I begin with my blog that will make you think twice about what you’re watching and what you’re kids are watching on TV I’d like to ask a few questions.
What is ideology? Ideology is the means of exerting power used by elites, not only to extend power but, to maintain power in today’s society. Today I’m going to talk about the use of ideology by the giant corporation, favored by billions of children all over the world known as, Disney.
What is ideological criticism? Ideological criticism examines just how ideologies or ideas are embedded and circulated in texts such as, for this instance, films. It also examines how these ideas or values become accepted to society as natural, normal, inevitable, and unchallengeable.
What does this have to do with a monopoly or even Disney for that matter? Well I’m going to show you the observations and critiques made by many and shown through the documentary film, Mickey Mouse Monopoly: Disney Childhood &Corporate Power. The big and bad corporation, Disney, owns hundreds of companies. With this being said, they as a company, have some of the most money in the world, especially when it comes to the media industry.
Why does Disney have so much money compared to other child media companies? They are a huge conglomeration that continues to build itself bigger and bigger every day because of deregulation. Here’s a link showing just how many companies Disney owns and how this monopolizes the entire media industry not just in the movie field but in music, TV, radio, and parks and resorts. Deregulation permits Disney to buy up any company it wants to because the government is not allowed to make laws or push any type of purchasing regulation on major companies such as Disney.
I’d like to show you the ideas and values that Disney portrays in its films and how they have such a huge impact on children as well as adults in our American society. It’s also important to pay attention to how these ideas and values have shaped our culture as whole.
Mickey Mouse Monopoly: Disney Childhood, & Corporate Power
From a political economist point of view it’s very important to see what ideas and values are being portrayed in Disney films and how these ideas and values shape our culture and everyday lives. My focus from the film will be on stereotypes and how these stereotypes have directly affected the minorities in our society. I’m going to describe to you the point of view or idea being portrayed and then I’ll explain how these messages affect our thoughts and minds without us even realizing it.
The first stereotype mentioned in the film was the stereotype on Latinos. In many Disney films the latino community is always represented with the same character, a Chihuahua. This is not only offensive because Latinos are represented solely as a dog but it’s also an extremely offensive dog used for many Latino advertising such as, Taco Bell. It’s also important to point out that the Latino characters in films are always doing some sort of wrong doing and look dirty and tired. Here is a clip of the Chihuahua from the movie Oliver and Company. This character portrayal used in Disney films is a total misrepresentation that tells kids that Latinos are all bad people associated with crime and, more literally, dirtiness.
The First Asian representation portrayed in Disney films that I know of would be the two Siamese cats in Lady and the Tramp. They have slanted eyes, buck teeth, and are very thin in size. This is extremely hurtful to Asians when it comes to the factor of their appearance. Not only is it offensive but it also isn’t fair to make an Asian person a cat, an animal that has nothing to do with the Asian community. Another representation of Asians shown in films would be Mulan. This portrayal of the Chinese was vastly improved yet there were still some majorly offensive messages portrayed about the Chinese. For example, in the documentary it is explained how Mulan portrays China as extremely sexist and oppressive toward women. There is a scene where Mulan, herself, must go into an interview as part of training to become a distinguished lady in society. In real Chinese culture this isn’t even a real practice. Women are not dressed up with tons of makeup and taught how to treat a man while also having to go through an interview to see if they’re a proper woman fit for the men in their community.
Many Black people, as mention in the documentary, are usually portrayed as a black crow, a monkey, or a hyena. There has not been one Black person in a Disney movie until recently with the making of The Princess and the Frog which after reading a review also sounds extremely racist. It’s extremely important to notice that many movies with characters portraying Black people are always dancing and doing some kind of jive. They also have a slow slurred speech as shown in the video to my right of the crows in Dumbo. Another movie that is much more recent is Tarzan. The documentary pointed out that the movie is supposed to take place in Africa, yet not Black natives are shown. What was interesting to me was that the portrayal of Africa was totally unrealistic. Were the gorillas supposed to represent the black people? If so what does this say to children in Africa who watch the movie? It’s very clear to me that racist views are most definitely being pushed by the Walt Disney Company.
What’s Your Point?
My point is that while Disney, as a company, gets larger and larger they will become more powerful. This power will allow them to get away with anything. They will continue to hide behind, the childhood innocence, a characteristic that Disney has created over the decades. What’s alarming to me is that people don’t even notice the offensive themes being portrayed in movies not just made long ago but even those coming out now. Disney is creating a culture that is patriarchal and extremely oppressive to the minorities. They choose to push these messages into our minds subconsciously and then people believe that it’s okay, it’s rather normal and widely accepted to think this was when it’s most definitely not. From a political economist point of view I would suggest that everyone should become more skeptical about what they allow their children to watch. I would also suggest that even if you do watch Disney movies; at least have the decency to respect these other cultures and explain to your children that what they’re watching is merely a cartoon and that people of an ethnicity different from your own are not bad people. In reality we all should be viewing each other as equals.