As an examination of the portrayal of characters with disabilities in Disney animated feature-length films, this study examines Disney films through an ideological analysis, specifically with a postcolonial view. Disability studies, in general, focus on the separation of individuals with disabilities from society and the stigmatization, via stereotypes, these individuals face (Garland Thomson, 2003; Smith, 2007). By studying disability in Disney, this paper gives particular attention to the way the non-disabled characters treat the individuals with disabilities. It emphasizes the presences of stigmatization and stereotyping in four Disney films. Analysis focuses on four central Disney characters: Nemo, Quasimodo, Captain Hook, and Dumbo, all of whom display significant physical disabilities. Significant conclusions include unrealistic representations of disabilities regarding physical appearance, obstacles, and treatment by society. Also, there is a lack of characters without redeeming qualities, unless they are a supercrip, in these four Disney animated films.


Moreland, Jennifer


Communication Studies


Broadcast and Video Studies


disability, disney, stigma

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2013 Dana L. Feit