I think that Giroux definitely had some good points in his article and Disney definitely had some questionable, underlying messages and stereotypes. I mean, Disney movies even have subliminal messages embedded into their text that are incredibly sexual!! I posted a picture before of The Rescuers where there is the image of a naked woman in the background. Here it is again:
Sure, Disney isn’t all perfect and has it’s occasional racial/gender stereotype and seems to reinforce society’s notion that skinny, thin girls are attractive and fat, unattractive women like Ursula are “bad” and “evil”. However, I feel that children are too young to grasp onto these meaning and even fully understand the stereotypes that are embedded into Disney movies. No young girl is going to finish watching Beauty and the Beast and feel that “Belle simply becomes another woman whose life is valued for solving a man’s problem” (59), nor will they feel like they have to solve a man’s problem before their lives are valued.
When I watched Aladdin as a child there was no way I understood the song where Aladdin says “Oh I come from a land, from a faraway place, where they cut off your ear if they don’t like your face. It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home.” I didn’t even understand Arabic culture and I didn’t even perceive the bulbous noses and heavy accents which the bad guys had as being racist. It would be unreasonable to expect Disney to portray all the bad guys in their films as looking just the same as the good guys. Imagine if all the characters in Disney movies looked and sounded the same, children wouldn’t be able to differentiate between the two and it definitely wouldn’t be as visually stimulating.
Giroux mentions that in Pocahontas, Pocahontas was a “brown-skinned version of Calvin Klein model Kate Moss,” and he goes on to say that the main female characters in Disney films all look like barbies. However, in The Road to Eldorado, the main female character is quite curvy and pudgy and still portrayed as being attractive. Here is a picture of her:
I don’t think any movie can be inescapable of using stereotypes, I think if one really wanted to read into it they could find something to disapprove about in almost any text. Disney’s more recent films such as Cars, Finding Nemo, and Wall-E seemed free of any racial/gender stereotyping. All in all, I think Disney movies are still great for kids, I know I enjoyed them as a kid and I still enjoy them and I don’t think they should change!