Disney’s ‘Zootopia’ ads promote gender stereotypes

So I’m reading the new Us Weekly with Eva Longoria on the cover, and on page 32 I see a promotion for Disney’s upcoming movie “Zootopia.” The ad features a super-skinny gazelle girl, staring at me submissively, blonde curls flopping in her face. She wears super high pink heels, sparkly leg warmers to match a sparky dress with a hem so high I can almost see her privates.


Right across from the sexy gazelle, page 33 shows another promotion for the movie. This one features 4 male characters. All get to be fully clothed in T-shirts and pants. They are in action poses, doing yoga. In spite of their exercise, they also get to be chubby. I guess this is how males get “red carpet ready.”


Let’s hope the 4 to 1 ratio in these ads is not reflective of the gender ratio in the actual movie, but my hopes are low given that in most movies for kids, females are reduced to the Minority Feisty role.

My three daughters and I were excited to go to “Zootropia.” We saw the preview, it looked pretty funny, but this ad has me gagging. Even if kids don’t see the movie, this sexy gazelle will be unavoidable. She will be a toy, a halloween costume, an image in a T-shirt, a band-air, a sippy cup, or a diaper. Disney, please stop exposing children to gender stereotypes where females bodies are valued for how they appear while male bodies are valued for what they can do. Portraying females as sex objects while males get to be funny and have fun is so misogynistic. The problem isn’t that you rely on this trope once, or twice, or a even a few times, but that gender stereotypes are a repeated pattern in most of your movies. Don’t you want to be more creative?

Update: I turned the page! Look what’s on page 34, surprise, surprise. Another fully clothed male character.


If Judy Hopps, a police officer, is one of the main characters, why isn’t she in an ad? Why the sexy gazelle? Because, I imagine, the sexy gazelle is a sexy gazelle and that’s how Disney wants to sell the movie. Gross.

After I did 3 minutes of research on the movie, I had to blog AGAIN about more sexism in “Zootopia.” Read my new blog: If we can imagine talking bunnies as police in ‘Zootopia,’ why can’t we imagine gender equality?

7 thoughts on “Disney’s ‘Zootopia’ ads promote gender stereotypes

  1. Hey, that “Gazelle” character is based on a real person, gerbals are normaly fat, and a fully clothed bear is unrealistic even if it was a male or female, you are simply making a mountain out of a heap of sand.

    • Hi Dirkie,

      Is the real person you’re referring to Shakira? She thought the gazelle was too skinny and wanted animators to make her hips wider.


  2. Regarding “nudity” in the film, I didn’t notice anything, but I also wasn’t looking at clothes. In fact, there’s a very funny scene where “nudity” is involved, but it isn’t gender-specific and, well, you just have to see it! 🙂

  3. Again, please don’t judge a book by its cover, so to speak. I think unfortunately that this one of those “bargains with the devil” that Disney has made, or it belies a battle between their creative and marketing sides, where their marketing side believes (wrongly) that it must cater mostly to male potential moviegoers, and so they do this crap in the marketing that doesn’t actually reveal accurately the tone/content of the film. I wish they didn’t do this of course, but I think (hope) you guys will like the movie MUCH more than the marketing!

    • Hi Levi,

      Marketing is it’s own beast and it goes way beyond “the cover.” Marketing defines everything from clothes kids wear toys they play with. Have you not followed the #wheresRey movement? As I wrote in the post, all kids won’t see the movie. They will all see the marketing.


      • Yep, I agree, I just thought it sounded like you were making assumptions about the movie itself, or at least guessing that it would be as bad as the marketing is, so I did want to at least share that I don’t think it is. As for the gazelle, again, she’s a minor character, but I don’t see ANY of the major characters, male or female, in the images you’ve posted for what it’s worth. But yeah, I think in all of these movies, the studios need to stop pandering to the idea that they can’t feature a female character prominently in the marketing material (except in a sexually suggestive way) for fear of alienating boys. They seem to want to break the stereotypes in the movies themselves (at least in many more recent ones), but at the same time can’t go all the way for fear that they need to “trick” boys into seeing something that has a female protagonist. It is really annoying and depressing…

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