For most of us the very word ‘Disney’ fills our imaginations with pictures of that joyful and ridiculously expensive theme park we all dreamt of visiting as kids or any number of hugely successful animated motion pictures that are as timeless today as they were whenever they happened to be produced.
Sure, Bambi’s mother gets killed and the king gets trampled to death in The Lion King but it is hard not to think of Disney animations and not get the rumblings of that feel good factor that we all believe Disney movies are supposed to be about.
Well, like most things in life, there is always two sides to each and every story and with just a slightly closer look you might be shocked to learn of the hidden meaning and messages that are behind some of the most popular Disney animations ever created. So shocked that you might think twice about letting your own kids grow up using the movies of Disney to educate them on some very important life lessons.
The Little Mermaid
Disney’s The Little Mermaid tells the wonderful story of Princess Ariel, a mermaid who longs for nothing more other than the chance to venture on to dry land, a place she has long been curious about, all because she is dissatisfied with her life as a princess under the waves of the ocean.
Despite the many warnings from her father, the king of the ocean, Ariel ventures to the surface of the ocean where she meets Prince Eric who she instantly falls madly and deeply in love with. From here on, despite a few twists and obvious plot turns, Princess Ariel stops at nothing to find a way to be with Prince Eric and live happily ever after.
The Inappropriate Message
One thing The Little Mermaid is not short of is inappropriate messages that are being delivered to your kids. First up there is the very real fact that Princess Ariel is a spoilt and selfish little girl who goes out of her way to disobey her fathers wishes. Here we have a girl who quite literally has the of riley, she is a princess and her father is the king after all, where every single one of her desires is met and satisfied with little more than a blink of an eye yet she still wants more. The message that your young and impressionable kids get here is that nothing should ever be good enough and that it is okay to go against the wishes of your parents as long as its something you really, really want.
Of course this is not the most worrying of messages that children receive from watching The Little Mermaid. The really inappropriate message in this Disney movie is delivered behind the disguise of Princess Ariel’s love from Prince Eric. The big problem that Ariel faces in her quest to be with Eric, a man she has only met the once I might add, is that she is a mermaid and lacks a set of legs. Something that is quite useful when it comes to living on dry land. Yes , you guessed it, the film quickly becomes a tale which follows Ariel’s desire to change herself at all costs even if that means going against her father’s wishes and turning her back on everything she knows in life. The point here is that little girls everywhere watch this movie and come away thinking that it is normal and acceptable for a woman to change everything she is and knows for the sake of a man. In this case Ariel is changing for a man she doesn’t even know having only met him once or twice.
Way to go Disney and thank you so much for teaching young girls that they really mean nothing in life and that all they aspire to is serving a man even if it means turning your back on who you are.
The story of Cinderella existed long before Disney worked their magic on the tale. The story follows Cinderella who spends her life waiting on her ugly sisters who treat her like garbage. All that Cinderella wants from life is a chance to goto the ball but her ugly sisters keep her at home where she continues to take abuse and is expected to serve them.
Luckily for Cinderella she has a fairy godmother who grants her the wish of going to the ball in wonderful carriage and ball gown where she meets the prince of her dreams. Just before midnight cinderella is forced to flee the ball before her wish runs out and her gown turns back in to the rags she wears in her daily life. In her haste to get away Cinderella loses her shoe which the prince finds and uses in his quest to find the woman he has fallen madly and instantly in love with. The rest of the story sees the prince trying the lost shoe on the feet of any woman he can find with the belief that it will only fit the woman he met at the ball.
The Inappropriate Message
The story of Cinderella delivers some pretty shocking ideas into the lives of the kids who watch or even hear this story. First up take a look at poor Cinderella herself. Sure, her life is somewhat sad, she lives as a kind of prisoner who is held captive by her sisters so that they don’t have to lift a finger. All that poor Cinderella wants is for someone to see her and love her for what and who she is. One might argue that Cinderella is actually lucky to get the chance to wear her fine gown and attend the ball but unfortunately for Cinderella when the handsome prince turns up at the door with the lost shoe in his hand he fails to recognise Cinderella as the love of his life.
The inappropriate message here is Disney is basically telling young kids that a makeover is everything in life. Girls are faced with the message that no man will love her or find her beautiful unless she has that all important make over and young boys are given the impression that a woman is only worth looking at if she is all dolled up.
Of course what is even more worrying here is that the handsome prince fails to recognise the woman he supposedly loves. What type of man is this prince that the only way he can recognise a woman that he supposedly loves is by slipping a shoe on to her foot. Now that is worrying when you think about the type of hero Disney seems to be happy put in front of our kids. So much for young girls being told that a man should love them for who they are.
