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1. First, and most important: It must use specific examples from Disney films (f

by | Mar 7, 2022 | Women and gender studies


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1. First, and most important: It must use specific examples from Disney films (from the list) to answer this question:
How do Disney films contribute to the construction of society’s values and norms about gender roles?
An accompanying question that you can also answer (but it’s optional) is: How have the gender values that Disney represents changed over time?
2. It must be a thesis-driven essay, written for an academic (formal) audience. The thesis is your angle on answering the question. You can’t cover every Disney film and every character–so you choose some examples from one film (or from a few films–no more than 3) and they help define the angle you’re taking to answer the question.
Review the feedback you got on your thesis (and if you didn’t feel like you got enough, ask other peers for advice, or get in touch with Dr Haas) and make decisions on whether you need to revise it.
3. It must be a textual analysis essay, which means the essay is structured around a few specific excerpts from the text, and these examples all help to develop the thesis. Since you’re analyzing films, the excerpts are scenes. Identify and analyze a few specific scenes from at least one (but no more than 3) Disney films from the list. Choose scenes that clearly help you develop your answer to the question.
You can refer to other films that are non-Disney (for example, earlier Iron Man films, earlier Star Wars, etc)–but do not make them the focus of your analysis. Use them only for comparison purposes. In other words, the scenes that you analyze should come from the Disney films on the list.
4. It must include at least one image as part of your development. This image must be a screenshot from a film scene you are analyzing. Include a caption below the image to tell what film it comes from, and explain the image in the text of your essay.
5. It must use at least 5 sources to help with the development. This does not include other films–these should be articles, essays, podcasts, blogs, etc. Sources that are talking about the films you are analyzing or that provide contextual information about the film.
6. It must include a list of Works Cited at the end (MLA style; Recommended: use EasyBib
7. Minimum Length: 1300 words Maximum Length: 1500 words
The word count does NOT include the Works Cited
8. Use MLA Style for formatting. Requirement: WRITE THE INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPHS (Due Sunday)
Write an introduction for your essay of 400-500 words (this will be two pages of 12-point font double spaced writing).
Essay introductions are meant to set up the rest of what is to come in the essay. In your introduction for this essay, here are some of the components you should include:
Introduce the course question. The question might be included in your title, or in the first few sentences of the essay.
Definition of social construction.
and specifically, how our perceptions and values about gender (masculine and feminine) are constructed by our social environment.
Discussion of why Disney is an especially important media company in terms of shaping cultural values (because of its reach, the popularity of the genres, etc).
Introduction of the specific angle you’ll be taking to answer the question (your thesis).
Brief foreshadowing of how you’ll go about developing your thesis.
Introduction of the film or films or the characters you will be focusing on to develop your angle.
You may decide to introduce some of the context around the film/films you’re analyzing, or you can hold off and introduce those details later. But somewhere in your essay, you should include these kinds of details about each of the films you are analyzing as part of showing the context for the film. Remember that Disney films tend to reflect the historical context in which they were released:
Who wrote it, directed it, and the names of actors who played the characters you are writing about
When it was released and how it did at the box office (Links to an external site.)
How it was received (look for ratings like RottenTomatoes, (Links to an external site.) IMDB (Links to an external site.), or Metacritic (Links to an external site.))
Your introduction might be more than one paragraph. In the real world, introductions aren’t always one paragraph that starts broad and ends with a thesis. Consider the texts we read together so far– did any of them have a 1 paragraph introduction and then proceed with a 5 paragraph essay? (No). Try writing TWO introductory paragraphs. Find a natural breaking point between them.
Begin your essay in the first few sentences in a way that will interest your audience. Your audience is other scholars, like yourself, who are interested in Disney, and particular in the way that their films impact our cultural values about gender. Your audience knows the Disney films–they have seen them all. You do not have to spend a lot of time summarizing what happens in them. A 1-sentence summary to remind readers of the high points is plenty.
Body paragraphs requirement:
Each body paragraph should be focused on developing some part of your specific angle on answering the question (your thesis). The way you answer the HOW part of the question is to analyze how specific scenes demonstrate some aspect of gender–this is your purpose in the body paragraphs.
Choose scenes to analyze that help you focus on gender. The scene constructs (and mirrors) gender values through how it represents the characters. A hero is someone with masculine or feminine values we are invited to aspire to. The scenes show us how heroes (who we want to be) look, and how they act when it comes to acceptable gender roles or gendered emotions. Sometimes we are invited to be disgusted by villains who represent culturally unacceptable aspects of gender.
In academic essays, it’s better to have shorter, focused paragraphs than to have paragraphs that are a whole page long. Here are some more conventions of academic essay paragraphs:
each one should be about one specific idea/topic (coherence)
the one specific idea/topic of each paragraph should be easy to recognize (that’s why writers often use topic sentences that summarize the idea)
each one should be connected to what comes before and after it (transitions).
Sources you can use:
Sharp, Gwen and Lisa Wade. “Social Construction and Why It Matters.” YouTube 16 Sept 2008.
Kilbourne, Jean. “Killing Us Softly 4.” Vimeo, 24 Feb. 2020,
Haas, Lynda, and Shaina Trapedo. “Looking into the Magic Mirror: Disney’s Impact on the Fairy Tale Genre.” The Routledge Companion to Media and Fairy-Tale Cultures, edited by Paula Greenhill, Routledge Ltd., 2018, pp. 1–19.


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