Wednesday, November 27, 2013


      When initially watching any Disney movie, the viewers are unlikely to think about the motives behind any of their ideas. Many are unaware of the subliminal messages that are being thrown at us at a very young age. Disney’s target audience is children and Disney Corporation take advantage of their audience’s vulnerability to instill ideologies in their young minds. These ideas that Disney has created have morphed our society and how people think. After reviewing the ideas presented by Mickey Mouse Monopoly, it was interesting to look back and see how Disney uses different persuasive media techniques in their movies and other media outlets. The two strategies that stuck out most to me were the critical culture studies and the magic bullet technique.
Disney has a particular public image that they are expected, and will do anything in their power, to uphold. What the public is unaware of is how large the Disney Corporation actually is. Dr. Justin Lewis, a Journalism professor, shed light on them buying out ABC, making Disney one of the six largest media corporations in the world. This fact highlights the cultural studies outlook on power. In lecture, we discussed how power works and how elites end to have an overarching control over what is produced in the media. With Disney’s ride in power, the public is expected to be more critical of their products, but because Disney has maintained their golden image few question their leader’s motives. Therefore, allowing Disney corporate leaders to influence their messages. With the production of so many ‘Disney Princess’ movies they are influencing the cycle of creating the public ideology and then reinforcing them with continued publication. This idea was evidently portrayed within the section ‘How to be a girl? How to be a boy?’. Disney has created this idea of what it means to be a woman that has not altered since Snow White. Dr. Gail Dines says this constructs an unrealistic notion of feminity and young girls can’t connect that women they know don’t look like that. Disney princesses are the foundation of what it means to be a girl and it is reinforced in all outlets of media.
                When initially thinking about whether or not Disney is intentionally creating these ideas, it is hard to say. Disney isn't outrightly telling girls to be emotionally submissive and use their bodies to get what they want, for example, but they are so powerful that this is what is being absorbed, even if the viewer doesn’t know it. Disney is so powerful and influential that they are a magic bullet approach to persuade their audience. They have just crafted an attractive package for these negative ideologies, claims Dr. Dines. There is no way to deny that Disney influences every view, at least a little bit. Alison Wilson shares how she sees children play at recess, girls in distress and boys coming to their rescue. The ideas of race that are portrayed in Disney films lead to many premature stereotypes, for example Native Americans and darker skinned individuals in general.

                It is important to remember that Mickey Mouse isn’t writing these ideas himself, there are people writing these ideas for a reason. The public tends to forget that these characters and stories are created by one of the biggest multimedia corporations of our time. Disney has effectively crafted a way to manipulate their audience, while maintaining their golden name. 


  1. I really like how you tie in the fact that you believe Disney has an ethical obligation to do what is right for society because they are one of the six largest media companies. They should understand the importance of ethics because they own a huge news corporation in ABC. I think your evaluation of how girls learn how to act from the female characters in Disney films is interesting. In a class I took at UW-LaCrosse, we examined society and how media affects children. Disney movies were brought up. One thing that goes a little bit further than your examination is how many different messages are sent throughout Disney movies. Meaning, Snow White sends one message, Little Mermaid sends another, as well as Pocahontas and so forth. But if you made a list of all their qualities, in the end you have characteristics that encompass women being submissive to men and being a "servant" so to speak to male characters. It is very hard to find a Disney story that makes the focal female character a bigger hero as compared to the focal male character. Female characters sometimes have triumphant or heroic moments - like Pocahontas saving John Smith - but ultimately she is not a hero throughout the movie.

    Great post. It was very intriguing.

  2. I really thought that the point you brought up that "Disney has effectively crafted a way to manipulate their audience, while maintaining their golden name" was a great one and I agree completely. Many people don't realize the sublminal messages that Disney is getting out to the public, I know I didn't realize it until watching theis documentary. I also like how you brought up the question of whether or not Disney is intentionally creating these messages or not, because we don't actually know, however it's likely given Disney's long history of doing this. I probably would have added a few points about how it isn't only the gender aspect but cultural as weel as they are both component of the cultural studies aspect of media. Great post though with a lot of great thoughts!