In the year 2008, the Disney company (including all its subsidiaries) earned a net gain of $4.4 billion dollars. It would be naïve to say that its ultimate motive is to provide children friendly products and therefore it cannot be responsible for asserting wrongful ideologies in its media. I do agree with Giroux that Disney should be held accountable for all its ideologies that it asserts upon its audience. After all, Disney is not simply a supplier of entertainment; it has been institutionalized by (especially American) society. Giroux asserts that Disney has “commanding cultural authority” and its subsequent cultural products “define American life” (57). The influence of Disney and therefore its movies are too great to ignore. The fact that real life imitates Disney visions, such as Disney’s version of Victorian architecture and the idea of Celebration, is frightening. Moreover, by providing dreams and fantasies through its movies, Disney asserts that a set of code must be follow in order for them to be achieved. I also believe that it is naïve to undermine the ability of children to absorb Disney’s ideologies. I don’t think that children are unable to perceive what Disney movies are suggesting. The repeated consumption of Disney movies helps foster Disney’s ideologies. While children might not blatantly embrace Disney’s gender roles or racist treatments, these ideologies might affect the children’s own set of beliefs subconsciously.
I am thoroughly disturbed by Disney’s attempt to erase history. This is exemplified in Grioux’s example of Pocahontas, where “the rapacious and exploitative narrative of colonialism is rewritten as a multicultural love affair” (61). The historical narrative is dissolved in favor of a storyline featuring the “outsider” white man bullied by Native Americans. Disney hides, as if condoning, the brutal and true identity of John Smith.
In Disney movies, it also asserts what it means to be American. This is why they Americanize the protagonists and vilifies “foreigners,” as in the examples given about Aladdin. It completely disregards non-Western culture and renders them as barbaric and irrelevant.
Bottom line, Disney constructs childhood to be compatible with consumerism. It escapes scathing criticism because many people, including most of us, have bought into Disney products and its ideologies at one point of our lives. In my opinion, Disney, using its movies and subsequent products, conditions children to accept its ideologies. It is the whole idea of luring children in with its movies and theme parks, creating wonderful childhood memories, so when these children grow up, they will reminisce upon this and want to gift their own children the same wonderful memories. Maybe this is the reason why so many people defend Disney movies as absolutely harmless.
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