Inside Scoop on Disney

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Disney presents a multitude of sexist messages that teach adolescent girls to fulfill a submissive role in society as expected. As apparent in such fairy tales, the female characters are perceived to be reliant and dependent upon the male characters—allowing for the dominant male figures to become the ‘staple of the movie.’ In each Disney movie, the only way a female character is able to be freed from an undesirable future—whether it be in servitude, bondage, a deathlike slumber or under a curse—is through the assistance of a male love interest, rather than the action taken upon herself to attain the betterment of her future. As an adolescent, I watched all the Disney movies and criticized each fairy tale character; I was never satisfied with any of the stories and the intentions depicted by each character. Needless to say, I still very much enjoyed watching all the films and was especially fond of the Lion King.
A critical example of gender specific roles and sexist messages motioned in Disney movies is The Little Mermaid. In the film, Ariel is as an adventurous sixteen year-old whose curiosity ultimately leads her to explore and eventually want to live in the world of humans. However, the only way she is able to fulfill her wishful thinking is by trading in her exquisite voice for the transformation from fins to feet. Yet, Ariel’s trade itself represents sexism—in terms of exchanging her means of communicating her intellect and personality for the physicality of her desirable looks. As discussed in Dialogue Group, Disney purposefully altered the original synopsis of the story in order for the audience (a significantly younger group) to understand and in a sense relate to Ariel’s true desires. In the original version by Hans Christen Anderson, Ariel’s only hopes in obtaining Eric’s love is in the attempt of taking control and altering her fate as a mermaid, yet besides giving up her ability to speak, she must also experience a series of excruciating, piercing pains at her feet in each step she takes. Possibly in Disney’s point of view, this version would have seemed complicated and frightening to young girls. Instead, Ariel’s hopes in achieving Prince Eric’s true love seemed to make a lot more sense and compelling enough to attract the attention of such viewers. The Little Mermaid also features males and females portraying specific roles. King Triton is presented as a ruling (dominate male) figure, whose only purpose in life is to oversee the Kingdom of the Sea from potential harm or danger that includes interaction with human beings. Every character views King Triton to be a respectable ruler, a protective and sacrificial father figure—his possession of power is well-understood and dependent. Ursula is presented throughout the film as a dominant female (villain) figure, however, is recognized to be wicked, manipulative and a threat to all things good under the sea. Evidently, specific characteristic traits and qualities shared by both male and females are perceived differently and in a drastic effect.





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Asianflowers said...
Jul. 2, 2010 at 4:22 am

Very interesting point of view. I had never really thought about that. One suggestion try to space out your writing. Other than that it was great!

Also could you look at some of my work please?

 
Asianflowers replied...
Jul. 2, 2010 at 4:24 am
Also could you tell me what you think of the movie Mulan in these terms. I interested to hear your opinion.
 
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