Online Assignment 3
The magic bullet theory simply states that the media has a direct and powerful effect on the consumer while also being able to incite emotions and actions. This is shown in Mickey Mouse Monopoly multiple ways, one being the way women are portrayed in movies. In Disney movies, no matter how strong or brave the female character may be, they always seem to get into trouble and are incapable of saving themselves. The way Disney usually resolves this issue is to have these female characters saved by strong, masculine, male characters. This has a direct and powerful message to consumers (children) and incites emotions and actions. Alison Wilson, who works at a Neighborhood House Charter School, gives an example of young girls playing as Disney princesses, acting as if they are in trouble and stand around “helplessly” waiting for the other boys to save them. Another example of the magic bullet theory being prevalent in Mickey Mouse Monopoly and Disney movies is the way females deal with males. In Beauty and the Beast, abusive actions are shown by the Beast against the main female character, Belle, and her family by the beast locking Belle away and forcibly removing her from her family. Throughout the film, Disney shows that if Belle overlooks the abuse and continues to be nice and sweet to the Beast, that she can bring out the “prince” in the Beast. When interviewing young girls after watching the movie, the consensus answer of what advice they would give if Belle was their friend was that she should continue to be nice and sweet to the Beast so he wouldn’t get mad at her. This is obviously a dangerous message to be showing our kids.
The cultivation perspective states that when children are exposed to TV on a regular basis, the results are not direct but are built up overtime instead, while also giving distorted perceptions of race. An example of this is shown with the portrayal of African Americans in the movie Tarzan. The movie shows a white male coming to the african jungle and being more accustomed to the jungle than the native animals, without even having Africans present. When looked at through a different perspective, the Africans seem to be portrayed as the gorillas who listen and obey the caucasian male. What kind of message does this send to kids? When asked whether they can recall any black characters in Disney, the children couldn’t, because there are none. Another example of this distorted perceptions of race is shown with latinos being perceived as the trouble making chihuahua in Oliver and Company. The only role the chihuahua serves in the movie is to stir up trouble such as trying to steal a car. Marisa Peralta describes this perception of latinos in Disney movies as “tragic” and has concerns on the effects it could have on children. Although it may not be exactly racist, it is stereotypical and gives children distorted perceptions of race.