“Into the unknown”: Portrayals of female protagonists in the works of Studio Ghibli and Walt Disney Animation Studios

Leskovics, Enikő (2020) “Into the unknown”: Portrayals of female protagonists in the works of Studio Ghibli and Walt Disney Animation Studios. BA/BSc thesis, BCE Kommunikáció és Szociológia Intézet, Szociológia és Társadalompolitika Tanszék. Szabadon elérhető változat / Unrestricted version: http://publikaciok.lib.uni-corvinus.hu/publikus/szd/Leskovics_Eniko.pdf

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When analysing female representation in movies, scholars tend to compare the portrayals of female and male characters but comparing female characters in the works of two studios from different cultural backgrounds might be a novelty. This thesis sets out to analyse the portrayals of female characters in feature-length films of the most popular animation studios of the United States and Japan: Walt Disney Animation Studios and Studio Ghibli. The US and Japan tend to show different cultural values and attitudes towards gender roles, and the goal of this research is to find out whether these cultural differences are apparent in female representation. The research looks at the five top grossing female-led movies of both Walt Disney Animation Studios and Studio Ghibli. First, a quantitative content analysis is carried out comparing the positive and negative character traits and the importance of romantic aspirations in the portrayals of female protagonists of the two studios. To investigate the positive and negative qualities of the protagonists, likeability indexes are created, focusing on inner characteristics (humour, intelligence, diligence, motive, confidence, independence) and physical qualities (speed, strength, appearance). In order to compare the importance of romantic storylines for the main characters, all heroines are categorised based on whether they prioritise romance to other aspirations. Additionally, a third aspect is introduced in the analysis during the discussion of the quantitative findings which concerns postfeminist narratives in the stories. The “double entanglement” of postfeminism – which involves both taking feminism into account and denying its relevance (McRobbie, 2004) – is manifested in the works of Walt Disney Animation. While both studios feature female protagonists who often depend on the competence of male characters, this male authority is less obvious in the case of Disney movies. These films partly conceal patriarchal oppression by the privileged positions and freedom of choice of the seemingly empowered protagonists.

Item Type:BA/BSc thesis
Subjects:Media and communication
ID Code:14626
Deposited On:22 Aug 2022 12:38
Last Modified:22 Aug 2022 13:14

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