Speaking for Academic Purposes

‘Disney’ Creates More Harm than Good in Society
It might seem ridiculous to consider Walt Disney as someone who created more harm than good in our society. Disney: the animator, businessman and producer of movies who formed one of the biggest media companies in the world today. A man who co-created characters that bring happiness to young and old alike; a man whose theme parks act as dating spots in 3 different continents. A man whose Magic Kingdoms have been the birthplaces of love and happiness all over the globe. With ‘love’ being a universal need, and Disney having developed media that promote love, how can ‘Uncle’ Walt, and the organization that created Mickey Mouse, be looked upon as harmful? Perhaps it is because Disney is a complex entity. When judging Disney, we must acknowledge that it refers to 5+ things: i) the man, Walt, ii) films released under his name, iii) a range of theme parks, iv) multiple products related to characters and v) a media empire. Should we consider all aspects of what Disney represents together, or do we need to look at each one differently? Most of you will look at Disney through a Non-Anglo-American context, and possess opinions about how your own culture has been westernized over the past 50 years. Disney has assisted this commercial and cultural process, which has led to a situation where Disney plays a large role in the upbringing of children. From the wide availability of Disney-based consumer goods and their appeal to the young to the content and themes of Disney movies, Disney has helped ‘shape’ young minds for many, many decades. Being a father of a daughter who daily enacts Snow White, Little Mermaid and Alice, I can’t help but wonder about both the Pros and Cons of ‘Disney’. My thoughts are similar to Giroux (1996). Indeed, there have been several questions raised about themes used in Disney, whether through the representation of gender, race or the underrepresentation of ethnic minorities in the movies. There is also the issue of finance: it isn’t cheap to buy into the World of Disney. It isn’t cheap to visit Disney Theme Parks either, especially when you have a family. But isn’t Disney about ‘the young’? And if so, then why is it so expensive? Isn’t it unfair for children, the group who invest most time watching/ being entertained from its media, to have to pay such high prices?

saying 'Chile heel' instead. the song "Arabian Nights" includes: -"Oh I come from a land-From a faraway place-Where they cut off your ear-If they don't like your face. one scene in Fantasia showed a black centaurette (male horse-human) polish the hooves of a white centaurette (female horse-human. Disney stories often reduce the past to a Cultural Homogeneity Disney presents a world free of ideology. Not so bad? He was corrected by a Big White Dog. black slaves are depicted as acting out lives as happy slaves. politics.Notes on Ways Disney Has Created Harmful Effects Race: i) In 3 Little Pigs a wolf is said to disguise himself as a ‘Jewish Salesman’: an ethnic stereotype that led to accusations of racism. and power. viii) This makes the song 'I Want To Be Like You' (that King Louie sings to Mowgli) somewhat troubling. It's barbaric. Books … Merchandising a Story: Rea. viv) In Lady and the Tramp there are ill-chosen depictions of Chinese and Mexicans characters: the cats have slanty. v) More famously. access website! Worker Behaviour: Disneyfication affects employees who now 'entertain' and provide service. Henry Giroux’s Criticisms i) ii) iii) iv) v) Disney's 'cultural authority' replaced traditional learning (books. ii) Gabler (2006) commented on how Disney made racist remarks while making movies.teachers). Disney prioritizes image over demands of critical inquiry/thinking. willing to work for a white master. X) More recently. . but home." Disneyfication (Bryman: 2004): The Disneyfication process changes areas or art through 4 ways: i) ii) iii) iv) Simplifying the theme of an area and a reduction of local cultural forms/differences The Promotion of ‘Hybrid Consumption’ in ONE location: Movies. listen. Clothes. mean-looking dispositions. play. Disney's 'path' leads to facile consumer goods. in Aladdin. iii) He referred to a pile of fallen dwarves as a 'nigger pile' and iv) used the racist term 'pickaninny' on another occasion. while a Chihuahua who speaks in a Mexican accent has trouble saying ‘Achilles heel’. and in vi) Song of the South. vii) And how about The Jungle Book? Miller and Rode (1995) noted that Baloo and King Louis’s tastes and mannerisms were modeled after tastes found within African American culture (such as BeBop Jazz). a film never released in the US in DVD or Video format because of the representation of blacks.

. Ariel disobeys her father and makes a deal with a dangerous witch. Being Yourself: Aladdin’s words to Jasmine: "Just -beeyourself.g. at least. We see the perils of destroying the environment and a promotion of planting trees and the foolishness of over-consumption. The Jungle Book. Disney promotes Social Values that prize and promote lifestyles that are praised and promoted in past and present cultures and societies: ① Promotes the Nuclear Family. but Disney also has heroes and heroines who are not always Caucasian: e. Showing justice and promoting what may be called ‘innocence’ and ‘morality’ are useful for children. these are stories people have wanted for 1000s of years.The Arguments that Disney Creates Beneficial Effects in Society In addition to giving happiness to all age groups through Disney Products and Theme Parks. Happy Endings: We can criticize the use of Happy Endings but they. Princess and the Frog. Mulan and Pocahontas. so although a few same-sex couples should be represented. Safety: Disney promotes safety and to listen to your elders. but knows she was lucky. most of us want a good appearance too: While a lucky few have stereotypically beautiful bodies. there is no problem with showing what is ‘popular’." Promote the idea of being yourself and having responsibilities. If money is available and a suitable mate is found. teach children to believe in hope. Aladdin. and perhaps should have listened to her parents. have children outside marriage or who live with the opposite sex. but also happiness too. the attempt to look good usually makes people confident. many couples continue to wish to start a family. ③ Promotes the Importance of a Good Appearance. for those who don’t. Confidence is more important than image. While some might complain about heterosexual ‘boy meets girl’ stories and ‘happy ever after’ type stories. Equality: Some characters in past Disney stories have represented a stereotypical ‘white’ US perceptions of what is good. Perhaps Disney should use couples who live together before marriage. but it should not ignore what people have wanted for hundreds of years: a happy marriage with kids. The adult world may have plenty of sadness. Most couples are also heterosexual. ② Promotes the Importance of love. Environment: Disney movies possess morals – as in Wall-E. These heroes are both Male and Female. but years for home. Beauty and the Beast) and give ideas about Female Empowerment. Unless I am mistaken. Alice gets lost in a dream. Many lead females are clever and noble (see Tangled.

Socialist Review 24:3 (1995) *** .com http://www. Animating Youth: the Disnification of Children's Culture. Knopf Inc: New York Giroux.References EHow: Disney's Positive Effects on Children | eHow. N (2006) Walt Disney.html#ixzz2O2xLvfVO Gabler. The Triumph of American Imagination. Alfred A.com/info_8191660_disneys-positiveeffects-children.ehow. H (1995).

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