Tag: Disney and Children

Disney—Childhood Takeover by Deja Sloan

For almost all people growing up in America, Disney seems to have an inescapable death grip on childhood. Aside from the obvious Disney channel and Disney movies present in many households, there are deeper examples of Disney presence exposed to children at very young ages. Consider, for example, Playhouse Disney or Disney Junior. Theses two channels are owned by Disney, specifically aimed at children 0-5. They feature bright and colorful educational programs, and even feature shows starring Disney’s mascot himself, Mickey Mouse.

As children grow older they are expected to graduate to watching plain “Disney Channel” which features shows aimed at kids about 7-13. Before this, however, consider Disney merchandise that is also aimed at young children. Growing up, almost all of my toys had to do with Disney. Weather they were replicas of those toys featured In Toy Story or stuffed versions of animals side kicks from Disney princess movies, they were just about all I had. What is so interesting about Disney’s hold on youth is how institutionalized it is. I am almost certain no child exposes itself to Disney, but is conditioned by their parents to love it, giving them no choice.

dfbsfbsgMy nephew, for example, recently celebrated his first birthday. My sister was very excited to plan his party and though his favorite TV show is Peppa Pig, (A British TV series having nothing to do with Disney) she went with a Mickey Mouse theme without so much as a second thought. I asked why she chose that over his favorite (and only show capable of really holding his attention) and all she had to say was “He’ll love it, every kid loves Disney”.  So of course, I went along. Another factor to take into consideration is the recent popularity of viral video of children’s reactions to finding out they’re going to Disney world. In many cases, it seems the parents express more excitement than kids, and the kids just go along until they’re old enough to form their own opinions, and even then they still express excitement after being conditioned by their parents for their entire lives.

With all the reading we have done in class regarding “Disney History” it seems many children (including some in our class) remember having their first historical experience through Disney.  The historical accuracy of the information however, was to be determined later in most cases. The fact of the matter is Disney has something for everyone. Whether it be Playhouse Disney, Evil villains, enchanted princesses, or even live action pirates, the iconicity of Disney stretched over many demographics of people in every stage of life. Parents see this, and take it upon themselves to prepare their children for a life of Disney.


How My Child Proves He Isn’t Corrupted By Disney by Annie Persico

This may or may not have been me all week. That may or may not be a representation of my mom comforting me in the upper left hand corner as I expressed my true disappointment in the lack of iconicity discussion around the subject of Disney and instead a discussion of what was up with Disney’s portrayal of history and it’s damaging effects.  I’ll leave it up to you to decide.

On to the real issue at hand, How My Child Proves He Wasn’t Corrupted By Disney

As most Disney haters are known for presenting all the reasons that Disney is corrupting our youth, I’ve decided to prove just how much Disney has NOT damaged my child. Listversehttp://listverse.com/2012/11/22/top-10-ways-disney-corrupts-children (along with countless others) presents a list of the Top 10 Ways Disney Corrupts Children. To be honest, I understand how some of these themes in Disney movies can be seen as harmful to children, but as I mentioned in class there’s some parental responsibility when you expose your child to ANYTHING so the blame can’t be placed solely on Disney’s shoulders. I may not touch on every one of the 10 “evil corruptions” of Disney for the sake of length, but I’ll touch on two that have been pointed out and proved to be wrong by my own seven year old.

IMG_6903Poor “corrupted” kid

Historical Inaccuracies

“Perhaps one of the most obvious points critics have grilled Disney over are historical inaccuracies in their few films which are actually based on real events.”

OK…I’m going to combat this one by saying that ART, which Disney movies are, are allowed to take poetic license as much as any other form of art. We don’t all think Picasso’s version of the Spanish Civil War is true to life, do we? To assume that every child is taking the Disney Canon of Animated Films and believing in them as the literal truth is to accept that every child is a moron- something I’m just not down with. Instead of looking at the historical inaccuracies as damaging, I’ve always taken them as an opportunity to educate my son on the history that INSPIRED the film. When Ryan watched Pocahontas and asked if it really happened like that I told him “quite honestly no, Pocahontas was actually 10 when that happened and she married a different English settler” and then I took him to a museum to show him some Native American Culture. Obviously I’m not getting into all the atrocities of the settlement of the New World with a 7 year old, and neither should Disney. But if I choose to sterilize history for a seven year old, what is wrong with Disney choosing to do the same? We have a whole national holiday based on a friendly dinner between Native Americans and Pilgrims and Disney didn’t start that… just sayin’.

These movies are geared towards children, not history majors. Please raise your hand if you are going to show your child accurate historical portrayals of violent events in our past. Oh no one is, you’d rather let them see at least an aspect of history that opens up a questioning of the events you say? Oh maybe you should put a Disney movie on for them, they’re great conversation starters.

Skinny People are THE ONLY Pretty People

I guarantee there will be a blog post about how harmful the body types portrayed in Disney are- and I’m not saying they aren’t, NOONE in the world could ever have a waist as small as Meg’s from Hercules…unless they were two years old. But maybe, once again, kids aren’t as judgmental as we think. Maybe I’ll kids aren’t looking at skinny princesses and thinking that’s the beauty ideal.

True story:

I take my seven year old to Disney over spring break, we meet Merida from Brave and Ryan straight up says to this beautiful girl dressed up as Merida, “ya know, you’re a lot prettier in real life, your too skinny in the movie.” Now aside from Ryan blatently commenting on a human’s weight (which we had a later conversation about) I was proud of him for telling this “Princess” to her face that he didn’t think her super exaggerated skinny self was what he was looking for. Bravo kid, you aren’t a judgemental little jerk who defines your views through television.

“corrupted kid” tells Merida she’s prettier with some meat on her bones

Maybe I have a well adjusted kid, I don’t know. But I refuse to let an Animated Film define my sons point of view of the world. I see the problems in Disney movies, the portrayal of skinny princesses and the fact that all of the parents are dead, I see the historical inaccuracies but I choose to use them to my advantage. I have conversations with my child about the things I expose him to. Maybe, just maybe, the corruption isn’t coming from Disney, but from parents who refuse to have honest conversations with kids thinking that they are all idiots and don’t understand the difference between Art and real life.  When my child proves his “corruption” (cause what kid doesn’t eventually show some signs of corruption?)  I’m not blaming it on Disney. If he fails world history, I’m not going to blame that on Disney either. And if he decides he wants to date a skinny girl or a curvy girl or a frog princess, I’m not going to blame that on Disney either.

With that being said, I’ll continue to give thousands of dollars to a Mouse to take him on vacation to Disney World after I put the monthly college contributions in the bank AND I’ll continue to let him watch movies where cats dance across pianos and dogs share pasta because I know he’s smart enough to ask me a question if he has one and I’ll take the responsibility of answering it, not leaving it to Disney.