Nobody can deny that Disney is a defining feature of childhood. With production spanning over nine decades, Disney films are numerous, diverse and heartwarming. Not only are they entertaining, but they also contain many important moral messages for children to pick up and bring with them into their adult lives.
Unfortunately, many Disney films have not aged well. Some of their older films have been criticised for their politically incorrect or dated messages; it's clear that the context of the social, political and cultural ideas prevalent at the time these films were produced hugely influenced the themes. However, many of their more recent productions have also come under fire. Gender issues and the portrayal of women in Disney films have been discussed for many years, but these issues have increased rather than decreased in recent years, showing that Disney is doing little to combat many decades of stereotyping.
Controversy in Disney is particularly interesting because it reflects the historical progression of society - what would have been acceptable 60 years ago now makes viewers roll their eyes or squirm in their seats. More importantly, however, it raises concerns for children and what effect these outdated messages could have on them. Because Disney is aimed at children, it's essential that some of the more damaging messages are identified and addressed. Take a look at our list of the 10 Biggest Disney Controversies, ranked here by popularity of the films from less to more popular, for an overview of the most shocking Disney moments. Did you pick up on any of them before?
10 Dumbo - The Crows
9 Alice In Wonderland - Drug Related Imagery
8 Peter Pan - The Native Americans
7 Lady and The Tramp - The Siamese Cats
6 The Jungle Book - The Apes
5 The Little Mermaid - Phallic Symbols
The Little Mermaid hasn't escaped controversy either- after its release on VHS, Disney were inundated with complaints from parents due to what many believed to be a blatant drawing of a penis at the centre of the golden castle. The artist claimed that the rude image was an accident due to time constraints. Above is an image of the original VHS cover, and whether you believe it was intentional or not, the resemblance is pretty striking! Disney received so many complaints that the next release of the film had an updated, phallus-free cover.
4 Pocahontas - Racial Stereotypes and Authenticity Issues
3 Aladdin - Racial Stereotypes
2 Tangled - Feminist Criticisms
1 The Disney Princesses- An Ongoing Unfair Portrayal of Women
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