I doubt people actually really look into Disney movies or shows, they just find the comedic relief and the cute little animated story line. Disney is a great example of a corporation that has control over all forms of mass media. They control, produce, self-promote, and partner up with other big foundations. Disney is a transnational media conglomerate, they are world-known and can be found everywhere and anywhere constantly. They have mastered the aspect of globalization with their entertainment. If mentioned to a group of random ethnicities and asked if they have watched the Lion King, I promise you that the majority, if not all of them
will have seen that movie. (Disney’s taking over).
In class we watched Mickey Mouse Monopoly which is all about criticizing and critiquing all that is wrong when really looked into the “innocent” Disney movies. I really found this movie shocking but enjoyable because I really learned a lot about Disney’s production and it got me thinking. It was so thought provoking because it brought up the controversial issues around the world such as gender roles, sexism, racism and more. They can do this because they have unprecedented control over what we see and can shape how we think and is currently shaping the children’s imaginations. A woman in this film presents the question “Is this what we want our kids to see or think?” I don’t know about you but I will make it clear to my child that this is not how you should be thinking in certain situations instead of them getting brainwashed.
Let us now bring up some movies and problems we run into: I definitely can see how gender roles are made in Disney movies to be very sexist. In the movie Aladdin, Walt Disney productions is teaching women to be seductive and use their body to manipulate men. Guaranteed this does work out for her in the movie but can be very dangerous in real life. Also it is taught that women lack the ability to save themselves, think about it, men are always coming in to be the hero and save the helpless girl (such as Shrek or Toy Story). In this film about behind Mickey Mouse, they bring up a good point about Beauty and a Beast and how the message portrayed can be dangerous. The ‘beast’ is being very violent and mean to Belle and it is teaching children to stand up to abusive relationships and just be loving back to find the good in them. This message can put the children in a really dangerous situation which is not what we want to happen. Racism is brought up in many different movies such as Tarzan, The Jungle Book, and Lady and the Tramp. In Lady and the Tramp the producers are writing out the siamese cats to be very stereotypical oriental and an offended woman spoke out about it in the film. The fact that the child that was talked about in the film compared the ‘scary’ hyenas from the Lion King to African Americans laughing really baffled me and I cannot believe that this is the message generations are learning. Children should not associate cultures or ethnicities to animals and this really taught me the racism in Disney movies.
My advice would be to let your children watch these movies if they want to but also be invested in making it clear to them about the problems that can arise from these actions. Just always be aware of the messages they are being taught because children are innocent to the world and they are learning everyday through this type of media.