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Negative Impacts Of Disney Films

Disney movies are intended firstly to entertain children, but the danger of putting such influential material in front of such impressionable minds can be very dangerous if the wrong message is being conveyed, so which Disney movies teach kids bad lessons, and what are they?

Negative Impacts Of Disney Films

Gender Stereotyping

The most obvious flaw in Disney movies is that of gender stereotyping, particularly that of young women.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Theatrical)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Moroni Olsen, Billy Gilbert, Adriana Caselotti (Actors)

Disney princesses, especially in the early years of Snow White and Cinderella, portrayed young women as singing, cleaning, demure creatures who are unable to accomplish anything without a lot help Snow White had seven dwarves to protect her from the wicked stepmother, and Cinderella would never have gotten to the ball without help from a fairy godmother and a few willing mice.

Cinderella (Signature Edition)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Ilene Woods, Eleanor Audley, Verna Felton (Actors)

This of course conforms to the political view at the time of women as dutiful housewives and promotes to young girls that if they behave properly, ‘someday my prince will come and whisk them away to some shining castle in the clouds without any problems at all.

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This can in turn lead to young girls becoming unhealthily obsessed with their image, as all of these princesses are beautiful, which is paramount in being chosen by Prince Charming.

Portrayal of Love

The portrayal of love is also a major problem in many Disney films.

  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Scott Weinger, Robin Williams, Linda Larkin (Actors)

Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty, and The Little Mermaid to name but a few, all give a view that love comes easily and is as simple as boy-meets-girl-and-they-lived-happily-ever-after.

Sleeping Beauty
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Mary Costa, Eleanor Audley, Barbara Luddy (Actors)

Anyone with a taste of real-life will be able to say that this is not the case, and that love has to be worked at.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame helped to dispel this myth a little, as Quasimodo falls in love with Esmerelda but she does not return his feelings.

Beauty and the Beast
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Paige O'Hara, Robby Benson, Richard White (Actors)

Similarly, Beauty and the Beast, produced in 1991, seems more to fit this realistic view, as times had by then changed enough for an independent, intelligent female role to not seem out of place against the backdrop of society.

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No longer were women expected to stay at home cooking and cleaning, but were more often going out and earning their own living.

This independence is seen as well in Pocahontas and Hercules, though Meg is still under the influence of the main villain, and cannot make her own choices.

Representations of Villains

The Lion King: The Walt Disney Signature Collection (Theatrical Version)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones (Actors)

The representations of villains in Disney movies could also be seen as a bad influence. Villains are needed to make a story, but giving children the message that being corrupt and, well, villainous, as a way to achieve goals is okay is not a good idea.

Despite being the main villain in Beauty and the Beast, Gaston is well-liked by and respected by the village; and through murdering his brother, Scar has managed to claim the throne of the Pride Lands in The Lion King.

Yes, villains always get their comeuppance, usually by their own evil deeds such as Jafar in Aladdin or Hades in Hercules, but this in itself is not a lesson to be teaching the next generation.

Yes, bad people get punished, but not always, and giving children this innocent illusion could make them less aware of the evils of the world.

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Disney movies teach our children many lessons about decency and the importance of being good.

In the telling of the stories, some negative influences may filter into the message, but the bad effects of these will be minimal when coupled with the positive nature Disney inspires in the younger generation.

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