingly similar features. They might seem entertaining to watch but often have a tendency to harmfully impact us.

There have been many theories regarding these unrealistic beauty standards that Disney has been contributing to. We can see that Disney has promoted the idea that beauty is necessary to find true love and affection. Young girls sometimes believe such notions to the extent that they start dieting and doing make up at very young age and even consider themselves fat if they do not have a perfectly slim waist.

Such things hamper the self-confidence of young girls and make them believe that if they do not have same features and body size as Disney princesses have, they might not find their “happily ever after”, which is bound to impact their mental well-being.  

Majority of Disney Princesses like Snow White, Cinderella, Ariel, Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty, have similar facial features and believe in the same notion that they "need" to find a handsome prince charming who would take care of them, to live happily ever after.

These are very common movies to watch and still very popular among girls but there is an urgent need of change. Every Disney movie teaches us at the end that the story is incomplete without a man and a girl needs a man to feel protected, loved and safe.

Is it correct to instill a young girls’ mind with such ridiculous ideas?

Obviously not, this is why some positive changes should be made, especially about how a woman and her beauty should be represented in mainstream media.

There is a need to go beyond just finding true love and focus should be on how a woman’s intelligence, compassion, patience and confidence matter more than her looks. Also, that she can find her true love irrespective of the fact if she has an hourglass body or not.


Written By - Somya Jain

Edited By - Tushna Choksey


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