Walt Disney Productions is a multimedia conglomerate, not only producing a majority of the children's cinema on the market today, but also submersing itself in the children's toy market, owning television stations such as ABC and the Disney Channel, and even creating their own town called Celebration Florida centered on the "Disney lifestyle" of fun, fantasy, and purity. While Disney movies contain many valuable life lessons to impart on young children such as good always triumphs over evil, it is better to deal with your problems than run away, it is always best to tell the truth, and it is important to be polite, the actual symbols contained within the framework of the media may have a different and even harmful impact on children's understandings of gender roles and ideologies. Through different studies, media analysis, and pertinent research it can be seen that Disney characters and their interactions throughout the films help to form children's images of femininity and masculinity saturated with the many stereotypes attributed to both genders.
[...] “Because there has been and still is so little in the way of motion picture entertainment suitable for any and all children, Disney now attracts an even more diverse market [the reason that] parents cannot say ‘no' to children is that their children are likely to know about the cannon already,” (Ayers 4-5). Disney has been able to escape criticism of its tight hold that resists democratic attempts to infiltrate, by simply distancing the image of Disney from the corporate policies it holds. [...]
[...] In the opening scene of Beauty and the Beast, the audience is introduced to Belle, shown that she is smart but still a dreamer, and her single status is confirmed. If this were where the depiction stopped, Belle may appear to be a moderate feminist, happy in who she is and her rejection of marriage, intelligent, and not in need of a man. However, Belle does not reject marriage at all, she in truth dreams of meeting the prince she reads about so avidly in her fairy-tales—the very books intended by the authors to portray her as an intelligent head strong young woman. [...]
[...] For example in Beauty and the Beast, the beast verbally abuses Belle when she refuses to attend dinner with him on her first night in the castle. The beast has just taken Belle away from her father and only family, whom he threw violently out into the cold, and she is now to be his prisoner for some unknown amount of time. When she refuses to come down to dinner at his request he storms angrily to her room where they proceed to argue and she eventually conveys the message to him that she has no intention of ever associating with him. [...]
[...] Not that Disney is the only source to blame, but the images seen here are a part of a larger media framework that “urges girls to adopt a false self, to bury alive their real selves, to become “feminine”, which means to be nice and kind and sweet, to compete with other girls for the attention of boys, and to value romantic relationships with boys above all (Kilbourne 259). Certainly Belle's attitude is not the only factor contributing to her femininity. [...]
[...] For men in particular it justifies the acting like a mean beast, which is almost like a spoiled child, in that “they can depend on a woman to rescue them from themselves and not need take responsibility for their behavior,” (Manley 88). This is an obvious hegemonic discourse that even parents perpetuate with the old saying “Boys will be boys.” This maxim gives the implications that boys, in this case young and adolescent boys, can be relieved of the blame in situations where they are just doing as boys/men do. [...]
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