Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I Love Disney

If Disney movies aren't good for kids, then I'm not sure WHAT is! Sure, I might have a somewhat biased opinion towards Giroux's argument having grown up an hour outside of Orlando, FL and spending many of my weekends in the Disney theme parks or at home watching Disney movies, but I still believe that Disney means well and that this franchise is great for all kids. I also believe that Disney is at risk for extreme criticism and that people find it easy to point the finger at this 4.7 billion dollar corporation just because Disney has been so incredibly successful- and people will constantly try and find ways to bring them down for it.

Sure there are racial stereotypes embedded in Disney culture such that princesses are white, thin, and beautiful (such as Ariel) but it also instills values in kids such that, it is possible to go from rags to riches and find your Prince Charming (Cinderella) or not to judge a person by their looks but by what's inside their heart (Beauty and the Beast)- both very important lessons I believe children should learn early on.

Once Giroux started talking about the narrowly defined gender roles of female Disney character's, I started to lose touch with his argument. Giroux states, "the women in these films ultimately subordinate to men and define their sense of power and desire almost exclusively in terms of common male narratives" (58). An example of this would be from The Little Mermaid- Giroux thinks that Disney women, such as Ariel ultimately are submissive to the men they choose to fall in love with and give up their ultimate goals. Giroux calls Ariel trading in her voice for a chance to pursue her love, Eric, a "housewife-in-the-making," and I just think that is absurd.

Kids who are watching these movies are not aware what-so-EVER of these stereotypes, so why does this bored, troubled man feel the need to bring them to the surface? Kids believe Disney is the "most magical place on earth" and it should stay that way. For Gosh sake they're only kids- they should stay fantasizing about these adventurous, magical, and imaginative films!

1 comment:

  1. I actually think saying that kids don't realize these stereotypes is really dangerous. While I don't think its the major thing they take away from disney films, they definitely do see it. I remember always being really put off by the fact that there were separate toys for boys and girls in McDonalds happy meals. Disney DOES show submissive female roles on a consistent basis and its really important that people talk about this. i think that assuming any child, no matter how smart, isn't internalizing certain cultural messages is a mistake. I'm not saying children shouldn't be exposed to Disney, quite the opposite, I'm saying that we need to encourage parents and children to have thoughtful and critical discussions on the topic so problems don't arise!