Beauty and the Beast : The Disney trope of short fathers

The Disney trope of short fathers

Surely every avid Disney film watcher is aware of this seldom mentioned phenomenon. When the heroine's father is not a king or a chieftain, he is usually a short, befuddled character. And we're not just talking short as in, a little below average height. We're talking short as in, barely reaches their daughter's shoulder. The most obvious examples of this are, of course, Belle and Maurice, Jasmine and the Sultan, and Jane and Archimedes. I'm not sure why Disney likes to do this. I know they tend to give comical characters exaggerated features. Maurice, at least, has a sturdy build; the Sultan, while chubby, is basically a cream puff; and Archimedes, of course, is skinny. Jane's forearms are even bigger than his.

I don't think we saw the trope again until 2009's A Christmas Carol, in which Martha Cratchit towers over Bob. In the scene where she jumps out of the closet to surprise her father, I half-expected her to lift him off the ground in a bear hug, she was so much bigger than him. I know in the novel Bob is described as "little," but to have his eldest daughter tower over him seemed a little excessive.

Re: The Disney trope of short fathers

Isn't the Sultan in "Aladdin" on the same level as a king or chieftain though??

Re: The Disney trope of short fathers

I noticed that too. The Sultan, Maurice and Jane's father are all rather short in appearance.

Avenged Sevenfold and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fan

Re: The Disney trope of short fathers

Don't forget the King in Cinderella and Phillip's father in Sleeping Beauty.

Seize the moment, 'cause tomorrow you might be dead.

Re: The Disney trope of short fathers

Then there's this guy.

https://a.dilcdn.com/bl/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2015/04/triton-and-ariel-arguing.jpg

Half-Blood 15
After all, tomorrow is another day ~ Gone with the Wind

Re: The Disney trope of short fathers

Indeed. During the Disney Renaissance, the girl's father would always belong to one of two set types:
1: tall and serious (Triton, Powhatan, Fa Zhou).
or...
2: short and goofy (Maurice, the sultan, Professor Porter).

But it seems like since Hercules was a guy, his father (Zeus) could be a blend of these two types: tall and majestic, but still a bit goofy.

Yeah, you have to wonder how the short fathers managed to get such tall daughters. But I guess that we're just supposed to laugh at it and enjoy the story anyway.

Intelligence and purity.

Re: The Disney trope of short fathers

Just my opinion, but I noticed Disney films (and even other kids movies) choose to present parental figures as non-threatening and non-sexual. Perhaps because this his how pre-adolescent audiences perceive their own parents, filmmakers think by presenting parental figures in this manner makes them more palatable?

Also, genetics can be such weird thing, but I would assume a man who fathered a beauty like Belle would be reasonably attractive himself - perhaps looking like an older version of Gaston or Prince Adam. She could, of course, received her beauty from her mother; however, I would still assume her father was average in height and build, and not unusually short the way Maurice was. But going along with my other point, perhaps it is easier to make the distinction between the parental figure and the love interest by greatly contrasting how they look.

Re: The Disney trope of short fathers

Also, genetics can be such weird thing, but I would assume a man who fathered a beauty like Belle would be reasonably attractive himself - perhaps looking like an older version of Gaston or Prince Adam.

People lose their looks with age though. Her father was white-haired and pudgy, but perhaps in his prime he wasn't so unattractive.

Re: The Disney trope of short fathers


Just my opinion, but I noticed Disney films (and even other kids movies) choose to present parental figures as non-threatening and non-sexual. Perhaps because this his how pre-adolescent audiences perceive their own parents, filmmakers think by presenting parental figures in this manner makes them more palatable?

Also, genetics can be such weird thing, but I would assume a man who fathered a beauty like Belle would be reasonably attractive himself - perhaps looking like an older version of Gaston or Prince Adam. She could, of course, received her beauty from her mother; however, I would still assume her father was average in height and build, and not unusually short the way Maurice was. But going along with my other point, perhaps it is easier to make the distinction between the parental figure and the love interest by greatly contrasting how they look.

What you will notice about all the short Disney fathers (Maurice, the sultan, Professor Porter) is that they will be, more or less, comic relief. Most of the taller fathers will be much more serious and not comical at all. So I guess that by making a character short, it will somehow make him look funnier?

Intelligence and purity.

Re: The Disney trope of short fathers


What you will notice about all the short Disney fathers (Maurice, the sultan, Professor Porter) is that they will be, more or less, comic relief. Most of the taller fathers will be much more serious and not comical at all. So I guess that by making a character short, it will somehow make him look funnier?


true. Maybe it's not that deep, folks. It's just how cartoons are: big = imposing. Small/short = funny.

Re: The Disney trope of short fathers

Yep, and they all have white hair as well.

My Reviews: https://m.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLbYVmhjEJi9UAB4pZqseAGM9CSmMooF0n

Re: The Disney trope of short fathers

And there's never a mother. Typical Disney protagonists are orphans, or are being raised by a short, round, childlike father.

This is to give the protagonist a degree of freedom and independence that most children or youths don't have. Because a kid just can't have real adventures without independence! No, if Belle or Cinderella or Aladdin had two loving and involved and fully adult parents, they'd protect the kid and keep them away the dangers they will face during the course of the film.


“Seventy-seven courses and a regicide, never a wedding like it!
Top