What Disney movies are really about.
By Alex Nagorski
We’ve all taken Miley Cyrus-size hits from the Disney bong and gotten high off of its magic. But what is that “magic”? Is it just a veil to cover up the morals and twisted codes of ethics these films present to children? Allow me to divulge some examples:
Beauty and the Beast: A classic case of Stockholm Syndrome. Belle falls in love with the Beast despite the fact that he kidnapped her father (the artist formerly known as crazy old Maurice) and only let him go because Belle agreed to be his hostage for life. After screaming some verbal abuse and literally forcing his “guest” to starve, the Beast is portrayed as the good guy because he doesn’t act on the threats of domestic violence that loom throughout the film. Rewarding him for his “inner beauty” is like giving a douchey frat boy a medal every time he doesn’t roofie a drunk girl.
The Little Mermaid: Following in the highly progressive footsteps of the moral code set by Grease, this movie teaches us that the only way to get a guy to fall for you is to become a massive slut. Ursula sums up Ariel’s entire plot to win over Eric when she tells her, “don’t underestimate the importance of body language!” Women are literally given no voice in this film and Ariel tries to win loverboy over entirely on the grounds that she is pretty (nope. Nothing wrong or anti-feminist about that). So don’t worry about actually communicating because as long as you sway your hips the right way and show a little skin, he’ll be bound to kiss the girl.
Mulan: Homosexuality is wrong. It’s a sin and if you act on any gay impulses you may have, you will dishonor your entire family and be shunned for life. At least according to this movie. Li Shang falls head over heels for Mulan when she’s dressed in drag and he thinks she’s a dude. However, he is afraid to accept this about himself and tries to deny his feelings. JAY PLAY! Mulan is actually a girl so Li Shang can (sort of) act on his homoerotic fantasies about him/her and society can accept him. I think this was a more interesting story when it was just Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Ah, yes. Disney’s love letter to people with physical disabilities/deformities begging them to stay out of the public’s eye. Poor, poor Quasimodo. Had you just stayed locked away in your bell tower with your imaginary gargoyle friends, you would have never fallen in love with your BFFL Esmeralda and experienced that degree of heartbreak. Despite the fact that you risked your life for her on countless occasions, you stood no chance next to the tall, blonde, beefy, annoyingly goofy Phoebus. Thank you Disney for teaching us that it’s actually not what’s inside that counts.
Racism in Disney films is a whole different conversation that could easily go on for hours. It’s not just the recent portrayal of African Americans in The Princess and the Frog (a.k.a. the movie where if you’re black and poor, don’t ever expect to ever have a chance at a good life), Disney’s negative depiction of who they deem to be “the other” is as old as the company itself.
From the crows in Dumbo to the Siamese cats in Lady and the Tramp to the song “What Makes The Red Man Red” in Peter Pan to the westernization of Aladdin and Jasmine (whitewashing their skin; Aladdin going by “Al”) and the Arab-enhanced features on the villain, Jafar, Disney Co. is infamous for continuing Walt Disney’s racist agenda.
Disney films are also widely criticized for representation of women as subservient creatures who wait forever for a man to sweep them off their feet -- their definition of true happiness. Snow White is a content little homemaker (even when not in her own house!) because she knows that someday her prince will come. If she didn’t marry a man, Cinderella would be destined to a life of near-slavery. Sleeping Beauty literally spends her time IN A COMA until a man quite literally breathes new life into her.
The list just goes on and on and on.
Originally published on Crazytown Blog