Tuesday, November 26, 2013

online assignment 3_Long

Some believe that the Disney Corporation holds an image of innocence and magic through entertainment. Others believe that Disney is much more than that. They are masking their power behind this innocence they portray. Regardless of which side is correct, Disney media plays a significant role in our society. When they bought ABC, they became the second largest corporation in the world. Today, they remain among the top six companies who control media in our society.
            Disney is a prime example for using many different perspectives on media effects. One is the cultural studies perspective, where the content that the media is representing comes from within the culture. The representation of these cultural ideas has the power to reinforce ideas or objects that are being depicted. Doctor Gale Dines discusses the stereotypes and the gender representations that Disney movies portray. For example, she comments on how the representation of women in Disney media has not changed over time. The women continue to be portrayed with large breasts, small waists, as well as being dependent on male characters. Specifically, in the Beauty and the Beast, Bell is dependent on the Beast even after he is abusive towards her. The construction of what femininity is and selling the message to children is harmful as they learn from what they are watching. Disney is clearly selling an idea as to what it means to be ‘feminine.’
Another cultural studies perspective that was relevant in the film was about the film, Tarzan. In Disney’s Tarzan, the story is about a white man surrounded only by other white people in Africa. Furthermore, the representation of the gorillas as being black is extremely racist. Doctor Alvin Poussaint claims that this film is representing white supremacy to the black children in Africa who watch the film. Tarzan is therefore, reinforcing racism to a younger generation.
            Cultivation is another perspective of media’s effects, regarding television taking over the cultural environment whereas cultural context used to be created by family, state and church. This perspective is cumulative, in how television exposure builds up this cultural environment slowly over time. Following this perspective, Doctor Justin Lewis, claims that Disney has an enormous amount of power all over the globe. He believes that Disney has created an environment of images that we get used to and will find them impacting us directly later in life. This is evident, as the college student’s that were interviewed in the film continue 15 years later, to discuss the effects of growing up with Disney’s films.
            A specific example of the cultivation perspective of media’s effect is how it has affected the way children play. This was a common topic among those featured on the film. A teacher, Marisa Peralta, claimed that the way that children are encouraged to play by Disney through the business’ commercialization, they are depriving children of their natural inclination to play the way that the children would want to without influence from Disney. 


  1. I completely agree that Disney portrays certain gender and racial stereotypes that help children form their views of society. However, I think it's difficult to say how much they really affect us. We're at a great age to be able to look deeper into Disney because we have the ability to notice subtle hints within movies, meanwhile I literally went to see a Disney movie this weekend. That being said, because we are now accustomed to reading into the deeper messages embedded in Disney movies, I noticed the main character of the film (a very skinny female with a tiny waist and big blue eyes), make a comment somewhere along the lines of fair skin being ideal. Though I'm old enough now to realize that these messages are a little messed up, I'm almost positive that I never even picked up on these messages as a child - not consciously anyway. I suppose it's difficult to pinpoint whether something affects you or not if it often happens without your conscious knowledge. The way that Disney portrays females is really not all that unique, though. There are many women who see the ideal woman as skinny with a tiny waist and big bright eyes, but this is due to the way multiple if not all media sources has presented the perfect woman to us throughout our lives.

  2. While reading through a handful of the posts so far, the cultural studies was one of the effects that was most prominent techniques that everyone picked up on, including myself. The gender perspective that Harper introduced was something that stuck out to me as well. Belle really successfully summarizes how Disney minimizes women and put their well being in the hands of the dominant male role.
    In response to Kayla's comment, I think she has a very good point when saying that the ideal meaning of being a women is portrayed through multiple media sources, but what is so unique about Disney is that their target audience is literally children. One could argue that Disney instills these ideas at such a young age, and that these other media sources just support these foundational idea Disney laid down. Disney's ideas stem back to 1944, when Snow White was produced. It could be interesting to look further into when these feminist ideas were created and how long they have been so engraved in our culture.
    The cultivation perspective is another interesting way to look at the Mickey Mouse Monopoly. The idea that media has such a shaping effect on society is kindof frightening. The example of children playing roles that are portrayed by Disney really shows how much kids think about what they see and how is translated into their everyday life.
    Good ideas and ability for discussion!

  3. In this assignment, most people picked up on similar things: the depiction of apes in Tarzan, and the skewed image of women that Disney usually portrays. However, what you touched on that many people didn't was Justin Lewis' testimony. The amount of entertainmenmt power that Disney has cannot be underestimated. They are one of the largest entertainment conglomerates in the world and without a doubt are the one that has the most impact on children. This means that what Disney puts into its films is ingrained in the minds of children from a very young age, and can subconciously affect the formation of opinions and beliefs. Your point of Disney constructing "what is feminine" is also interesting, as while the ideal female figure isn't lacking in media these days, the fact that young children are bing (nonverbally) told what they should look like is potentially dangerous.