Do Animated Disney Characters Portray and Promote the Beauty–Goodness Stereotype?



Disney movies are frequently cited as a source of the what-is-beautiful-is-good stereotype. Two studies (a) assessed prevalence of the stereotype across animated Disney movies; and (b) examined whether exposure to such films influences children's judgments of peers. In Study 1, human characters in 21 films were rated on attractiveness, goodness, and character outcome. Regression analyses demonstrated that attractiveness of a character was a significant predictor of the character's portrayal. In the second study, 42 children (ages 6–12) were exposed to either a high or low beauty-biased film and then rated target peers. Children rated the attractive target more favorably than the less attractive target. However, film exposure did not increase children's use of the stereotype.