I personally do not think Disney is harmful to children. I am guilty of growing up in a Disney-fanatic world and it did not really have that big of an influence on my social, racial, or political views. (I am guilty, however, of falling into the consumerism trap that made me want, and even feel like I needed, to buy the The Little Mermaid soundtrack) I do recognize, however, that Disney does create a very white-dominated and somewhat 1950s stereotypical suburban ideology. I do agree that Disney should be sensitive to the fact that they are sending these somewhat close-minded messages to the easily influenced minds of children. However, it is ultimately up to the parents to allow these messages to be regarded as truths by children. For example, Disney did not shape my views, I do not believe that "all rulers of the kingdom are men" (Giroux, 60) or that women end up becoming "valued for solving a man's problems" (Giroux, 59) as Giroux suggests it brainwashes us to believe. Instead, Disney just provided a fantastical sense of escape into a land of entertainment accompanied by soundtracks that I still know every word to. What influenced my belief system and view of basically everything were my parents, friends, and teachers, not Disney. Disney's messages were just as effective (or in this case ineffective) as any other message I would receive from an advertisement or commercial. In reality, children are going to be bombarded with millions of messages a day from corporations without any adult supervision or constraint. Giroux says that in "Pocahontas" the protagonist is "converted into a brown, Barbie-like supermodel with an hourglass figure." (Giroux, 61) But when it comes down to it, don't the majority of films, products, TV shows, and plenty of other media (children or adult focused) send the same message? Disney and a provocative Calvin Klein ad ultimately have the same strategy behind them. (obviously one is suitable for children while the other is not) Regardless, it is impossible to filter the messages kids, and people in general, receive. So why should Disney be treated any differently? What it comes down to is the parenting. Parents should be teaching their children what is fantasy (aka Disney) and what is reality (aka John Smith was not as nice as he seems, men do like women who talk, etc..).
As a side note, I found a picture of Aladdin, and to me it looks like it was redrawn as if he were an underwear model (shown below). The picture that doesn't really support or contradict my article, I just thought it was an interesting spin on the Aladdin we are all used to seeing (shown above). It is a mature/provocative depiction of Disney for the generation that grew up watching Aladdin in the late 80s and early 90s and are now 20-something students analyzing its effect on us.