If you’re still letting your kids fill their heads with the propaganda spread by Disney, it’s time to enlighten yourself to the dangers. Walt Disney began his company in order to share his love of fun and creativity with children and adults. From the company’s creation, it has given entertainment to the world from movies, television shows, toys, games, and much more. It’s hard to see this huge company as anything less than inspiring and full of wonder.
As gender equality, oppression, and advertising become an issue and concern for the majority of the population over the years, Disney has been hit with multiple accusations of following outdated gender expectations, drowning our kids with overzealous advertisement, and butchering the long-time tradition of fairy tales. They have attempted to issue changes to their stories, by widening them to include more modern understandings. However, these alterations are not deep enough to well represent our world today.
Disney sets forth multiple standards that are outdated and difficult to accept for most individuals living in the 21st century. Children are sponges, taking in everything from their surroundings, especially when these things are geared towards them. Take control of this information by diving into their favourite movie Disney flick and studying the messages being produced. Parents need to sit down with their kids and watch these films to point out when the characters make good or bad choices. Especially with older Disney films that do not represent today’s social spectrum. It’s time to take control of your child’s entertainment and start fresh with inspiring characters and stories.
10. Unrealistic Expectations
Many popular Disney characters often get whatever they want. This particular storyline teaches children that focusing on your goals and working hard towards them isn’t necessary, as they will always unfold without trial or error. For example, Cinderella in the famous Disney movie named after herself, is given everything her heart desires by her fairy godmother. While Cinderella works hard everyday to satisfy her evil stepmother and stepsisters’ requests, she does not put the necessary effort and focus into delivering herself from their clutches. Disney is sending out the message that in order to relieve yourself from a difficult situation, you must play victim and wait for your hero to come and save you. A more empowering message, especially for young girls who identify with Cinderella, would be to take control of your own fate and circumstances by standing up for yourself and creating your own path.
9. Stereotypical Gender Roles
There is a terrible trend in Disney of following outdated and patriarchal gender roles. Females are dressed in pretty dresses, marry the man of their dreams, and have servants to carry out their errands and needs. Males are handsome, expected to be the hero, and lack a wide range of emotions. In order for Disney to move forward in the 21st century, they need to re-examine their gender roles to widen the experience for girls and boys. Adventure and risk is not only for young men, but for females as well. Deep emotions of love and compassion should be celebrated my young men without making them seem like wimps. For example, the new hit movie Frozen has been praised for their empowered young women characters. However, their positive messages is almost an afterthought as the girls finally make the “right” choices during the last 15 minutes of the movie.
8. Butchery of Fairy Tales
We all know that most Disney movies are drawn from fairy tales as old as time. What most of us don’t know, are the severe differences between the original stories and the butchered versions put out by Disney’s staff. Often, the details omitted can help children better understand the impact of death, cruelty, and life itself. By removing details, the writers are not doing justice to the tales’ traditions and history. For example, in the original Snow White, the beautiful maiden is visited by her wicked stepmother multiple times before being fooled by her poisoned apple. The editing done to the original story not only destroys the genuinity of the fairy tale, but also portrays Snow White as a weak and gullible person. If Disney would respect the original stories, perhaps they could create stronger characters and storylines.
7. Targets Children to Sell Merchandise
It’s in the grocery aisle, fast food restaurants, and littered all over television and internet. Disney’s marketing campaign hides in every nook and cranny of everyday life. From a very young age, your toddler is bombarded with logos and advertisements aimed for children and your money. Diapers are covered with images and ads, creating a familiar image for your child who will be able to recognize Winnie the Pooh before they know the difference between a circle and a square. Meals at popular fast food places give your child a “free” toy with every meal, which is really just a way to get more pieces of advertising into their unknowing hands and minds. This forces them to fall in love with the newest Disney movie, followed by begging their parents to spend money on cinema fees, toys, and candy. The bottom line: Disney is a company worth billions, they are so successful as they have targeted an audience who possess a strong emotional connection to their funder.
6. Parental Figures Die Early
This is a big issue in films aimed for young children. There are dozens of popular Disney movies whose main characters are missing at least one parental figure, or both mother and father die within the first 10 minutes of the movie. Snow White, Dumbo, Bambi, Cinderella, Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Lion King, Toy Story, Pocahontas, Frozen, and the list is endless. These stories dismiss the importance of parents, giving children the wrong impression. Mothers and fathers are not disposable, they are often the most important part in a young child’s life. Disney’s ignorance creates an opportunity for the young main characters to involve themselves in activities and adventure far beyond their years. By retaining the family dynamic, young viewers are able to connect with the main character, find appropriate inspiration, and view their own potential on the big screen.
5. Masks Horrors With a Smile
There are many horrific scenes found in Disney movies. The Nightmare Before Christmas, masks a horrible situation with a cheery smile. Covering up terrifying scenes with a positive undertone dulls the experience and convinces the child that this is a typical occurrence. It’s important to show children the grisly details of the world we live in, however we must present it to them in its natural state. Covering up the gruesome details of existence with songs and pleasant tones simply confuses the child into questioning exactly what is good and bad. By showing them the real terrors of our time at an appropriate age with appropriate materials, we can prepare children of today for the trials and tribulations of tomorrow.
4. Success Through Crime
Crime is fun, kids! Go ahead steal, cheat, and lie your way to the top. That’s the message that Disney often give their viewers. Aladdin, in the hit story named after himself, steals and lies to get himself in the princess’s good books. This sets forth horrible examples for both girls and boys. Young men are taught that the only way to impress a lady, is to steal and fool them into thinking you are someone else, while young ladies are taught that no matter their criminal history, you should love them and accept them for who they are. Rather than showing thieves and criminals as the heroes, Disney should attempt to create individuals with strong character traits.
3. Personification of Animals
Animals are often personified in children’s television, movies, and books. Disney has used this model for several of their hit movies. By personifying animals, kids can become confused concerning their level of understanding and appreciation for animals. By creating animals that are well-rounded and portrayed in their appropriate environments, this creates an opportunity for children to learn about animals and their importance in our lives. Unfortunately, Disney has almost always opted for the former approach rather than the latter.
2. Ridiculous Disney Theme Park Staff Regulations
If you’ve ever been to a Disney theme park, you’ve probably made note of how many employees they hire to keep the wonderland running smoothly. The staff will help you at the ticket booth, at the beginning of every ride, in the various stores and restaurants, as well as to help keep the park as clean as possible. What most of us don’t know, are the ridiculous rules and regulations staff must follow. Picking up garbage in a swooping motion is one of the most laughable rules. If there is a piece of garbage on the ground, employees must pick it up in a swooping motion. This means that a staff member cannot simply bend down to pick up the piece of garbage and throw it out, they must keep momentum going in their step and simply swoop down slightly to pick it up. Listen Disney, my mom really appreciates how clean your park is, but she really doesn’t care how they bend down to pick up garbage.
1. Ultimately, You’re Lying to Your Kids
The expectations Disney sets forth in their “kid friendly” movies, are not always a positive one for your children. They get tricked into wanting the newest toy or fashion accessory simply because of the logo attached to it. They reinforce social and gender roles that are being questioned (if not completely transformed) in the 21st century. Stop lying to your kids by telling them that Disney is incredibly delightful, show them that they need to question their favourite movies in order to really understand. Most of all, get involved in what your kids are watching and make sure to help them understand how to interpret what they see.