After viewing the documentary Mickey Mouse Monopoly, the two most apparent perspectives of Disney’s influence can be categorized as the “Magic Bullet” perspective and the critical-cultural perspective. Both of these aspects of Disney’s widespread media effect are critically exploited throughout the film in order to grasp a stronger concept of Disney’s true marketing strategies.
The “Magic Bullet” perspective of media effects can be associated with the same effect that a flu shot might have. Information is transmitted through media and directly resonates with the viewers. It is direct, powerful and usually incites strong emotions. This effect is precisely synonymous with Disney’s overwhelming effect on children. As Henry Giroux mentioned in the film, “Disney has made a spectacle of innocence”. Over the past century, Disney has been able to produce countless sublime forms of entertainment which is absorbed by children from every generation. People love going to see Disney movies because the characters are personable and the movies create a unique family aspect that is easily encouraged by parents across the world. Disney injected its “family friendly” image and appeal into the heart of our modern culture. For example, Dr. Alvin Poussaint explained, “Disney is the ultimate form of acceptable fantasy that doesn’t need to be questioned”. However, as a result, the often incorrect portrayal of many ethnic and racial groups in our world, can falsely educate children of young ages. Consequently, Disney has created a mass media outlet (movies, merchandise, etc.) that is responsible for the intense magic bullet effect on cultures all over the world.
In addition to the intense media effect that Disney has established in our current and past media society, there is also a very critical cultural aspect of Disney’s media strategy. Disney has been called one of the most dominant global story tellers of all time, but yet their stories have incorrectly and inappropriately depicted different ethnic groups for centuries. In 1995, Disney merged with ABC in order to become one of the largest media conglomerates in the world. This dangerous merging of two of the largest media companies in the world completely shifted the effect of media on culture. As seen in the cultural perspective of media, mass media messages shape our culture. Disney, whose target market is children orientated, is able to create complex media messages which are unconsciously absorbed into the minds of the children who are exposed to their movies. One specific are of Disney’s media that has received criticism is their portrayal of women. In almost all of the movies Disney produces, the female character is always described in a highly sexual and seductive manner that establishes and extreme sexual association. The females often use their bodies and sexual attributes in order to manipulate the male characters. However, Dr. Gail Dines points out, “Children aren’t aware of the fact that this is an inaccurate exposure to the reality of how women act in real life”. The cultural perspective incorporates a resistance view of media but there is little possibility of the resistance of these Disney ideas by children who have no knowledge of real-life cultural values and morals.