Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Disney delusion

Watching Disney movies was a hallmark of most childhoods that took place after the advent of the VHS tape. As impressionable young tykes, we soaked up all of the delicious morality and life lessons Mr. Disney threw our way, and now, as adults, we subconsciously use them to guide our own lives.

Maybe that's why the world is such a crappy place.

Thinking back to the magic of Walt Disney, I notice some not so magical things about many of the characters he creates and the messages they convey in their animated worlds.

Let's have a look, shall we?

Firstly, Sleeping Beauty (and Snow White. Could they really not think of two different plots for these chicks? Both princesses, both put into deep sleep by witches, both awoken by the kiss of a prince - come on, Disney.). This beautiful princess taught us guys that it's OK to do sensual things to a girl while she's sleeping. Let me tell you something Sleeping Beauty, if I were to kiss a girl I thought was pretty while she was asleep, and she wasn't my girlfriend or wife, I would end up in jail. Times have changed since the 16th century, yeah? If that movie were made today, the plot would be different. It would be called "Blackout Beauty," and it would take place at a frat house. A tempting but potent cocktail (perhaps an Apple Martini?) administered by a fraternity brother with ill-intent puts Blackout Beauty into a deep stupor. Unlike the real movie, she is not pleased with the man who awakens her, nor with how he does it.

Also, Snow White makes children weary of apples. Parents have enough trouble trying to get their kids to eat fruit, we don't need your help Walt.

Moving on to good ol' Cinderella. This story is not only full of misleading messages, but it's rife with inaccuracies. Let's start with the really irritating one; I'm sorry, but glass slippers?? I don't care if they were made by a fairy godmother, those things would break immediately. That actually would have made a far more entertaining plot - Cinderella breaks a slipper on her first step out the door, then out of anger she uses the ragged edges to cut her jeering step-sisters. Hey, if we're gonna teach kids bad lessons we might as well teach them to take matters into their own hands instead of mope around all day sulking about their unfortunate circumstances. I mean really, who doesn't have to deal with obnoxious family members? So your step-sisters are giving you a hard time. So you have an annoying cat. So you have to do janitorial work. Welcome to the real world Cindy, learn to cope.

And what sort of forensic techniques are being put to use in this movie? After the ball, Prince Charming wants to find out who the forgotten glass slipper belongs to so he...goes door to door accosting womens' feet?! Is that really logical step #1? And why does he even have to bother putting the slipper on everyone?? Shouldn't he remember the face of the woman with whom he just danced the night away and fell in love with?! Objectifying women!! And why is the slipper even still in existence?? The rest of Cindy's outfit disappeared at midnight vis-à-vis the fairy godmother's spell, which is why Cindy had to run home in the first place! It makes NO sense that one slipper survives!! Too convenient Mr. Disney. Too convenient and too easy.

Whew, I got a little worked up there. I get upset when fairy tales aren't realistic.

Then there's Beauty and the Beast. I'll give Mr. Disney some credit; the "don't judge a book by its cover" lesson is a good one for children to learn. Unfortunately, it backfired big time. The movie ended up teaching us that if you're ugly you can still get the long as you live in a luxurious mansion nestled deep in a peaceful forest, complete with rose petal-covered beds and talking chinaware that sets itself. And you can see how this has been translated today - how many old, wrinkly, ugly, but rich men do you see running around with gorgeous women? A lot. Thanks for that Belle, you gold digger.

And what is with the ending to this movie? The beast turns back into a handsome man? Really?? So girls, basically, if you pretend to love an ugly guy for what he is on the inside, just for awhile, you'll end up with a hot one in the end anyway. Again, thanks Belle.

So many other Disney movies, so many delusions, so little time. I'll save some more for another rant.

I'll leave you with a nice little surprise the animators of Little Mermaid left for us. Pay attention to the priest's crotchal region.  Do not tell me these people were in it for the kids. If you're interested, here are some more such "subliminal messages" found in Disney movies.


  1. I was always shocked by the subliminal messages on the Disney movies. Is nothing sacred? This cracked me up because I swear it's the fairy tales that gave me my screwed up perception of romance and now this confirms I am not alone in thinking that.

    1. Nope, nothing is sacred. Just reminds you that the people repsonsible for Disney movies are still people, and all people have a somewhat twisted sense of humor, somewhere deep down. Maybe it's a good thing...

  2. You should go read the real Grimm's fairy tales. They'll balance out the Disney versions. **spoiler alert** the step sisters cut off toes to get the slipper (which isn't glass it's gold) to fit. Which is what makes the Grimm fairy tales awesome. I think.

    That being said, I agree that Disney movies don't always send the best of messages when looked at closely. But really, there are a lot of movies that twist our views on life, romance in particular. I would like to point out, that Beauty and the Beast also introduces kids to Stockholm Syndrome and makes it out that falling in love with your kidnapper is fine cause guess what? He's got a castle. And singing candlesticks. Excellent.

    Also, to present a different side to Disney: Mulan and the Lion King (yes, I know they also have downsides, but look at the big picture). Mulan is about a girl who goes to war and ends up kicking ass. See kids? Girls can be just as good at the same things as guys. The Lion King is about a kid who, yeah, runs away from his responsibility, but then when he faces it he becomes king. What better reason to take on responsibility and grow up?