Disney girl in the real world
Disney movies and the messages they instill in children, particularly young girls, have been the talk of the town for decades.
But the unmistakable fact that these culturally popular and heavily sugar-coated animated films strongly influence society’s younger generations can be a petrifying acknowledgement to come to grips with for many parents.
Suffice to say, I, personally, am a product of Disney’s hypnotizing cinematic mechanisms.
I grew up on Disney films like Cinderella and Pocahontas. I find myself on numerous occasions acting out scenes of my life similar to the ones I’ve seen take place in Disney films and taking on the perspectives of the Disney characters in these films.
My mom married again when I was at the tender age of 11. I can remember crying during the wedding ceremony because I dreaded having a “wicked stepfather.”
Weeks after the ceremony, my stepfather and stepsister moved in with me and my mother. I just knew they were bad news, according to Disney.
I spent most of my time locked in my room, dodging as much conversation as possible, because I refused to be treated badly by my so-called “evil stepsister.”
Anything that was said by my stepfather was taken out of context and overanalyzed by me because I had already been trained into thinking that mixed families didn’t work well together and never would.
Fast forward to today, 12 years down the road — I am just beginning to form a real genuine relationship with my stepsister and stepfather.
I look back and realized that because I wasted so much time avoiding them, I missed out on so many positive memories that could have been acquired.
I’ve come to learn that my stepsister is a fun, beautiful young woman and an awesome role model to live by. I can go to my stepfather for advice on anything and I’ve grown to find that he loves me just as much as he loves his own children, if not more.
Damn you, Cinderella. This is all your fault.
Next on the list is Pocahontas, the Native American princess gifted enough to be able to “paint with all the colors of the wind.”
According to NewInt.org, “Disney became interested in the idea of ‘multiculturalism’ and made Pocahontas in 1995. This movie mixes Disney’s favorite story of the ‘princess in love’ with a real story from Native American history.”
The website further states this “is a problem because Pocahontas was a real woman, and she was very different from the Pocahontas that Disney invented. To give only one example: in real life, Pocahontas was a child when she first met the ‘hero’ John Smith, and there was no romance between them. When Pocahontas met Smith again years later, she called him ‘father.’”
As far as Rapunzel is concerned, I can honestly say that it can be a tad bit misleading for young children as well.
In the Disney film Tangled, based on a Grimm fairy tale, Rapunzel sits around and waits on her prince charming to come to the rescue her while she slacks off — taking part in activities like singing, waltzing around and drawing all day.
For this reason, my aunt cannot get my little cousin to do anything around the house. All she does is stay locked in her room listening to music, watching Disney movies and drawing.
When my aunt tells her that she needs to learn responsibility around the house, my little cousin’s response is, “Why? My Prince Charming will take care of me. I don’t have to do anything, just like Rapunzel.”
My little cousin thinks that life is all about being swept off her feet by a man, and that the man will be the sole provider in any given circumstance.
To make it anywhere today, depending on someone else to get you to a point of success is not the way to go about thinking.
These multiple types of discombobulating literature can hinder a child from differentiating fantasy from reality.
“I grew up on Disney movies, unfortunately … They feed you lies. Like Lion King and writing it to fit (the story of) Hamlet; I’m pretty sure there is a lot of philosophy and psychology behind it. For it to be in a kid’s movie, I think that’s pretty cool, but the fact that they severely alter it isn’t,” said Marlene Garcia, 20, a radio-TV-film major.
Disney is a household name, and their characters are universally recognized. It’s inevitable that the Walt Disney company will remain one of the most powerful monopolies in the world.
However, it should instill more realistic points of view so children know how to deal with real-life situations.
Children should know that not every stepfamily member is going to be wicked, a man is not going to always ride in on a white horse to save the day, and that fantasy is far different from reality. The line between fact and fiction is not as fine as they’ve grown to believe.