Menus Subscribe Search

Sociological Images

frozen

Frozen. (PHOTO: COURTESY OF WALT DISNEY STUDIOS)

Help, My Eyeball Is Bigger Than My Wrist!

• December 19, 2013 • 4:00 PM

Frozen. (PHOTO: COURTESY OF WALT DISNEY STUDIOS)

Gender dimorphism in Disney’s Frozen.

I can’t offer much in the crowded field of Disney gender criticism. But I do want to update my running series on the company’s animated gender dimorphism. The latest installment is Frozen.

Just when I was wondering what the body dimensions of the supposedly-human characters were, the script conveniently supplied the dimorphism money-shot: hand-in-hand romantic leads, with perfect composition for both eye-size and hand-size comparisons (above).

With the gloves you can’t compare the hands exactly, but you get the idea. And the eyes? Yes, her eyeball actually has a wider diameter than her wrist.

Giant eyes and tiny hands symbolize femininity in Disneyland.

While I’m at at, I may as well include Brave in the series. Unless I have repressed it, there is no romance story for the female lead in that movie, but there are some nice comparison shots of her parents:

3-32

Go ahead, give me some explanation about the different gene pools of the rival clans from which Merida’s parents came.

Since I first complained about this regarding Tangled, I have updated the story to include Gnomeo and Juliet. You can check those posts for more links to research (and see also this essay on human versus animal dimorphism by Lisa Wade). To just refresh the image file, though, here are the key images. From Tangled:

4-gender

From Gnomeo:

5-41

At this point I think the evidence suggests that Disney favors compositions in which women’s hands are tiny compared to men’s, especially when they are in romantic relationships.

REAL WRIST-SIZE ADDENDUM
How do real men’s and women’s wrist sizes differ? I looked at seven studies on topics ranging from carpal tunnel syndrome to judo mastery, and found a range of averages for women of 15.4cm to 16.3cm, and for men of 17.5cm to 18.1cm (in both cases the judo team had the thickest wrists).

‘Then I found this awesome anthropometric survey of U.S. Army personnel from 1988. In that sample (almost 4,000, chosen to match the age, gender, and race/ethnic composition of the Army), the averages were 15.1cm for women and 17.4cm for men. Based on the detailed percentiles listed, I made this chart of the distributions:

6-51

The average difference between men’s and women’s wrists in this Army sample is 2.3cm, or a ratio of 1.15-to-1. However, if you took the smallest-wristed woman (12.9cm) and the largest-wristed man (20.4cm), you could get a difference of 7.5cm, or a ratio of 1.6-to-1. Without being able to hack into the Disney animation servers with a tape measure I can’t compare them directly, but from the pictures it looks like these couples have differences greater than the most extreme differences found in the U.S. Army.


This post originally appeared on Sociological Images, a Pacific Standard partner site.

Philip N. Cohen
Philip N. Cohen is a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland-College Park, and writes the blog Family Inequality.

More From Philip N. Cohen

A weekly roundup of the best of Pacific Standard and PSmag.com, delivered straight to your inbox.

Recent Posts

September 12 • 4:00 PM

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Plastic Bags

California wants you to pay for your plastic bags. (FYI: That’s not an infringement on your constitutional rights.)


September 12 • 2:00 PM

Should We Trust the Hearts of White People?

On the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, revisiting a clip of James Baldwin on the Dick Cavett Show.


September 12 • 12:00 PM

Big Government, Happy Citizens?

You may like to talk about how much happier you’d be if the government didn’t interfere with your life, but that’s not what the research shows.


September 12 • 10:00 AM

Whispering in the Town Square: Can Twitter Provide an Escape From All Its Noise?

Twitter has created its own buzzing, digital agora, but when users want to speak amongst themselves, they tend to leave for another platform. It’s a social network that helps you find people to talk to—but barely lets you do any talking.


September 12 • 9:03 AM

How Ancient DNA Is Rewriting Human History

We thought we knew how we’d been shaped by evolution. We were wrong.


September 12 • 8:02 AM

Give Yourself a Present for the Future

Psychologists discover that we underestimate the value of looking back.


September 12 • 8:00 AM

I Walked Through the Financial Crisis

Why are former Wall Street employees guiding tourists around the Financial District? Paul Hiebert signed himself up and tried to find out.


September 12 • 7:05 AM

Scams, Scams, Everywhere


September 12 • 6:17 AM

In Soccer as in Art, Motifs Matter

A new study suggests a way to quantitatively measure a team’s style through its pass flow. It may become another metric used to evaluate potential recruits.


September 12 • 4:00 AM

Comfort Food Is a Myth

New research finds that, contrary to our beliefs, such foods don’t have any special ability to improve our moods.



September 11 • 4:00 PM

Reading the Camouflage Uniforms in Ferguson: ‘You Are Now Enemy Combatants’

Why are police officers wearing green or desert camouflage in a suburban environment?


September 11 • 2:00 PM

Wage Theft: How Two States Are Fighting Against Companies That Categorize Employees as Independent Contractors

New York and Illinois have passed hard-nosed laws and taken an aggressive tack toward misclassification.


September 11 • 11:03 AM

Yes, I’m a Good Person. But Did You Hear About Her?

A new study tracks how people experience moral issues in everyday life.


September 11 • 11:00 AM

Searching for Everyday Morality

Experimenters use text messages to study morality beyond the lab.


September 11 • 8:00 AM

The Geography of Uber

If it continues to grow—and there are few reasons to think it won’t—will Uber transform the infrastructure of cities or glom onto what’s already there?



September 11 • 6:05 AM

One Man’s Search for an Orgasmic Life Force

It remains unclear what “orgone” actually is, but Wilhelm Reich thought you could find it by sitting inside a box.


September 11 • 4:03 AM

Jack the Ripper’s DNA: Was Aaron Kosminski Behind the Whitechapel Murders?

Russell Edwards says he’s solved the mystery. His proof might be a little threadbare.



September 10 • 4:00 PM

The Average White American’s Social Network Is Just One Percent Black

And three-quarters of white Americans report that they haven’t had a meaningful conversation with a single non-white person in the last six months.


September 10 • 2:00 PM

Eye on the Fly

The tiny fruit fly has been beloved by developmental biologists for more than a century. Turing patterns may yet explain its shape.


September 10 • 10:02 AM

Why Do Women Earn Less as Mothers and Men Earn More as Fathers?

For women, becoming a parent means you can expect to earn even less over your lifetime—unless you’re Marissa Mayer.



September 10 • 7:00 AM

Is Back Pain Ruining Your Sex Life?

You might be doing it wrong.


Follow us


Big Government, Happy Citizens?

You may like to talk about how much happier you'd be if the government didn't interfere with your life, but that's not what the research shows.

Give Yourself a Present for the Future

Psychologists discover that we underestimate the value of looking back.

In Soccer as in Art, Motifs Matter

A new study suggests a way to quantitatively measure a team’s style through its pass flow. It may become another metric used to evaluate potential recruits.

Searching for Everyday Morality

Experimenters use text messages to study morality beyond the lab.

Is Back Pain Ruining Your Sex Life?

You might be doing it wrong.

The Big One

One country—Turkey—produces more than 70 percent of the world's hazelnuts. September/October 2014 new-big-one-2

Copyright © 2014 by Pacific Standard and The Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media, and Public Policy. All Rights Reserved.