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The Absent Mother: Missing Mother Figure

One of the most prevalent themes of Disney films is the absence of the mother. Which is quite disturbing. The mother figure is always kind and maternal, before she dies.  How horrendous for young children, seriously!

It's not like this is a one-time deal. Disney has this in the majority of their films.. let's see.

Dumbo.. Momma elephant leaves poor little Dumbo.

BAMBI - Most notorious for the hunting of Bambi's mother - probably one of the most tear-shedding moments in the history of film..

The Little Mermaid - We never hear a word about the mother.. just about controlling over-bearing King Triton who dictates what Ariel can and cannot do.  Would the sea witch count as a mother figure? but she's just terrible and cruel, so.. no thanks.

Pocahontas - She has a father who is totally against the idea of her running off with John Smith but no mother in sight to have any opinion in the matter. The only mother figure is a grandmother old tree. What??

Beauty and the Beast - A smart intelligent girl with a slightly lunatic crazy inventor father with no actual mother or mention of her mother.. Why?

Snow White - Again. no mother, just a dad who passes away.. and an evil STEP-mother, jealous of Snow White's beauty to the point where she hires a huntsman to kill Snow White and later tries to poison her...

Cinderella - Wait, are there even any parents in that film? All I remember is again, an evil step-mother trying to ruin Cinderella's life because she's so beautiful and a threat to her two legitimate daughters.


The only mother figures in Disney films are cruel, horrible and evil.  Whereas the mothers are completely absent with no voice or even a mention of their history.  It's a very strange thing that exists in nearly every Disney movie. In fact, I can't think of any movie where there's a mother with a role. Hell, even The Lion King, there's no lioness mother. WHAT? WHY CAN'T WE HAVE ANIMAL MOTHERS? 

I am very sad now.  I think I'll write a new movie script and submit it to Disney. but if I want any success at all, I'll have to erase the mother and add in some evil step-mother, since that seems to be the running theme after all.


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Mike V.

This has been discussed over and over and while you are correct, that there is an absence of a mother (and father) figure in many Disney movies, it is because the hero must learn to face obstacles on their own.

Even in the movies where the hero or heroine has parents, they need to learn a life lesson on their own. In the case of Hercules, he had two sets of parents. He had easy access to one set of parents and had a way of talking to his biological father, Zeus. But the only time he would talk to him was to vent or to be told that he had not done enough. To a certain extent, his father figure was an obstacle himself.

It would be a boring movie if the protagonist asked for advice at the crux of every movie, then proceed to followed the advice to a desired outcome.

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