Nicholas M Glenn
18 March 2019
Stereotypes Shown in Disney Films
Ever since the year nineteen twenty-three, the year the Walt Disney Company was founded, the movies they have produced have always portrayed gender roles, race and personal identities in an inaccurate way. The men in these movies are always portrayed as strong and heroic and eventually save the main female character. Despite the fact Disney took a very long time to portray a non-white princess, they portray princesses as beautiful yet helpless. Watching their films, you receive the message that women are powerless and that the men are always dominated by them in every situation. Although Disney has attempted to diversify their traditional storybook narratives to more accurately represent our current societal norms, there is still representation of race, gender and personal identity stereotypes shown in films.
Back in nineteen twenty-three, Disney Cartoons, the original name for the production company that made Disney films, released their first cartoon named “Plane Crazy” that featured the debut of Mickey and Minnie Mouse. In the short film, you are introduced to Mickey Mouse who is learning how to build an airplane and fly it. After several failed attempts, he finally succeeds with some help from his girlfriend Minnie Mouse. Throughout the rest of this short film, Mickey wards off other male characters from Minnie as she is the only female character. This representation of women in the film showed young children in the early nineteen hundred’s that women are men’s tool and are there for their looks and beauty. Early Disney movies of such affect young children’s opinions throughout their life, thus they should be educated about the media’s wrong depictions of gender roles.
Throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s, things started to change a bit, but not by much. The civil rights movement giving African-Americans more rights than before. The movie “Peter Pan” came out in the 1950’s. This movie portrayed Native-Americans wearing feathers with red skinned. The characters had trouble speaking English correctly and were shown as those who gamble and drink alcohol all of the time. These stereotypes are wrong. In the mid-1960’s, a movie called “The Jungle Book” portrayed people of color as monkeys. The monkeys were dancing very similar to how the cultural African-American’s do. Children grasp ideas very quickly from films that they watch, they can make many comparisons between color of skin with that resulting in the idea that black people equal monkey. All of these racist meanings are seen and interpreted by the children who watch these films, and this can impact the way that they view the world as they grow into young adults.
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