Becoming a Girl: Pop Culture’s First Stage of Gender Training

  • Melissa Ames
  • Sarah Burcon


This past year, millions of little girls have likely belted out the Oscar-winning song from Disney’s Frozen, ‘Let It Go.’ The catchy tune has been hailed as an anthem for individuality and girl power, with lines that encourage girls to ‘test the limits and break through’, to reject rules, overcome fears, and abandon dictates to be a ‘good’ and ‘perfect girl.’ The song has even been embraced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities as a subtle coming out song.1 The film itself has found mass appeal and has been lauded as a feminist success (with feminism, in this case, having one of its rare positive connotations in pop culture). According to its supporters, Disney has created its best princess film to date: one that features two strong female protagonists and rejects the traditional fairytale ending. So, mission accomplished: we’re now raising girls in a female paradise where they’ll encounter only positive gendered imagery. No more feminist media critics needed, right? Well, perhaps we should re-check the cultural pulse.


Eating Disorder Young Girl Popular Culture Female Character Beauty Sleep 
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Copyright information

© Melissa Ames and Sarah Burcon 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melissa Ames
    • 1
  • Sarah Burcon
    • 2
  1. 1.Eastern Illinois UniversityUSA
  2. 2.University of MichiganUSA

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