Sunday, November 24, 2013

Online Assignment #3_Alec Cordero

One perspective on media effects that appears very frequently throughout Mickey Mouse Monopoly is the two step flow perspective. Several individuals in the film comment on Disney's potent ability to influence small children's beliefs and outlooks on the rest of the world through an overarching and potent method. Dr. Diane Levin from Wheelock College and Marisa Peralta, a teacher from Hernandez School, make a frightening comparison between the events that children see in films and the way they play with their movie-based toys. They observe how Disney market their toys in such a way that they are essentially dictating to children's play behaviors, specifically in telling them to replicate the events exactly as how they unfold on screen. Marisa Peralta stresses that play is essential in a child's early development in how they observe and understand the world and that if they are told how to or how not to play, then their development skills become inhibited and they are no longer capable of having their cognitive abilities become more mature. Several scenes from the movie Hercules, for instance, send a message to viewers telling them that it is more than okay to buy the latest products (e.g. shoes, toys, backpacks, etc.) for a fad such as a newly released movie. Therefore, consumerism is consistently being taught to children as the inescapable norm of society. The image of products and the films act as medium for influencing consumers to purchase more goods. A second perspective is cultivation., specifically in the context of gender representations featured in Disney films. Dr. Gail Dines, a women's studies instructor at Wheelock College identifies how Disney's representation of the female as a highly sexual, flirtatious, coy, and elegant creature has not changed significantly throughout the span of Disney's existence. Dr. Diane Levin also makes a point of how young children who are trying to discover how to be a man or how to be a woman learn a significant amount about gender roles and representations through Disney's media. Children view characters like Hercules or Snow White as role models and therefore try to imitate their mannerisms. Disney are therefore cultivating children's interpretations of what masculinity and femininity are. These effects are not necessarily instantaneous, but when children are continuously exposed to these ideals for extended periods of time, then they become ingrained into their psyche. Similarly, notions about race are brought into question through the cultivation perspective. Jacqueline Maloney from the DuBois Institute at Harvard University tells a story about her friend's son finding similarities between a group of young black children and the hyenas from The Lion King. This is particularly terrifying considering the implications of Disney's influence of racial perceptions on young children. Margaret Moody, mother, makes a comment at the end of the film about how entertainers like Disney should also be educators on what the world is actually like instead of fabricating an idealistic and utopia-like image of what they want it to seem like.

1 comment:

  1. Your initial point about how prevalent the two step flow is in Disney movies, using the Hercules example, is an interesting viewpoint I hadn't considered. You are definitely right that consumerism is embedded in our youth, and reinforced with these toys that every kid needs to have. One thing to maybe keep in mind is that with the toys, they are always exposed to these ideas even when they aren't watching the movies, which can be a very dangerous thing. Great post!