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Media portrayal of Gender Stereotypes in the 1950s: Walt Disney's Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty

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Fredericks, Michelle
Lang, Katherine H.; Gough, Robert (Robert J.)
Jul 17, 2009
Women in motion pictures; Nineteen fifties; Sex role--United States--History--20th century.; Motherhood--United States--History; Women in mass media; Housewives--United States--History
The 1950s was a decade of change. The ending of World War II gave our nation a focus on the importance of family and community. However, the constant fear of a nuclear war left people feeling that life was too short to take for granted. This led many women to give up their lives in the workplace and take up living in the home to care for their families. Not all women chose to follow this homemaker lifestyle, but the majority of magazines, newspapers, movies, and other media directed its attention only towards the women who did work inside the home. This made it seem as though the women who were employed were not good mothers or wives. This media advertisement gave the impression that all women were stay-at-home moms who needed good husbands to provide for them as well as the newest technology to make their home the best on the block. Even children's books and movies at the time showed young girls the idea that they needed to find themselves a hard working, stable man to provide and take care of them instead of being able to care for themselves. Walt Disney, not wanting to miss out on this marketing campaign, reinforced these gender roles and stereotypes within his versions of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty.
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