Watching this movie in class truly opened my eyes on Disney. As most people, I grew up watching Disney movies, and therefore I love them. But I had never analyzed them and realized what a bad influence they can have on children.
Almost everyone agrees to say that Disney is absorbed as entertainment, but is it mere entertainment value?
While some people watch Disney movies to just feel the magic, others have given it more thought.
Let’s take a moment to see other meanings.
Walt Disney has a powerful force in creating childhood. Does that power give them responsibilities? Disney hides behind innocence and most people treat those movies like the ultimate form of fantasy, what they forget is how Walt Disney’s conglomerate impacts children’s lives. They have enormous power as they are a global storyteller for children.
Children develop their personality depending on what they grow up with. Do we want our children to grow up with Disney movies?
These movies turn out to be racist and sexist. They define gender roles and body image that are far away from reality. Disney wraps those up into a magical story and sells it to children.
All Disney movies define feminism in a way that hardly reflects reality, and makes every little girl want to look that way. Body image is described as extremely important but every Disney princess has a waist so tiny that it cannot be natural. Also, they give the image that girls need to use their body in order to get what they want in life and to manipulate men.
Gender roles are defined so that women stay at home, cook and clean the house while men work (for example Snow white)
Moreover it shows little girls that they are weak and have to be saved by a strong man; they obviously cannot be happy if not in a relationship with a prince charming! In Mulan it shows that a woman’s first purpose is to get married and obey men’s orders.
Men, on the other side, have to be handsome and full of muscles. But most of all they shall run to the defense of the damsel in distress.
Disney movies also promote racism.
Latinos always commit a crime and are treated like dogs, black people are inferior and want to be man but never will be (mostly represented by gorillas). In Tarzan for example, they eliminated all black people from Africa, they are just gorillas and White people come as civilized to colonize them.
In Aladin, they show Arabs as barbarians and everything they show them doing is actually against Islam.
In Peter Pan they just mock Indians throughout the entire movie, which is utterly disrespectful!
But Disney movies can also have the consequence of making children believe that it is how a story happened when reality was completely different.
Pocahontas is a good example as they alter the real story. They show Native Americans as savages and deny genocide.
Children will not understand the history and culture of a country if they believe that the Disney movie Pocahontas is the real history.
It is just recently that Disney has gotten just a little better. Tangled shows a strong woman who can take care of herself (although she still needs to be in a relationship to be happy). In The princess and the frog, there was finally a black protagonist (but she is not a princess: just a waiter, and still has to rely on a strong prince charming to realize her dreams of opening a restaurant).
Overall, I am still a huge fan of Disney movies, and I don’t think I was affected by any of those as I grew up in a stable environment and received an open minded education, but I can understand how some children’s life can be affected by what they see.
When exposing their children to too much Disney, parents should be conscious that they still have to explain how reality is to their children, and not let them think that these movies reflect real life.