Gender and Speech in a Disney Princess Movie

Azmi N.J., Radzuwan Ab Rashid, Mairas Abd. Rahman, Safawati Basirah, Z.


One of the latest Disney princess movies is Frozen which was released in 2013. Female characters in Frozen differ from the female characters in previous Disney movies, such as The Little Mermaid and Tangled. In comparison, female characters in Frozen are portrayed as having more heroic values and norms, which makes it interesting to examine their speech characteristics. Do they use typical female speech despite having more heroic characteristics? This paper aims to provide insights into the female speech characteristics in this movie based on Lakoff’s (1975) model of female speech.  Data analysis shows that female and male characters in the movie used almost equal number of female speech elements in their dialogues. Interestingly, although female characters in the movie do not behave stereotypically, their speech still contain the elements of female speech, such as the use empty adjectives, questions, hedges and intensifier. This paper argues that the blurring of boundaries between male and female speech characteristics in this movie is an attempt to break gender stereotyping by showing that female characters share similar characteristics with heroic male characters thus they should not be seen as inferior to the male  characters.


Disney princess, Frozen, linguistic, movie, speech, gender studies

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