Oh, and let us not forget the ugly sisters who go as far as to cut of their own toes in the hope of fitting their foot in to a shoe and bagging themselves a prince. If I didn’t know better I would say that Disney is telling kids that it is okay to stop at nothing when it comes to trying to get ahead in life even if it requires shitting on those most dear to yourself or any other cost.
Beauty and the Beast
At first glance it is hard not to fall in love with the story of Beauty and the Beast, a movie which tells the tale of Belle who winds up stuck in a huge castle with the castles owner and his servant who have all been magically turned into clocks, mops and other household items. It is not just the servants who are having a bad time the castle owner is also suffering because of a curse that has been placed upon him making him into a horrific looking beast who everyone, especially the nearby townsfolk, are completely terrified of.
The only way that the beast can break the curse is if he manages to have someone fall genuinely in love with him despite his horrific appearance. As a side story to the movie viewers see that the local stud has his heart set on Belle and despite every woman in the local town desperate for his attention Belle is completely uninterested with him.
The Inappropriate Message
There is a lot going on in Beauty and the Beast to pick fault with when you take a look at the movie. To start with you get the very real feeling that the movie is giving the impression to youngsters that once a man has his sights set on a woman there is little she can do to escape his lust even if she has no interest in him.
This of course is quickly followed up with a hidden message behind the relationship of Belle and the Beast. During the movie the beast does some pretty horrific things. He holds Belle against her will which, correct me if I’m wrong here, is something the law considers to be kidnapping and false imprisonment. In the real and grown up world it is somewhat hard to imagine any woman forgiven this type of behaviour and this is even before I remind you of the horrific temper that the beast displays at various points throughout the movie.
It might take a bit of digging for you to get where I’m coming form on this one but it would come as no surprise to me that the one thing kids take form this movie is that kidnapping, false imprisonment and violent tempers are all okay as long as you have money. Let us not forget that the beast does indeed live in a huge castle and is actually a prince. If I didn’t know any better I would say that Disney is trying its best to prepare young girls to accept their fate as Hugh Heffner’s next wife.
Once again you really have to scratch your head and wonder why a studio such as Disney seems to be going out of its way to give the immersion that it is morally okay to marry a man for his money and to put up with all kinds of inappropriate behaviour just because he can buy you designer shoes.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Snow White could arguably be one of Disney’s most famous animations. As we all know Snow White disappears into the woods to get away from her evil step-mother who happens to be the jealous queen and winds up living with and looking after seven dwarfs who she meets in the woods.
The twist in the story comes because the evil and jealous queen has a magic mirror that truthfully answers any question the queen happens to ask it. When the queen asks the mirror who is the fairest of them all the mirror obviously replies with Snow White’s name which tells the queen that Snow White is not dead and sets the wheels in motion for the queen to try and kill Snow White once and for all. Just your typical type of everyday family shenanigans except for the bit where Snow White eats the poisoned apple which sends her into the deep sleep from which she cannot wake unless she receive a kiss from a handsome prince. As you already know the handsome prince shows up just in time to plant the lips on our heroine and break the spell.
The Inappropriate Message
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is the type of film that could quite easily have your average feminist turning in her grave. Snow White might be the most beautiful woman in the whole wide world, the very reason the queen hates her, but this just adds insult to injury when you finally see the hidden and inappropriate message this movie is hiding in plain view.
Think about the character of Snow White and every situation that she finds herself in throughout this story. Firstly you have her living in a cabin in the woods with seven guys and waiting on them hand and foot. She does all of their laundry, cooks and cleans for them. Personally, I cannot help but wonder what else she might be providing them with had this not been a movie aimed at children, Sure, they might all be dwarfs but that doesn’t mean they don’t have needs if you catch my drift. The hidden message here is, in a very sly fashion I might add, that women are only useful for a handful of things in this world and in this case that is performing meanly household tasks.
Any doubt regarding what I am suggesting here certainly has to be cancelled out when you take a second look at the end part of the movie. Snow White is in a deep sleep which she cannot wake unless she receives a kiss from a prince who is obviously a man. Yes, that is right, once again young girls are being given the message that anything they want to do in life is only possible with the help of a man.
So there you have it kids. If you’re a girl you can aspire to cook and clean for the rest of your life and if you want to do anything other than that, well, that is only possible with the help of a man.
I don’t know about you but I think Disney really has a lot to answer for with reference to the lessons they are teaching our kids.