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"The Wonderful World of Disney"

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Crystal Bennett

on 31 October 2013

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Transcript of "The Wonderful World of Disney"

Assisting basic cognitive development
Nurturing and enhancing linear reasoning ability
"The Wonderful World of Disney" -
By Priya, Qing, Fontane and Crystal

4 Corners
: Disney sanitizes stories for children.

Choose your corner!

Sanitation of Children's Literature
"Fairytales give children a symbolic space, removed from reality, in which to deal with and conquer their anxieties safely"

-- Professor Zipes from University of Minnesota

Comparison of Illustrations
To what degree do the illustrations tell the story by themselves?
Effects on children's cognitive development?
Completeness/ Information Capacity of the illustrations
Point of view/Narrator Perspective
Do the illustrations give the children a character's perspective or grant them with an omniscient view?
Effects on children's ability to empathize and the ensuing openness to other cultures
Colors, Textures, Lines, and Text forms
What colors does the illustration use? Are there various hues, saturation, and tones of the same color? Are certain colors associated with certain characters or events?
Are there variations in textures, lines, and text forms in the illustrations? Are pictures rendered in a vague or definite fashion?
Effects on children's imagination and exposure to cultural differences
Contributions and Limitations
Women in Disney

• Disney has been accused of sexism and poor ethics, and several Disney stories also express and romanticize racism

• Racism can be seen in almost every Disney story, but some of the corporation's movies illustrate racism to a deeper or more offensive degree than others:

~Peter Pan

~Opening musical sequence: Arabian Nights

“Where they cut off your ear/ if they don’t like your face/ It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home.”

~Physical Features

Peter Pan
• Aboriginal representation – bright red skin
and are mute, except for the chief who communicates in broken English

• Song: “What Makes The Red Man Red”

~Communicate in grunts – “ugg”
~Skin colour as red – seen as not human

• Happy ending twist history of killing and
oppression of Aboriginals
• Song: “Savages”

~Endorses the idea of Aboriginals as savages

~“barely even human”, “not like you and me which means they must be evil”, “dirty redskin devils”

Racial Representation in Disney

Effects on Children

• Children learn ethics and social conduct through children’s literature and mass media

• Simplified identities allow children to categorize each culture using certain features (e.g. all ‘bad/evil’ people have dark skin)

• Children accept this as the norm and categorize as natural – this cannot be defined as innocent stereotypes

• “There is nothing innocent in what kids learn about race as portrayed in the ‘magical world’ of Disney…The racism in these films is defined by the presence of racist representations and the absence of complex representations of African Americans and other people of colour.” (Henry A. Grioux in Mark Pinsky’s “The Gospel According to Disney, 2004)

• Can initiate conversations about
the aspects of racism that are depicted

• Provide time for critical thinking and analysis when deconstructing Disney stories

So What Do We Do?
• “There is no excuse for racism in any form because, even when slavery was legal, there were abolitionists, providing that compassion is crucial regardless of time and place. Just because propaganda was more common during certain periods in time, doesn’t make it any more justified.” Milos Milovanovic (Racism
in Cartoons, Hidden by Censorship, page 3)

• Disney has a moral responsibility to portray people
of all races and ethnicities in a positive way

"The first feminist princess movie. Merida does not pine for a prince to come to her rescue, and solves her own problems without the aid of a suitor." Kristen Howerton, The Huffington Post
The letter on Change.org reads, in part:

The redesign of Merida in advance of her official induction to the Disney Princess collection does a tremendous disservice to the millions of children for whom Merida is an empowering role model who speaks to girls' capacity to be change agents in the world rather than just trophies to be admired. Moreover, by making her skinnier, sexier and more mature in appearance, you are sending a message to girls that the original, realistic, teenage-appearing version of Merida is inferior; that for girls and women to have value -- to be recognized as true princesses -- they must conform to a narrow definition of beauty.

Snow White
Tiana- 2009
Rapunzel- 2010
Merida- 2012
Nori Says No
Using font effect to represent the dynamic changes of feelings, motivating multi-sensory experiences and thus enhancing memory and nurturing imagination
grey tone
in flash back- helping children develop a sense of the differences between the past and present (cognitively and grammatically)
No covert or overt definitions of or clear-cut lines between beautiful and ugly, good and evil, right and wrong, leaving room for children's own interpretation and development of their own value system
Dragons in Disney V.S. Dragons Across Cultures
Colors, Textures, Lines, and Text arrangements in Disney V.S. that in other children literature
The completeness of illustrations in Disney V.S. that in other children literature
Innovation of Disney Illustrations
Prescribed value system
fossilized imagination
stereotyped cultural awareness
limited cognitive development
underdeveloped openness to diversity and differences
“Unlearning The Myths That Bind Us- Critquing Cartoons and Society”
–Linda Christensen

Young people, unprotected by any intellectual armor, hear or watch these stories again and again, often from the warmth of their mother’s or father’s lap.
(4, Rethinking our classrooms, Revised Edition)
Ariel Dorfman (Chilean Writer)
Industrially produced fiction has
become one of the primary shapers of our emotions and our intellect in the twentieth century.
Although these stories are supposed to merely entertain us, they constantly give us a secret education…We are taught more than anything else, how not to rebel.
(4, Rethinking our classrooms, Revised Edition.

How did these women
become "Disney Princesses"?
So what can we
do with Disney?
What are your
reactions to these
Now it is your turn to "Undisnify" Disney! Choose a Disney story and make it your own! Come up with a title, and how your story is different from the original!
Cheryl Kilodavis
Paper Bag Princess- 1980
Robert Munsch
Cornelia Funke
Jane Yolen
'Parents think their kids will understand the messages that they are bombarded with all the time and they don't.'

Disney Fairytales
more leniant to evil
great influence to young children
not as violent
transformation (ie. perfection)
pretty princesses, charming princes and happy endings --> dominates our collective memory
Ariel vs. little mermaid
original vs. Disney
The Little Mermaid
multicultural stories
Yeh Shen vs. Cinderella
classroom literature teaching
Child Development
power of visuals (images) to children in psychological aspect
Albert Bandura
psychologist, proposed social learning theory
children learn new behaviours from observing other people
observe actions of others, help children develop new skills and acquire new information (ex: prince saving princesses)

Parent's Perspective
Disney advantages
- less violence
- problems solved
- princess and prince belongs together
- "Happy ever after"
- children live in happy world (understand reality when older)
Disney disadvantages
- not knowing reality can cause future problems
- young children have strong belief in prince/princess
evil in world can be easily solved
- existence of royalty is diminishing
- problems always arise
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