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The Heroes, Villains, Children and Disney

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Rinky Barua

on 18 July 2013

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Transcript of The Heroes, Villains, Children and Disney

DISNEY HEROES
The typical characteristics
Brave
Strong
Courageous
Extremely Handsome
Muscular
Always have a fine American accent
Usually all look the SAME
Main role--> always "saving-the-day" and ofcourse"sweeping the princesses off their feet"
Aladdin
Not a prince
But possesses all the same physical characteristics of a typical Disney Hero
Middle Eastern characters and setting; but yet has an American accent
Portrayal of:
Dominance
Strength
Emphasis on Masculinity
Shapes our perspective
Henry A. Giroux Quotes: "Dominant representations about gender roles, race and agency that are
endlessly repeated in Disney"
For instance: Heroes typically always have American accents- EVEN ALADDIN
Prince in Princess and the Frog--> no "saving the day" type of qualities: hence an exotic accent
rather than American
Female Subordination
Dependency on Mr. Right
Mulan portray empowerment and challenges female stereotypes
HOWEVER as Film Critic Janet Maslin points out "still enough of a fairy tale to need Mr. Right".
No matter how brave the female characters are, in the end it's all about finding and marrying the right guy
Typical characteristics
Obviously UGLY
Giroux: "masterfully portrays evil and betrayal" (96)
Girouz: "They appear grotesque, violent and cruel" (104)
Require to look "evil", but then they are racially characterized
Non-American physical characteristics
Racially coded language
While the Heroes have American accents, the villains have British accents; if not British than any other accent other than American
Concept: Americanization comes in play, where the "American culture is dominant, while subordinating other cultures" (Storey 207)
Examples
Pay close attention to their accents
How are kids affected?
Yusef Salem (former spokesperson)
Quote: "In Aladdin, the bad guys have thick accents, bulbous noses, sinister eyes and heavy accents. Aladdin on the other hand, has a small nose, no beard and has an American boy characteristcs. My own daughter is ashmed to call herself an Arab because of such portrayals" (Giroux 104).

"Through these representations children are taught that characters who do not bear the imprint of white, middle-class ethnicity are culturally deviant, inferior, unintelligent, and a threat" (Giroux 106).
Controversial racially stereotyping lyrics
Example: Aladdin's opening song: Arabian Nights
Listen closely
After the release of Aladdin in 1992 and being a high profile release, the song became one of the most controversial example of racial stereotyping in Disney (Giroux 104).
Lyricist Howard Ashman re-wrote those two lines in the song
However what still remains is: "It's barbaric, but hey it's home"
So does it make a difference?
Other examples
Music
The World of Disney
Disney Corporation
Films
Cartoons
Theme Park (Disney Land)
Merchandise
Revenues
Effects on Culture?
Films and Cartoons
Idea of Hyperrealism
""The real and the imaginary simultaneously collapse into each other" (Storey 187).
Children are constantly bombarded with imagery through these films and cartoons
"Animated films usher children into terrains that are "exotic" and "other"-- filled with fantasies of escape, romantic adventures, and powerful emotional themes about survival, separation, death and loss" (Giroux 7).
"Fantasies contain utopian traces that offer an antidote to the brutality and emptiness of everyday lives" (Giroux 7).

Disney Land
More than 27000 acres of land in Orlando, Florida
"Walt wanted to isolate his new park from the grime and commercial incursions of the outside world" (Giroux 37).
Theme park environment: "antiseptic, homogenous, regulated and controlled"
An embodiment of American idealism (mixture of fantasy, fun, utopia)
Walt Disney insisted that "the park should provide entertainment filled lessons that reaffirm an unqualified patriotic enthusiam for the American way" (Giroux 37)
He literally wanted to control the environment, so people are far from the real negative world
People are not only indulged in films and television, but now they are living in that fantasy world
Idea of Hyperrealism comes in play again and also "schizophrenia" (Storey 193)
As Jameson points out: "Schizophrenia is the notion of people gradually forgetting the basis of history and culture as they shift towards a highly post-modern commercial culture" (Storey 193).
Merchandise and commercialization
Commodities
Companies incorporated; selling Disney products such as Toys 'r' us, McDonalds
Example: Hercules turned into an advertisment for spinf-off merchandise: sneakers, toy figurines, etc (Giroux 161).
Jameson refers to culture as "highly commercialized culture: which is simply an economic activity" (Storey193).
Revenues
Disney Corporation annual revenue for 2008: $37.8 Billion
Aladdin earned $1 billion from box-office income, video sales and merchandise such as Princess Jasmine Dresses, Genie cookie jars
Effects on Culture
Educator -- Entertainer
Walt Disney fused education with entertainment: "blurring the boundaries between public culture and commercial interests" (Giroux 18).
Michael M. Ames: musems changing their roles from an educator to an entertainer
"Museums attempting to make exhibitions that are more entertaining and revenue productive" (Ames 8).
The notion of Museums becoming commercialized, and making revenues becomes the main motive.
The difference between both notions: Disney is constantly shaping children's minds and forming their opinions through stereotypical representations
Clifford Geertz: "cannot entirely know about another culture, so we rely on the information we get"
Elizabeth Hallem: "representations of different cultures through written accounts, deploy concepts of time and history that re-inforce non-Western "otherness"
Walt Disney Quote on creating America through Disney: "born-again belief in the squeaky clean virtues of front porch USA, and nostalgia for a supposedly uncomplicated, decent, hard working, crime-free, rise up and salute the flag way of life" (Giroux 38).
DISNEY
"Selective Tradition"
Raymond Williams
"Culture is 'selected' for documentation and used in reduced forms" (Williams 51).
"The Disney corporation organizes and regulates culture profoundly influence children's culture and everyday lives" (Giroux 2).
Control over means of production and circulation
Commercialized Culture
Hyper-realism
Schizophrenia
Merely entertainment
Americanization of culture
Big Business
Target audience: Children
And to attract adults: Disneyland
Main motive: Profit making
"Alterations in political and economic conditions forcing changes in the mandate of museums" (Ames 7).
Bibliography
Ames, Michael. M. "Cannibal tours and glass boxes." 16. Print.

Shelton, Anthony Alan. "Museum ethnography: an imperial science." Cultural encounters. 150. Print.

Giroux , Henry A. The Mouse that roared: Disney and the End of Innocence. Oxford, England: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc, 1999. 2-155. Print
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