Date of Award

Spring 2020

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Honors Bachelor of Arts


Critical Media and Cultural Studies


Dr. Steven Schoen

Committee Member

Dr. Stacey Coffman-Rosen

Committee Member

Dr. Wendy Brandon


In this paper, I apply feminist and critical theories through the use of autoethnography and textual analysis to explore how my past consumption of Disney Channel Original Movies (DCOM) has worked to influence my gender identity, reinforce my white, middle-class, and heterosexual privilege, and undermine my agency as a woman. I situate myself as a feminist critical media scholar who is eager to understand my gender identity and move forward with more agency towards my gender expression and consciousness in my media consumption. I am building on the work of other Disney researchers and critical cultural scholars to argue that the cyclical nature of watching and imitating the characters and musical numbers shown in movies such as The Cheetah Girls (2003), High School Musical (2006), and Camp Rock (2008), has influenced in powerful ways the gender identities of the young girls who watched them. DCOM movies specialized in presenting a postfeminist-utopian version of girlhood that restricted the narratives available to young viewers.

Rights Holder

Maura Leaden