Language Investigation. This essay will show the evolvement of gender fairness in the language that the characters use over time in Disney movies.

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Language investigation


This essay will show the evolvement of gender fairness in the language that the characters use over time in Disney movies. The essay will explore three Disney films from 1992-2009.

  1. Aladdin produced in 1992
  2. Mulan produced in 1998
  3. Princess and the Frog 2009

The 3 movies should give me an insight into the gender roles and how much each sex speaks in the films. This study also shows the evolvement of feminism and the Equality movement. As the feminist movement had an underlying pinch point in the Disney industry.

One of the socio historical elements that helped Disney to find its equality between the male and female language is third wave feminism.  The characteristics of 3rd wave feminism, which was coined in 1992, are “to challenge or avoid what it deems the 2nd wave’s essentialist definitions of femininity which often assumed a universal female identity and over-emphasized the experiences of upper-middle-class white women.” The 3rd wave feminism encouraged the Princess and the Frog, where the main character is black, and even Mulan where the protagonist is Chinese. The titles of the movies suggest the Equality act, Aladdin – 1992 (a male name), Mulan -1998 (a female name) and Princess and the Frog -2009 (a female and male names).

This essay will examine the break through of women, and then eventually the equality through three of the language frameworks; Semantics, Lexis and Pragmatics. The essay will also explore the commands, the interruptions and the politeness used, the essay structure is focused on the women’s speech, however it will compare men’s and women’s speech.


This essay expects to see that 3rd wave feminism has pushed against the stereotypical view of a princess in distress, and that equality has finally come to the language of Disney films, men and women both speak equally.


The purpose of this essay is to look into Disney movies and see where the different sex of the characters language has become more equal. It is based on the transcription of the three Disney films listed above. The transcription only covers the parts, which are going to be analysed (politeness, commands and interruptions). The essay will look deep into these three elements of the films and discuss them in accordance to the language frameworks listed above (Pragmatics, Semantics and Lexis). It will also discuss the importance of 3rd wave feminism and the impact that it had, and how Disney came to be more gender egalitarian. Graphs have been constructed to show the data that has been collected, and to compare the difference in speech between male and female characters.

The transcribing was relatively easy however it was the compiling of the information that was difficult. After watching the films and transcribing the data, the information needed to be categorized under different headings, (politeness, interruptions and commands).

The investigation will include theorists, Lakoff, Zimmerman and West, O barr and Atkins. Lakoff had many theories about gendered language, however the specific theory that this essay uses is  the one which debates the fact that men speak with colloquialisms and slang whereas women use proper English much more. Zimmerman and West shared a theory, which is now named the dominance theory, men try to dominate the conversation and O barr and Atkins had a theory, which proposed that women speak like men, using the same vocabulary and tone of voice.

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The difficulty with transcribing pre 2000 Disney films is that they only contain one female, the princess, this is true in Mulan and Aladdin. This creates an unbalanced playing field, which may alter the results of the tests meaning that not all of the tests done will be fair. The titles of the films (Aladdin, Mulan and Princess and the Frog) will hopefully show that the unbalanced playing field isn’t as unbalanced as it may seem.

The investigation has looked into several characters across each film, below is a table.

The character intensity has risen ...

This is a preview of the whole essay