I would like to preface this by saying – when I was little, I was “that girl.” You know the one, the girl who was obsessed with Disney movies. The girl who could quote the lines while watching it and sang along to all of the songs. The girl who was a different Disney Princess every Halloween. The girl who’s room was decorated in Pooh Bear. The girl who called it the “best day of high school” when the substitute pulled out The Lion King and said enjoy. Yeah, that one. I was that girl and I’m still proud of it.
After watching the movie Mickey Mouse Monopoly: Disney, Childhood and Corporate Power, I was upset because I realized just how right it was. It had ruined every Disney movie for me. I felt like I had been stabbed right in the childhood – my whole day was ruined. But, after thinking about it for awhile, I realized that the movie was only partially right. Their biggest mistake was the overgeneralization.
The movie was correct on a lot of points. Yes, the movies should not be as geared towards White Power as they are. Yes, they should portray Latinos and Asians as real human beings rather than Chihuahuas and Siamese cats. Yes, they should portray African Americans as the good people rather than the villain. And yes, they should allow a heroine every now and then – rather than always a damsel in distress.
The part they were wrong, however, is that they said that it is teaching ALL children about how they should live their life, what prejudices should be, and what their respective place in society should be. I disagree; I didn’t learn any of that from the Disney movies. I’ve seen all of them, several times and until I watched this video – I hadn’t heard of a majority of the bad examples that were in the film. The ones I had heard of, I didn’t learn from Disney, I learned from other articles similar to the movie.
While I was growing up and watching the movies, my parents and I would talk about the things that I watched on television and the music that I listened to. I grew up knowing that I am my own person and my friends are their own as well. I grew up knowing that I should treat everybody the way I wish to be treated.
Another thing I disagreed with in the movie was that it is my belief that some of the things said in the movie were exaggerated to make their case more solid. Admittedly, I do not know where the situation was that the woman described – in her scenario, it might have been true – but I, myself, have never heard a black person sound like the hyenas in The Lion King. In fact, I’ve never heard ANYBODY, regardless of race, sound like the hyenas in The Lion King except for the people who were acting them out. In my opinion, it is a reflection on her poor parenting that her child was then scared of those black kids because she didn’t talk with her son about his views of the movie.
I understand the point of the movie and I agree that major corporations have too much control in pushing ideas, but I think with this case – it comes down to whether or not you know how to parent your children. If you teach them right and wrong, Disney can just be an enjoyable sing-a-long. If you do not and just let them roam free, then sure – it can turn into the nightmare that was described. So I guess the real moral of this story is: be a proper parent. That way, you can say, “Hakuna Matata” and truly mean it.