Disney… who hasn’t seen one of their movies when they were younger? Probably very few of us. Now the real question is how does having grown with this Disney culture change our perceptions in real life?
Whether you want it or not, Disney movies have a very particular way of presenting certain elements of life. And most of us don’t even notice it until we get old enough.
Disney movies have a lot of common themes. First of all, all these movies contain a princess and a prince that saves the situation. Now this is extremely important. Which little girl does not want to be a princess when they grow up? They all do. Why? Because that’s what we have been showing them ever since they were little.
Also Disney movies promote the same body image: Very slim and big boobs. So the child’s perception of beauty is probably based on what movies he or she is watching. When they are little they are mostly watching Disney.
Moreover these movies show gender roles. Women are weak; they stay at home, clean the house and get saved by the prince. That is basically all they have to do. Boys on the other hand are strong, always out of the house and the only time they come is when they have to save the princess and then marry her. Children base their lives off of movies and this is probably why little girls play with dolls and mini kitchens when little boys play prince with little swords. Already when they are little children pick up those gender roles.
So even if they don’t notice it, children reproduce what they can see. I grew up with Disney and for as long as I remember I never thought about all those themes. I used to like to play princess and dream of my prince charming that would come save me and then marry me.
Although I loved Disney movies, my parents were the opposite example. I grew up in a house where my father helped clean as much as my mother and my mother worked (maybe not as much as my father). So I never really thought about the image of gender roles promoted by Disney. I am pretty sure you learn early in life that you are not a princess and no prince charming is coming to marry you. And this is why I never really had this dream after I past 6 or 7 years old. And finally the body image Disney promotes does not correspond to reality at all, and having real people in front of you all day makes you realize that you do not have to be anorexic to be pretty.
So I am almost sure I can say Disney did not really influence my life and my perceptions of “real life”.
Disney is present everywhere. From the movies to the stuffed animals to tee-shirts and sheets, I think this is how they create a worldwide culture for children as well as parents. Even if Disney does not reflect reality at all, it is a dream. Going to Disneyland for a day immerges you into the Disney culture and makes you remember your childhood and all the princess stories. Adults like to go to Disneyland for the attractions, children to see the princesses, but at the end of the day everyone has a great time.
I believe that if parents are present to keep children in phase with real life, watching Disney movies is not a problem. But if parents promote what Disney says by telling their children that this is how it’s going to be later on, then their children might have problems growing up.