Friday, 19 February 2010

The Disneyfication of Culture

When I first heard about this lecture I thought great, we're going to be talking about Disney. As a child I grew up watching the films and had probably every single Disney film there was. Even now that videos are no longer used I have replaced those copies with DVDs so imagine my surprise when the lecture we received talked about how Disney may not be what it seems.

With great relevance to the assignment at the moment, Hamid talked about how things can be portrayed to us and in a child like innocence we cannot see the true meaning behind it. Henry Giroux criticised Disney and their market aims to their young target audience arguing that these vulnerable children are learning about life through the eyes of Disney, which is something Giroux thinks is culturally incorrect.

Taking myths and Victorian fairy stories, Disney softened these and turned them into palatable stories. Built around the idea of happiness and innocence experienced as a child it is difficult to see the true meaning behind them.

What I found most interesting about the lecture was the wee film we watched at the end, discussing the issue that Disney films are not realistic. Disney can sell ideas through the images that they present to us which they describe as being dangerous because it is hard for children to distinguish between fairytale and real life.

The women conveyed in the film are all stereotypical of Disney to have the lack of ability to save themselves and feel the need to use their body to manipulate. Now although this may be true for some women, most women would laugh at this suggestion that they are incapable to survive without men.

In the film that we watched the example of women struggling was in Beauty and the Beast. As a child I used to love this film and never picked up on anything being discussed by these women! They talked about it being a platform of abuse - where the idea that the women is being abused and standing up to the man but then in the end running into his arms, undermining herself. Now I'm no feminist but I can see the point being made her, in saying that though I think that these women are reading far too much into this matter! For me this just raises the argument that adults see things completely different to children, which is fine, but life as a child is innocent and I'm sure Disney is the least of parent's worries in educating their children in the hardships of life.

With thanks:


  1. Interesting - and quick off the mark!

    But be careful not to make a common mistake here - just because you weren't affected by the movies in the way those people claim, doesn't mean others aren't. There's a book called "Growing Up Girl" which looks at the influences on girls and young women based on detailed research. The truth is more disturbing than you think, and while it's easy to dismiss the results of that research without knowing what went in to it, it's less easy once you read the actual findings - something we tried to help you see last semester.

    So my challenge to you is to repeat one of the exercises from last semester, do a quick literature search, and see what evidence there is for those claims. If it's all based on opinion then you can safely dismiss it. But if it's based on solid evidence, it's harder to argue...

  2. I'm with you at the end there, i recon people do read into this kind of thing much more than is necesary. And indeed do so untill they can take from it a conclusion that they were aiming for in the first place. It seems that people go into that kind of exercise having already decided what they think, and then manipulating the information to suit this predetermined opinion.

    It would be interesting to see what someone from a different culture thought of disneys films, and the themes they thought he was raising. Having watched some disney films with this information in mind though, you cant help but notie a few similarities between them all. The effect of which could be to prejudice the thoughts of a young mind. Though im sure this wasnt a deliberate exercise on disneys behalf. From my point of view he was simply designing characters children could more easily relate to.