Disney vs. Masculinity

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Joseph Delia
Spring 2011
Emile Zaslow

Disney vs. The Future of Men: How have our beloved animated movies affected the men of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Thesis: The constructs of masculinity found in most Disney movies create an environment of images that shape and define what young boys view as masculinity. By presenting sexist relationships, physical expectations, and violence and dominance to represent power, young boys are left feeling emotionally unattached and physically inadequate.

How many Disney movies did you see as a child? How many of those movies did you watch over and over again? And how many of the songs you so lovingly watched over and over again can you still sing today? The Walt Disney Company has been a powerful force in creating childhood culture all around the world. Disney’s massive success is based on images of innocence, magic and fun. Its animated films in particular are praised as wholesome family entertainment. These movies are endorsed by teachers and parents, and are obviously immensely popular with children. The fun and innocence may have its value, but it is important to understand how these movies are representing the moral characteristics that the children viewing them will eventually grow up to represent themselves. Most alarmingly is the representation of masculinity throughout many classic Disney movies such as Mulan, The Lion King, and Beauty and the Beast. These movies are presenting masculine complexes to young boys all over the world, giving them distorted images of what it means to be a man, and also how to relate to women. What is most dangerous about the way Disney movies represent masculinity is that the process is not a quick one. The means in which the media influences the way we think is less immediate, and has a much less straight forward impact on the way we think. Disney movies in particular create a certain environment of images that we grow up with and eventually become used to. An...
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