5

Many of Disney Animation Studios movies have had a common theme where the antagonist was a female. From the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, to Cruella DeVille in 101 Dalmations to the Wicked Stepmother in Cinderella to Ursula in The Little Mermaid, the usually male-dominated role of "Bad Guy" has been women.

Does anyone know the reasoning behind this?

  • 9
    Because most if not all were based on fairy tales with wicked witches...or other original stories so you'd have to ask the authors. – Paulie_D Nov 29 '18 at 15:58
  • @Paulie_D Disney is still choosing which stories to tell; and seemingly choosing stories involving a female antagonist. – GendoIkari Nov 29 '18 at 16:23
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    You have a very limited sample over 80 years.... and in the majority of those the protagonist is also female. - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… – Paulie_D Nov 29 '18 at 16:25
  • 1
    By my count it's about 9-10 out of 60ish movies in 80 years....and, again, pretty much all of those were based on external sources (fairy tales and other media) which make them more suited to animation than live action (at least pre-CGI). – Paulie_D Nov 29 '18 at 16:36
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    I'm not saying that someone somewhere didn't [try] to answer this and shouldn't be considered, but rather I think the answer could probably be contested since these films are based on other sources and/or someone at Disney's reasoning could be seen as subterfuge for what a contemporary audience might see as something else, especially when one looks at Disney's current PC "content in media" behavior. I'm very curious though as what your answer is going to be! :D – Darth Locke Nov 29 '18 at 17:10
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They don't.

Here is a list of "official Disney villains" from Wikipedia:

  • Amos Slade (The Fox and the Hound)
  • Big Bad Wolf (Three Little Pigs)
  • Captain Hook (Peter Pan)
  • Chernabog (Fantasia)
  • Cruella de Vil (One Hundred and One Dalmatians)
  • Doctor Facilier (The Princess and the Frog)
  • Edgar Balthazar (The Aristocats)
  • Frollo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
  • Gaston (Beauty and the Beast)
  • Hades (Hercules)
  • Hopper (A Bug's Life)
  • Horned King (The Black Cauldron)
  • Jafar (Aladdin)
  • Lady Tremaine (Cinderella)
  • Madame Medusa (The Rescuers)
  • Madam Mim (The Sword in the Stone)
  • Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)
  • Mother Gothel (Tangled)
  • Percival C. McLeach (The Rescuers Down Under)
  • Pete (Mickey & Co.)
  • Prince John & Sheriff of Nottingham (Robin Hood)
  • Queen Grimhilde (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)
  • Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland)
  • Ratcliffe (Pocahontas)
  • Ratigan (The Great Mouse Detective)
  • Scar (The Lion King)
  • Shan Yu (Mulan)
  • Shere Khan & Kaa (The Jungle Book)
  • Sid Phillips (Toy Story)
  • Stromboli (Pinocchio)
  • Sykes (Oliver & Company)
  • Ursula (The Little Mermaid)
  • Yzma (The Emperor's New Groove)

10 females out of 35.

Edit:

Here is a more complete list I made in chronological order based on this website's list (villains added by me are in italic):

  • Queen Grimhilde (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)
  • Stromboli, Honest John and Gideon (Pinocchio)
  • Chernabog (Fantasia)
  • Lady Tremaine (Cinderella)
  • Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland)
  • Captain Hook (Peter Pan)
  • Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)
  • Cruella de Vil (One Hundred and One Dalmatians)
  • Madam Mim (The Sword in the Stone)
  • Shere Khan & Kaa (The Jungle Book)
  • Edgar Balthazar (The Aristocats)
  • Madame Medusa & Mr. Snoops (The Rescuers)
  • Amos Slade (The Fox and the Hound)
  • Horned King (The Black Cauldron)
  • Ratigan (The Great Mouse Detective)
  • Sykes (Oliver & Company)
  • Ursula (The Little Mermaid)
  • Percival C. McLeach (The Rescuers Down Under)
  • Gaston & LeFou (Beauty and the Beast)
  • Jafar & Iago (Aladdin)
  • Scar (The Lion King)
  • Ratcliffe (Pocahontas)
  • Frollo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
  • Hades (Hercules)
  • Shan Yu (Mulan)
  • Clayton (Tarzan)
  • Kron (Dinosaur)
  • Yzma (The Emperor's New Groove)
  • Rourke & Helga Sinclair (Atlantis: The Lost Empire)
  • Gantu (Lilo & Stitch)
  • Scroop (Treasure Planet)
  • Alameda Slim (Home on the Range)
  • Doris (Meet the Robinsons)
  • Agent (Bolt)
  • Doctor Facilier (The Princess and the Frog)
  • Mother Gothel (Tangled)
  • Turbo (Wreck-It Ralph)
  • Hans (Frozen)
  • Bellwether (Zootopia)

13 females out of 50.

Note that I only listed "main antagonists".

  • 5
    But do they pay their villainesses as much as their villains? – sanpaco Nov 29 '18 at 23:37
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    It would be interesting to see these in chronological order... – Kwola-T Nov 30 '18 at 2:05
  • ...and also a list of Disney protagonists? – Kwola-T Nov 30 '18 at 2:07
  • @Kwola-T I agree. I'll work on the list when I have the time today. – Julien Lopez Nov 30 '18 at 7:05
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    @JohnnyBones Possibly. Maybe write another question in that sense then? ;-) It will probably be too broad though, unless maybe if you restrict it to animation studios. – Julien Lopez Nov 30 '18 at 16:07

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