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Essay: The Disney Princess Effect: How Young Girls are Oversexualized in Media

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  • Published: 1 February 2018*
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  • Words: 1,019 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 5 (approx)
  • Tags: Disney essays

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In Stephanie Hanes’, “The Disney Princess Effect,” she analyzes how young girls are being influenced through the oversexualization of women by being pushed to grow up too quickly. “The Disney Princess Effect” outlines the sexualization in media and therefore, the image women are expected to obtain through television, internet, and books. There are various components as to why this is happening, but one of the central components to this is how Disney Princesses are essentially portrayed in television and movies today. Although Hanes’ article mainly focuses on the sexualization brought upon young girls, she does bring attention to young boys and how young boys are subjected to wear certain colors and enjoy doing certain activities to not be considered “feminine”. Even the media meant for children is sexualizing young girls and boys at a young age. Hanes argues that young girls are enhancing into the involvement and corruption pertaining to inappropriate ideas regarding how a woman should behave and look. Young girls are portrayed to become a Disney princess and mothers have found this idea to lead to “self-obligation to cyberbullying to unhealthy body images” (Hanes 6). Hanes provides statistics and research related to young girls on the sexualization of females. With the use of supporting evidence, strategic examination, and by focusing on a specific audience, Hanes is able to present a conclusive argument that effectively persuades the reader to agree with her viewpoint.  

Throughout the article, Hanes uses several logical appeals or the use of strategic claim and evidence to convince an audience to do or believe something. While Hanes’ applies logical appeals with supporting evidence, she also draws in the reader's attention by applying several emotional appeals throughout the article. Hanes does not focus on ethical appeals in her article.  

Logical appeals are vital in Hanes’ main argument. Among the use of strong sources, Hanes’ article builds credibility and ideology. Sources like multifarious universities, extensive professors and authors, and The American Psychological Association, support Hanes’ credibility and show that she understands what she is explaining and states facts. Her article is also supported by statistics and numerous expert opinions that support her claims. She is also using the experiences of first-time mothers Mary Finucane, Dr. Brown, Maya Brown as a first-hand experience to support her issue. However, Hanes’ also uses a strong use of word choices throughout her article to introduce a strong point, for example, you normally would not see the words "sexualized, thong, and naked pictures”, when talking about a 13-year-old (Hanes 3). These aggressive words bring a strong tone to her argument and show the effect of “The Disney Princess Effect”.  

Hanes continues her argument through logical appeals by Hanes providing numerous surprising quotes that would grab the attention of any mother with a young daughter. For example, “A university of Central Florida Poll found that 50 percent of 6-year-old girls worry they are overweight. The marketing group NPD Fashion world reported in 2003 that more than $1.6 million is spent annually on thong underwear for 7-12-year old's” (Hanes 8). This reveals the growing and massive situation this has now become. But who is purchasing these items? Obviously, these young girls are not purchasing these items on their own, without the help of their parents. Are they to blame for the growing concern of this effect? Or could it be social media and the internet? Continually, it’s enough really, to alarm the most relaxed parent. These statistics provide, “The Disney Princess Effect”, with enough support to introduce the negative central idea of what goes on in the article and gives the parents an understanding why they should be uneasy regarding what their young daughters are putting into their heads. Hanes then continues with some strong evidence regarding sexualization of women. Hanes states that, “on average, children ages 8 to 18 consume 10 hours, 45 minutes’ worth of screen media content a day” (Hanes 4). Hanes also states that “even if parents limited TV and movies, though, the sexualization of women would still get through on the radio… Those images, as in television, have become far more sexualized” (Hanes 6). From these statistics, Hanes is stating that even if the parent limits some access of media to their children, they can still be exposed to over sexualization in media anywhere they go.  

The use of a logical fallacy, also known as emotional appeals is also used throughout the article, which Hanes uses to show how impactful the effect is to the young girls. As the article mentions how Hanes’ daughter “simply just stopped running and jumping”, gives the reader a visual image of a young girl who stops acting like a young child and becoming much more serious and like a princess (Hanes 4). It is as if all the joy from inside her was simply drained and filled with a false fantasy of being a princess. Also, the word choice that is used in the article brings a logical appeal to the audience. If someone with a young daughter, was given the option to read this article, the reader will notice the harsh word choices used to associate what young girls are dealing with, would make any parent extremely concerned about this situation. Hanes begins her article with explaining the story of Mary Finucane, the mother of a three-year-old daughter, who, “stopped running and jumping, and insisted on wearing only dresses, which signifies the importance of young girls changing their behavior. She sat on the front step, waiting for her prince” (Hanes 2). Hanes supports this real-life situation by discussing a few more serious effects like self-objectification, cyberbullying, and unhealthy body images. The author also brings up the media’s perception of women and all the sexualization involved.  

 Hanes provides a well-established argument in her essay and informs her readers of all the negative effects the media brings upon young girls. Hanes uses her word choice and logical and emotional appeals as rhetorical strategies that make the audience aware of what is going on with young girls today. She gains strength and persuasiveness in her essay by using statistical evidence of the effect, while also exposing the seriousness of the sexualization of women today.   

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