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Balancing Gender and Power: How Disney’s Hercules Fails to Go the Distance

Cassandra Primo ()
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Cassandra Primo: Departments of Business and Sociology, McDaniel College, Westminster, MD 21157, USA

Social Sciences, 2018, vol. 7, issue 11, 1-13

Abstract: Disney’s Hercules (1997) includes multiple examples of gender tropes throughout the film that provide a hodgepodge of portrayals of traditional conceptions of masculinity and femininity. Hercules’ phenomenal strength and idealized masculine body, coupled with his decision to relinquish power at the end of the film, may have resulted in a character lacking resonance because of a hybridization of stereotypically male and female traits. The film pivots from hypermasculinity to a noncohesive male identity that valorizes the traditionally-feminine trait of selflessness. This incongruous mixture of traits that comprise masculinity and femininity conflicts with stereotypical gender traits that characterize most Disney princes and princesses. As a result of the mixed messages pertaining to gender, Hercules does not appear to have spurred more progressive portrayals of masculinity in subsequent Disney movies, showing the complexity underlying gender stereotypes.

Keywords: gender stereotypes; sexuality; heroism; hypermasculinity; selflessness; Hercules; Zeus; Megara (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A B N P Y80 Z00 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Handle: RePEc:gam:jscscx:v:7:y:2018:i:11:p:240-:d:183438