Animated Children’s Films

What a Witch: Girlhood, Agency, and Community in ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’ and ‘The Little Mermaid’


Kiki’s Delivery Service carefully constructs a world where a girl’s agency is expected, accepted and supported, while Disney movies typically present a girl’s agency as unusual, forbidden, and denied. The difference between these two messages is that Kiki’s world anticipates and encourages her independence, while the women of Disney are typically punished for this.

For example, in The Little Mermaid Ariel wants to “live out of these waters,” but her father forbids her exploration of the human world and punishes this dream. Sea witch Ursula exploits Ariel’s desire to discover another world beyond her own as well. This is hardly an isolated incident.

‘Despicable Me 2’: One of These Things Is Not Like the Other

Despicable Me 2 poster This is a guest post by Gareth Evans. I really enjoyed the first Despicable Me movie. The characters were all a lot of fun, the bond between Gru and his adopted daughters was believable, and the world that the movie built was interesting. When the sequel came out, I saw it […]

Wedding Week: ‘Shrek’: Happily Ever After Gets a Green Makeover

Princess Fiona This is a guest post by Megan Wright. When I first watched Shrek, I can’t really remember how I felt about Fiona, aside from the fact that I thought it was fantastic that she was fighting Robin Hood and his Merry Men. As the years passed, I bought the movie, and it was […]

You Say Evil Like It’s A Bad Thing


Written by Myrna Waldron. Maleficent appears at King Stefan’s castle Last year I wrote a fairly well-received piece defending the Disney Princesses from a feminist perspective, “You Say Princess Like It’s A Bad Thing.” It was always my plan to write a sequel/companion piece to it. I like Belle and Ariel, but I admit that […]

Miyazaki Month: Spirited Away

Written by Myrna Waldron. Haku and Chihiro walk through a floral maze Spirited Away has a deserved reputation as Hayao Miyazaki’s Magnum Opus, and even managed to outgross Princess Mononoke at the Japanese box office. It’s also, to this date, the only traditionally animated non-Western animated feature to win the Best Animated Feature Oscar. Which […]

Let’s Re-Brand "Disney Princesses" as "Disney Heroines"

Written by Robin Hitchcock A piece of fan art and the particularities of French to English translation may have solved our Disney Princess problem:  Disney Heroines Simple Lines, by David Gilson Feminist parents (and grandparents and aunts and uncles and siblings) often worry about their young girls getting sucked into Disney Princess culture, and not […]

When Life Gives You Infertility, Make Your House Fly: Found Family in ‘UP’

Carl and Ellie in their home This is a guest post written by Talia Liben Yarmush for our theme week on Infertility, Miscarriage, and Infant Loss. Pixar’s UP begins with young Carl, an adventure-admiring, imaginative boy meeting his match in young Ellie. The two hit it off instantly with their shared interest in everything adventure, […]

Gender & Food Week: ‘James and the Giant Peach’

James and the Giant Peach This guest post written by Libby White previously appeared at Bitch Flicks as part of our series on Animated Children’s Films and our series on Women and Gender in Musicals. Based on the book by Roald Dahl, James and the Giant Peach has been a favorite movie of mine since […]

Mrs. Claus Gets Shit Done: Thoughts On ‘The Year Without A Santa Claus’


By Myrna Waldron The Year Without A Santa Claus DVD Art (Source: IMDB) It might be the defining characteristic of modern Christmas celebrations that we consider the televised Christmas special/movie as one of our most beloved traditions. For many people, it doesn’t feel like Christmas without the Grinch, a lamp that looks like a leg, […]

‘Wreck-It Ralph’ Is Flawed, But Still Pretty Feminist

By Myrna Waldron Wreck-It Ralph Movie Poster I’m an animation geek. You probably know that by now. I also have played video games pretty much my entire life. (I read comic books and play DnD too, I’m basically der Ubergeek) So when I heard that Walt Disney Pictures were releasing a Roger Rabbit inspired movie […]

Women and Gender in Musicals Week: Despite an Intelligent Heroine, Sexism Taints Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’

This review by Megan Kearns previously appeared at Bitch Flicks as part of our series on Animated Children’s Films. An intelligent, strong-willed, female protagonist. Who reads books. And seeks adventure. With a heroine like Belle, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, must be a feminist-minded film. Right?? At first, I thought so too. But appearances can […]

Women and Gender in Musicals Week: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

This review by Rebecca Cohen previously appeared at Bitch Flicks as part of our series on Animated Children’s Films. At first blush, a feminist reading of Disney’s 1937 classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs seems almost too obvious to bother with. Nearing its 75th birthday, the film naturally reflects the antiquated gender politics of […]