Sunday, November 24, 2013

Online Assignment 3_Zacharias

The perspective of cultural studies is extremely evident in the Mickey Mouse Monopoly. The documentary spends a lot of time evaluating how children react to and pick up on racial and gender stereotypes. Many of the professionals who appear in the documentary believed that white supremacy was an evident value that was constant throughout Disney movies. In Tarzan, no African Americans appeared although the movie took place in Africa. Dr. Alvin Poussaint suggested that African American children viewing this movie in a movie theater in Africa would very obviously advocate white supremacy. Jacqueline Maloney pointed out that the orangutans in the Jungle Book held stereotypically black characteristics. The way that they told the little boy they wanted to be men like him might suggest that black people will never actually be men, but possibly lesser versions of some sort. These are excellent examples of the way that media produces culture via the cultural studies media perspective. Children develop their views of race at a young age directly from these movies, which ties into the magic bullet theory of being immediately affected by media.

            The Payne Fund findings proved that children learn from movies, which is basically the main point that the Mickey Mouse Monopoly attempts to prove. Possaint claimed that Disney was “sending a message to the audience that was not so subtle”, referring to Disney’s portrayal of hyenas in the Lion King as being similar to stereotypical inner-city Blacks. Maloney also referenced the magic bullet theory with an example of one of her friend’s sons. The little boy referred to a group of black children playing as “hyenas” because they sounded just like the hyenas in the film, and she couldn’t get her son to detach the sound from the movie to the children they saw that day. The little boy also made the association that these children must be “bad” because they were just like the hyenas to him. This is proof that media has the ability to directly affect people’s, especially children’s, beliefs and views. These examples exemplify the Payne Fund’s third finding about the magic bullet theory: media affects people’s attitudes toward groups. Chyng Feng Sun pointed out the similarities between the Siamese cats of the Lady and the Tramp and typical Asian stereotypes. The cats have slanted eyes, buck teeth, and thick accents. They are also portrayed as being cunning, sinister, and manipulative. She also pointed out that throughout Mulan, China was portrayed as being an extremely sexist and oppressive society. Nancy Eldredge is the education manager at Plimoth Plantation, and she sees the stereotypes that children develop first hand. She claimed that children think that all Native Americans hold their hands over their mouths and holler, and wear headdresses, ride horses and live in teepees. This is a direct example of the magic bullet effect as well. There’s a great possibility that many children who grew up watching the Disney film Peter Pan would develop these views. Eldredge claimed that by reenacting what children believe to be Native American activities, they are unknowingly making fun of Native Americans.


  1. I thought your insight into the cultural studies was interesting in terms of gender and racial stereotypes. I liked how you used the Tarzan example, it felt relevant to your point and it was also interesting and something I did not think about when writing my original post. I liked your use of the orangutan example because I thought it was one of the most alarming parts of the video, and I incorporated it in my post as well. I thought you did a nice job of tying the two perspectives together as well, since I did not cover the magic bullet perspective at all it was nice to see how the movie pertained to this particular perspective as well. I thought the little boy who had mistaken the black children on the playground as hyenas was a very interesting way to look at the magic bullet perspective, especially because I used the same evidence in my post to support a different perspective. I also liked how you quoted the education manager Nancy Eldredge and her observations since they show children’s uncensored thoughts and how Disney has affected them. I thought this was interesting because she stated that most children believe Indians howl and cover their mouth’s with their hands, a stereotype that Disney perpetuates. This shows how Disney has truly affected children’s perceptions of cultures and how they behave. Overall, I liked your post a lot and your evidence was both interesting and supportive of your points.

  2. The examples that are highlighted in Kayla's post are very clear examples of how race is portrayed in Disney movies through the use of the magic bullet effect. These ideas that are instilled in children at such a young age that the direct approach is so easy to sneak into their movies and have no one notice. The racial stereotypes that are created and carried on by Disney productions are hitting children and that is hard to change as they become adults because Disney creates the foundation of those ideologies. With such direct impacts, an interesting question to consider is how we get past these? What in society counter acts Disney's negative perspectives that these children believe? The connections between the cultural studies and the magic bullet effect seems very clear describe in this way. One aspect that I touched on in my reflection was how media creates ideas for a society and then supports them within other works. The continual portrayal of Indians as wearing headdresses and living in teepees, its no wonder that this image is one of the first ones that come to mind.
    Something else interesting to think about is Disney's motives behind these racial and gender stereotype portrayal? Why would they so strongly push these messages so strongly and don't stray far from their original perspectives?
    Insightful blog post and ideas presented!

  3. I thought the way you dealt with race and its portrayal in Disney films as it relates to the magic bullet theory was a great evaluation. I like your use of the hyena example in this post because it shows how children interpret the roles that characters in Disney movies play, and how they are associated with a certain race. Another example that I think could have strengthened that point is Abigail recalling that she doesn't remember African Americans as being good or bad characters. By using both the hyena reference and this observation by Abigail, you could make the argument that because there is a lack of black characters in Disney movies, children then identify the race with certain animal characters, reinforcing a belief that blacks are not equal and more closely related to animals than per say a caucasian person. I believe when the documentary discussed the Jungle Book this point was touched on that African American antics are given to the monkeys in the movie. Overall great blog post and ideas!