Disney plays a huge role in our society. Whether you are looking at their success from a business standpoint, or their influence over the community. Watching “Mickey Mouse’s Monopoly” proved to be quite eye opening when analyzing these different aspects. Disney molds our society in a lot of ways we never really realized, but understanding the different media perspectives sheds a great deal of light on what Disney has been/is capable of.
The role of women in Disney movies was analyzed in the film by Dr. Diane Levin. The fact that they are always needing rescue, will use seduction to get what they want, love to clean, along with their bodies being a little too perfect, were all key stereotypes discussed. Children grow up watching these movies, and it is known that children are easily influenced by what they see on TV. This is a perfect example of the magic bullet effect—when groups adopt views towards groups in society based on what they see in films. Girls grow up seeing the images portrayed by women in Disney films, and they are lead to believe that they must fit the same image. And it is not just girls. Boys who watch Snow White might end up growing up with the idea that all women love to clean. It is definitely an unhealthy idea. But the main issue discussed was that Disney is such a huge part of an adolescent’s life, so they single handedly ultimately choose the images they portray to their audiences. Disney has a monopoly over many businesses, but they also control youth influence.
The perspective of the magic bullet is also similar to cultural studies, which also plays a huge role in Disney films. Cultural studies entails the way in which meaning is given to things depicted within the media—these are messages that have the power to reinforce or assign new meaning to people and cultures. One of the main examples discussed in the film by Marisa Peralta was the utilization of the Chihuahua and its relationship to the Latino culture. The dog is in many different films, and generally depicts a character that is not nearly as formal, and in some cases much more rowdy than the other characters. The dog has gone from stealing vehicles, being harassed by a more sophisticated female dog, as well as having a very stereotypical accent. All of these characteristics assigned to the Chihuahua by Disney are extremely derogatory. Through cultural studies, viewers of Disney films are lead to believe that this is the way many Latinos act. Because this is generally the sole representation of diversity within Disney movies, it is the only depiction viewers receive and creates a very skewed and jaded reality.
These perspectives are very important to understand, especially when analyzing Disney and its influence. It is very true that Disney has a monopoly, but more and more it is being realized that that might not just be restricted to production, but molding youth culture as well. If Disney is going to be the main media children view growing up, then it must be faced with more regulations on how the characters in its show and movies are portrayed.