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Disney Villains

impact of Disney villains on children

Michelle Morrison

on 28 September 2014

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Transcript of Disney Villains

Disney Villains
Background: Walt Disney
Born December 5, 1901 in Chicago, Illinois and one of 5 children
Lived during industrial growth so sought to preserve small-town American values and feel
Many sources say Disney was physically abused by his father and it is evident in some of his films (such as Pinocchio's violent scene)
December 21, 1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs released as first full-length animated musical feature
Walt Disney built an empire now worth over $22 billion
Lesser Know/ Absent Villains
(Basic problems with these villains are that they are TOO SCARY for children)
The Horned King-- The Black Cauldron
movie did not do well because critics warned parents that it was too scary for children
extremely scary army of the undead
Clayton-- Tarzan
realistic problems of poachers in the jungle, no magic
death is terrifying because not only does Clayton cause it himself, but is done without magic: he hangs himself
Shere Khan-- The Jungle Book
British (will discuss more on that later)
hates humans and goes out of his way to attack Mogli
Humans in Bambi
story is somewhat parallel to Jews being hunted down by Nazis
one of the most traumatic moments experienced by children is the death of Bambi's mother
Maleficent-- Sleeping Beauty
Judge Frollo-- The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Evil Queen-- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Jafar-- Aladdin
Ursula-- The Little Mermaid
Scar-- The Lion King
Gaston--Beauty and the Beast
Even though she is not impossibly skinny, she is still hyper-sexualized
Is a large black and purple squid in direct physical contrast to Ariel, whose body is a "cross between a rebellious teenager and a Southern California fashion model" (Giroux)
She enjoys her deviant body
Lighting in the movie comes from below, highlighting her curves and facial wrinkles
Portrayed as older and wiser and more knowing in her performance of gender
Considered by some to the re-articulation of mythical Medusa
likeness to Medusa is important: Freud likens Medusa's snakes (or Ursula's tentacles) to multiple phallus representing the castration anxiety of men
Women in Disney movies that use power are villains and if the heroine tries, their aggressiveness plunges everyone else into peril
Ursula is the seawitch that merpeople go to for "help" but is destructive and dangerous
She and Ariel both want more power and freedom and the movie claims that Ariel's way (of lying and eventually marrying a prince) is ok while Ursula's non-romantic way is not
Both women represent something that threatens male-dominated social order and must be controlled or stamped out
Ursula is the only female character that is a direct foil to King Triton
Another Disney movie with no mother figure, even though Ursula is given some maternal power by helping Ariel she is ultimately the villain
She ridicules sentimentality and moral ideals of the story, so children think they must do the opposite of what she says (i.e. give up everything for a man by betraying your family)
She tells Ariel she won't need her voice because men don't like it when women talk:
This wouldn't be so bad (being said by a villain) but she ends up being right, Eric still kisses Ariel even though he has never talked to her
"You'll have your looks! Your pretty face! And don't forget about the power of body language! HAH! The men up there don't like a lot of blabber, they think a girl who gossips is a bore! Yes, on land it's much preferred for ladies not to say a word after all, dear, what is idle prattle for? Come on, they're not all that impressed with conversation; True gentlemen avoid it when they can. But they dote and swoon and fawn, on a lady who's withdrawn It's she who holds her tongue who get's a man"
The ultimate vain, macho male typical of Hollywood circa 1980's
Beast is also a narcissistic, muscle-bound tyrant-- however, Belle reforms the Beast
Serves as a contrast to the Beast; Gaston looks good on the outside but is not good on the inside while the Beast does not look good on the inside but (as we discover) IS good on the inside
Real-world villain: a man who will NOT take no for an answer
Passes as a "hero" for most of the movie
He is clearly creepy but his "manliness" is still celebrated in his feature song
Leers at Belle
Belle is seen as rebellious for rejecting him, different from the norm (such as the 3 blonde bimbettes who swoon after him)
We applaud Belle for rejecting him but the very fact that his gaze fell upon her for her looks and nothing else signals that she is desirable mainly for her looks
He tells Belle she and all women should not read which is comical- except that women still chase after him making it seem ok that he says and thinks that should be true
What message do this send girls? Or even boys? That it is ok to be demeaning to women and only like them for their looks because there are women who like vain men like that? Or that women should desire a man like that?
Drawn skinnier and darker than his brother, makes no sense since they are BROTHERS
Also speaks with a British accent while Mufasa speaks with a mainstream US English accent
British accent gives him a "certain snob appeal" (Wenke) and allows for him to have eccentric mannerisms
Gives him a sense of superiority in culture and intellect
Highlights snobbish mannerisms
Hyena croonies are voiced with minority accents by Whoopi Goldberg and Cheech Marin
Depicted with Nazi- like army of hyenas during his chilling feature song, "Be Prepared"
Movie is portraying a "rightful" monarchist rule; Simba does not fight for democracy but to remain king
Scar's death is similar to Clayton's in that it happens completely without magic, making it very realistic and therefore more gruesome and horrifying for children
He falls off the cliff, lands safely, but is then literally torn to pieces by hyenas even though all we see are shadows
Eerily beautiful with a commanding voice; movements are regal and powerful (same artist as Jafar)
Another example of a woman who has power but is evil
Her power is actually greater than anyone in the kingdom's, including the 3 fairies
She is depicted as extremely petty: entire plot of the movie revolves around the fact that she is mad that she did not get invited to Princess Aurora's christening
So really she is being evil and mean for....no reason
Her role as a Disney villain is particularly important because she has more screen time than Aurora
People also clearly remember her because she is ranked #1 on the Top 30 Disney Villains of All Time
People love her because she has no real reason to be so evil but what message does that send young girls? That it is ok to throw a fairly catastrophic temper tantrum because you want to?
She ironically talks of true love solving everything so we are supposed to hate her for that and believe it is true
Snow White started the Disney Princess line and the Evil Queen was the beginning of the Disney Villains
Extremely beautiful but is jealous of Snow White's beauty
This highlights the sad competition women find themselves in
Only personality trait portrayed is vanity
Many argue that she is driven to madness by society's cruel favoritism for youthful beauty over wisdom and age
Her death is particularly gruesome (further explained in the video below:)
Very disturbing character
Movie opens with him hunting down Gypsies, murdering a young mother, and then almost committing infanticide (stopped by the priest)
He has a very obvious lust for Esmeralda
Probably the most talk of hellfire and damnation in a G-rated movie
His character was adapted from a very adult book:
He is a hypocritical religious zealot- an adult theme and psychology that children do not understand
Lusting after character of Esmeralda- who is very sexualized and even depicted coming from the hellfire to entice him into sin
Christians like that he is a judge and that the priest in the movie is depicted as good
This character is twisted and a great villain BUT not for younger children
Another example of a character given a seemingly random British accent to create a snobbish and superior manner
He is also drawn darker and skinnier (like Scar and Maleficent) than others around him
However, he is considered a more accurate depiction of Arab people
"...all the bad guys [in Aladdin] have beards and large bulbous noses, sinister eyes and heavy accents, and their wielding swords constantly...my daughter is ashamed to call herself Arab" --Yousef Salem former spokesperson for South Bay Islamic Association
Compare to Aladdin, whose features were based on that of Tom Cruise
This movie as a whole was filled with racial stereotypes of Arabs and while I never noticed them, clearly other children did and reacted to them
Full transcript