Once Upon a Fairytale Romance
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This thesis analyzes five Disney films to assess whether they contain romantic notions that perpetuate unrealistic romantic expectations in American women. The Walt Disney Company has a powerful media presence and is responsible for some of the most popular and lucrative films. Beginning with Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, several of Disney’s animated films introduce specific and original romantic motifs that are contained within story lines. Because of the widespread popularity of Disney films, the effects of the romantic ideas found in many of these films merit their study. To that end, the following five animated Disney films were subjected to critical analysis: Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, and Mulan. Through this analysis, key romantic elements such as “love at first sight” and “true love’s kiss” were discovered to be common and recurrent themes. Furthermore, a theory is proposed these romantic elements in Disney films contribute to establishing and raising unrealistic expectations. Finally, the study contrasts fictitious movies with statistics, studies, and psychological theories that reflect real world realities on romance.