Naomi Wood says that "Disney's reputation for squeaky-clean family
entertainment has led many to overlook the very American prurience that
was so appealing and acceptable to his audiences" (Woods, p. 31). What I
want to take from this is a look at the lasciviousness of the Disney
films, so much as a look at this idea of the purity of Disney's reputation.
Wood points out that Disney films have a tendency to stereotype. She
mentions the relationship between body type and intelligence as well as
the use of accent in speech as two examples of how the Disney films have
been used to create and/or perpetuate certain societal norms in American
culture. This portrayal in Disney films is not so different from what
the Grimm brothers were trying to do with their stories.
This "squeaky-clean family entertainment" in addition to
not-so-inadvertently expressing the desires of adults and instilling
ideas of a social hierarchy based on regional dialect, also uses song
lyrics to implant cultural stereotyping ideas in the minds of the
viewers. Take Aladdin (1991) for example. In the opening song,
the character talks about his middle-eastern homeland as a place where
people "cut off your ear / if they don't like your face," continuing to
call it a "barbaric" place, thus giving the viewer the idea that anyone
of middle-eastern descent is uncivilized.
Further examination of the color archetypes used in Disney films most
likely would add to Wood's assertion, but I won't go into that here.
Wood, N. Domesticating dreams in Walt Disney's Cinderella.
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