The Mickey Mouse Monopoly is an exploration of the effect early childhood media exposure can have on a young psyche, and the reason behind those consequences. This is somewhat an extension of an article we read for section that I found very interesting, and the documentary continued to shed light on this burgeoning field. While Disney has been a hallmark of children’s entertainment for almost a century, the possible negative impact it can have on impressionable children is a more recent idea, and one that is explored greatly in this documentary.
The Magic Bullet is one of the media perspectives explored in this documentary. This perspective applies to nearly all of the movies mentioned in the film, but the point that I found most interesting was Disney’s portrayal of black stereotypes. In the case of The Jungle Book, nearly all the animals are anthropomorphized, and while some animals are depicted fairly neutrally, the monkeys resembled black stereotypes common in the animation industry in the 1960’s. This may have lead children to associate blacks with ape-like tendencies such as stealing, yelling, fighting, and other activities usually associated with the poor. While this depiction was bad, the hyenas in The Lion King are worse. They are a quite obvious representation of inner-city youth, with loud banter and scuffling the majority of their character development. While as a child I didn’t consciously associate them with blacks, I did recognize that behavior as undesirable. This is a problem because that behavior was and is a media stereotype of blacks. Therefore, the film aided those connections being made in my mind, with the support of other media. This brings in the cultivation perspective of media, and the interactions between the magic bullet and cultivation.Another aspect of Disney’s cultural influence is it’s portrayal of women. The main heroine always has the ideal figure, and (in some cases) is completely dependent on men for salvation. Disney upended this “damsel in distress” formula with Mulan, and more recently with Brave. However, the majority of films (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty) deal with themes of female weakness and vulnerability. However, even in Mulan Disney dealt with stereotypes. Chinese society is portrayed as viciously sexist and oppressive, exemplified when soldiers call for Mulan’s immediate execution when it is revealed she is a woman. This can cause children to associate Asian ethnicities with those same characteristics.