26 November 2013
26 November 2013
The Global Impact of Media Conglomerations on Children
The influence of the Disney Corporation now perpetuates through a global society. As one of seven major media conglomerations, they have a specialized impact on their target market, who as we know, happen to be children. In reviewing the documentary, “The Mickey Mouse Monopoly” the media perspectives most salient are the critical-cultural studies and cultivation research. These perspectives aim to show the causal, but indirect relationship of the media, specifically Disney, on the minds of our youth globally.
The main goals of the critical-cultural studies perspective is to relay that an aspect of power is present in all media and that media reinforce and legitimize messages created in a society. Media are very effective in perpetuating often negative values and belief systems according to our culture. Dr. Gail Dines states that “encoded in media images are ideologies about how we think about the world.” She specifically talks about this in the context of gender representations and the traditional role of females in Disney movies. She gives examples of female characters always needing the support of a male. This reinforces the idea that women are supposed to be weak and vulnerable. Dr. Diane Levin agrees with these ideas when she states that media “shape kids’ ideas about how they are supposed to look.” She gives examples of male characters in Disney such as princes or knights as strong, rich and handsome. For female characters, the norm is that their bodies are highly sexualized and unrealistic. Also, it continues the idea that women should use their bodies to get what they want. These cultural beliefs originated long ago in history, but with Disney’s help they continue to perpetuate in society today.
The second type of perspective salient in this documentary was cultivation research. This theory relays that our cultural environment builds over time through the media. Continued exposure to the media shapes how we perceive things and our subsequent actions. As a brand that has been around almost a century, most people living today have grown up with the movies and characters of Disney. Dr. Alvin Poussaint realizes this global impact Disney has had as the “dominant storyteller.” He states that these “stories help from a child’s imagination all over the world” because of their constant presence in the market over the years. Dr. Justin Lewis agrees that the media, especially the Disney Corporation, has had a slow, cumulated effect on culture. Racial and gender stereotypes are especially cultivated and perpetuated in this way through misrepresentations and implicit archetypes in the Disney films. These translate to our culture through perceptions on genres such as crime.
Through the examination of critical-cultural studies and cultivation research, many experts agree that though Disney’s impact has not been immediate, their continuous and prominent presence in the lives of children has had a profound impact on our culture. With each generation exposed to the media of the Disney Corporation, the more these often negatives ideologies continue in our society without much contestation. It’s important to have a critical eye on the media children and also adults consume. After all, it is our responsibility to see that the younger generations have sound values and beliefs as they are educated about the world.