Themes of Patriarchy and Masculinity in 'The Lion King'

This essay sample was donated by a student to help the academic community. Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students' samples.

Cite this essay cite-image

My absolute favorite movie growing up was ‘The Lion King’. I had this movie engrained in my mind because I watched it often, every night my parents read it to me before bed and I listened to a cassette tape of it while I slept. The young lion cub Simba is tricked by his uncle Scar into thinking he murdered his family is exiled from the kingdom. In his adulthood he learns his identity and his right to the throne and realizes he must do something about it because his uncle Scar has taken over and destroyed everything. Simba then returns back to Pride Rock, defeats Scar, and takes his father’s place as king. I believe Disney films play a large role in the culture of children, and this one represents patriarchy, and small representation of females.

All of the animals who led Pride Rock were males, Mufasa, Scar and Simba, while the females played secondary roles. This representation of males as leaders is patriarchal. Not only could only the males lead the kingdom, you have to come from biological hierarchy. It almost incorporates the perspective that power comes from biological superiority. The lionesses took care of the lion cubs and did all the hunting. They are portrayed as the weaker sex and have to wait around to be saved by Simba. This concept represents women waiting around for men to save them and lead them. These gender roles in a family represent the bread winner husband and homemaker wife. Masculinity plays a large role in ‘The Lion King’ as well. Simba is told to forget about the past and move on. He is never given the chance to internalize what happened to his father or really express his emotions about it. It is not until Rafiki comes along and hits him on the head is when Simba realizes who he truly is and what his father meant to him. This represents how emotions have been traditionally gender marked towards females. Boys tend to be discouraged from full range of expression. The scene where Simba and Scar fight for the role of leader of Pride Rock also embodies masculinity. The aggression and violence in that scene proves who is the real ‘man’ or lion. Whoever is the toughest and strongest is allowed to rule Pride Rock. This affirms gender roles of men being assertive, tough and dominant in society. Boys are taught that to be the masters of their jobs, people and nature, and ‘The Lion King’ portrays these distinct gender roles.

Save your time!
We can take care of your essay
  • Proper editing and formatting
  • Free revision, title page, and bibliography
  • Flexible prices and money-back guarantee
Place an order

Sexuality also plays a part in this Disney film; heterosexuality and a little snippet of homosexuality are represented in this. Heterosexuality has a larger impact with Mufasa and Sarabi, and Simba and Nala. Those heterosexual relationships are more prominent and obvious with the love scene between Simba and Nala and Mufasa and Sarabi having a child, Simba. Homosexuality in the film is on the back burner. Scar seems to obviously in my opinion be homosexual. This is represented through stereotypical ways like his snarky sense of humor, the way he talks with his hands/paws and his physical appearance. Mufasa is a bigger more built lion, while Scar is skinnier and smaller in size. Scar also talks about how he detests Mufasa and Sarabi’s relationship and the birth of Simba, which could point to him being homosexual.

Many people have also spoken about the issue of race in ‘The Lion King’. The three hyenas are all portrayed by black people. The hyenas are represented as the bottom of the food chain, stupid and mangy poachers. They producers made them look like gangsters who bullied and scared away Nala and Simba with references to black and ghetto culture.

Throughout this film representations of race, gender and sexuality are present, but patriarchy and masculinity were the leading characteristics. The male lions are the leaders and the women are only capable of raising the cubs and finding food. This film may be just a cartoon but there are underlying messages of patriarchy and masculinity.

Make sure you submit a unique essay

Our writers will provide you with an essay sample written from scratch: any topic, any deadline, any instructions.

Cite this paper

Themes of Patriarchy and Masculinity in ‘The Lion King’. (2022, December 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 22, 2024, from
“Themes of Patriarchy and Masculinity in ‘The Lion King’.” Edubirdie, 15 Dec. 2022,
Themes of Patriarchy and Masculinity in ‘The Lion King’. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 Jun. 2024].
Themes of Patriarchy and Masculinity in ‘The Lion King’ [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Dec 15 [cited 2024 Jun 22]. Available from:

Join our 150k of happy users

  • Get original paper written according to your instructions
  • Save time for what matters most
Place an order

Fair Use Policy

EduBirdie considers academic integrity to be the essential part of the learning process and does not support any violation of the academic standards. Should you have any questions regarding our Fair Use Policy or become aware of any violations, please do not hesitate to contact us via

Check it out!
search Stuck on your essay?

We are here 24/7 to write your paper in as fast as 3 hours.