Archive | October, 2010

Disney’s Starlets: Too Much, Too Soon

31 Oct

There has been much controversy surrounding the hypersexualization of Disney’s young stars. Whether or not they are pushing the envelope too far is up for debate. A lot of the material on the web criticizes the teens in a negative way, while the other point of view is that people don’t mind the overdose of maturity. Because of her recent and popular transformation from Hannah Montana to Miley Cyrus, the young pop sensation has been the subject of most of the recent ridicule.

This video was leaked this past week from a “friend” of Miley Cyrus’. She is seen smoking salvia, a legal drug in California with serious hallucinogenic qualities.  She appears irresponsible and out of control. This blog response goes to show how much impact this video had.  She is not representing an image that deserves to be idolized by the vulnerable tween youth.

 

The principles of democracy are somewhat distorted in this research. Many people don’t want young girls idolizing these rated R role models, while others don’t mind. Young girls everywhere are eager to grow up, so this is the guide they enthusiastically follow. They are the majority, and the most important party involved since they are the ones directly effected, but they are too young to make the moral judgment. Who is directing these young stars to grow up so quickly? Why do some follow, while others do not (Raven-Symone)? What is the fine line between naturally maturing and the indecent dramatization of maturation?

Racial Undertones In Disney Movies

31 Oct

Disney movies are perceived as wholesome entertainment that is a part of every person’s childhood. The racist undertones in many of the Disney movies such as Aladdin, Dumbo, and Pocahontas go unnoticed by children but are extremely offensive to the ethnic groups they address. Older Disney movies are more blatant with racists images. In Peter Pan, the Indians are addressed in a racist manner, calling them “red-face”. In Dumbo, there are faceless black men setting up the circus. The movie was made in 1941 so that may account for the boldness of what is being shown and sung but in more recent Disney movies racism is evident as well.

            In today’s Disney market, they are trying to be more diverse. The release of The Princess and the Frog has Disney’s first African-American Princess. While the Prince in the movie is not African-American, it is a small stride for a more diverse Disney. The brand is trying to mend the racist undertones of past Disney movies such as Aladdin and Fantasia. The song “Arabian Nights” from the movie Aladdin offended many people with the lyrics to the song. The offensive lyrics were dubbed over in the newly released DVDs. A scene from Fantasia was deleted from the newly released version where a half African-American girl, half horse is portrayed as a servant to a white girl. While there has been progression in the Disney franchise, Disney is anything but wholesome.

Disney’s Influence on Young Kids

28 Oct

Initial research of the Disney influence on young girls made it clear that there is no shortage of information or opinions on the topic.  It is certainly a hot topic among parents and educators, despite its seemingly endless popularity.  Parents are aware of the messages being sent to their daughters; messages of powerlessness, the idea that your “Prince Charming” will save you, and body image standards.  The movies portray minorities in stereotypical roles, teaching children from a very young age what to expect of people who look a certain way or have a certain color skin.  Sure, parents are talking about these issues, but why not the viewers, the kids? They’re the ones watching and absorbing the information, but unfortunately, many aren’t consciously aware of the stereotypical and gendered messages being fed to them.

Devan, a mother who blogs on Accustomed Chaos, notes the lack of positive mother figures in Disney movies.  After watching “Chicken Little” one night with her husband and kids, Devan and her husband started thinking about how many movies lacked a mother – they came up with twelve just sitting there brainstorming on their own (1)!  It makes the involved fathers look good, but what does that lack of a mother teach young girls and boys? Perhaps that they can’t depend on their mother – she’ll either die, leave or end up evil?  Maybe the mother is left out of the story to force the main character into independence and maturity, but what’s the rush? It seems like a harsh theme to reoccur so often throughout Disney films.

A video on YouTube called, “Disney: Harmless Entertainment or Stereotype Perpetuators?” very clearly illustrates the racist characters in seven different Disney movies (2).  There’s Aladdin, the supposedly Saudi Arabian boy with white skin and a very non-Middle Eastern accent.  Sebastian, the Jamaican lobster who implies that under the sea is for lazy people who don’t like to work.  And the black crows in “Dumbo” who are experts on things that are “fly” and are led by the head of the group, “Jim Crow.”  Although subtle to young children, and even parents, when the stereotypes are pointed out, one wonders how they could have ever been overlooked.  The video goes on to show other characters created by a racist mindset in “The Jungle Book,” “Chip N’ Dale,” “Fantasia” and “Peter Pan.”

Pro-Disney parents and individuals claim that when you’re young you’re not picking up on these things, so it doesn’t matter that Disney portrays stereotypical and racist ideas in their films.  However, when young kids acknowledge that they’ve never seen an African-American character in a Disney movie, especially not in a positive light (until the most recent, “Princess and the Frog,” of course), there’s a problem.

Kids are proving to be more intuitive than some adults might believe, and Disney is directing them in the wrong direction.  Girls are taught to bat their eyelashes to get what they want; that big blue eyes, a tiny waist and voluptuous hips are standard and that no matter what, they will always live happily ever after.  On the contrary, young boys are taught to be macho, super-strong heroes waiting to rescue girls.  Disney instilling such extreme gender roles in children can assure us that no progress will be made in the future towards equal living for men and women.

Check out this video for a further explanation on racial stereotypes in Disney films.

 

(1) Devan. (2010, March 18). Disney Movies and Lack of Positive Female Influence. Message posted to http://www.accustomedchaos.com/2010/03/disney- movies-and-lack-of-positive.html

(2) Chapstick82591. (2009, December 7). Disney: Harmless entertainment or stereotype perpetuators? Video posted to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuUTdaJ_Obw&NR=1

Disney is Tapulous

19 Oct

Disney is Tapulous — buying a chunk of iPod/Apple — what’s the meaning of this alliance?