Mickey Mouse Monopoly
The Mickey Mouse Monopoly documentary reveals the obscure social messages behind the animated films created by the Disney Company. Although we are conditioned to believe that these movies are pure forms of entertainment, further examination has proved that there are hidden messages concerning gender, race and class that Disney is instilling in the minds of children. The speakers in the documentary argue that Disney is extremely political and hides its ideas behind innocence, magic and fun. When masked by features that are appealing to a younger audience, it is difficult to realize these ideas without taking a closer look.
One of the main controversies discussed in this video is the way that Disney portrays women in its productions. The way that females are shown is similar across all Disney films, even animal characters. They are shown having a seductive or entrancing way about them, large eyelashes, attractive bodies and large ...view middle of the document...
In the movie, an evil lion king named Scar is the master of three hyenas and exerts complete control over them. The interesting fact about these hyenas is that they speak and behave very similar to the way of a stereotypical African American. It is blatantly obvious that the hyenas are being portrayed as African Americans because the rest of the animals do not sound like them when they talk or react to situations in the same manner as them. This reminded me of a point made in the article “Representation of Black’s in Children’s Books” when Anthony J. Cortese argued that blacks appear in minor roles in books and occupy subservient positions such as maids, slaves, or servants (2004). This confirms that not only are racial messages uncovered in children’s literature, but they are making an appearance in children’s films as well. The hyenas in The Lion King support this argument because they are slaves to Scar and display behaviors that viewers might connect to African Americans.
After watching this video in class I can honestly say I have different assumptions about the Disney Company and the messages the producers are sending to children. I have been to Disney world 53 times in my life and my parents always tried to make it seem like it was the most magical place on earth. Now that I am uncovering all of these hidden messages and understanding the impact they had on me as I child, I see everything very differently. All of these fairytales about princesses needing to find a man to marry or rescue them go against all of my beliefs about being an independent woman. My mother conditioned me to think that I do not need a man to complete me since I was young and I am grateful that she did.
Despite the fact that there are so many Disney films that are (and should be) criticized for their social imperfections, there have been some recent signs of improvement. One production that exhibits a lot of progress is Frozen. This movie has two main characters, both female, who end up rescuing each other in the end. They do receive help from male characters throughout the movie, but Ana rescues Elsa all on her own by defeating another male character. The fact that a woman is shown to be triumphant over a male is an improvement as well.