Does Disney Really Hurt Self-Image?
Does Disney truly affect a child’s self-image and their perception of the world? Do all the fairytales trump a child’s view on what reality is like? Children grow up nowadays with Disney advertising, television shows, and movies everywhere; this surely impacts their life in a significant way. All little girls and boys see are movies about princesses in distress, then a knight in shining armor comes to their rescue. Nearly all Disney movies use this as a basic storyline for their story whether it is in Hercules, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, or Aladdin; the main plot of the movie is nearly the same. These recurring themes, which appear in most Disney movies, definitely have an impact on children’s self-image, and cause them to make assumptions of the real world based on this. Much of the media and some parents blame Disney for some of their children’s low self-esteem, however not all the blame can be pinned on advertising companies and the movies that Disney produces; mothers and fathers out there need to take some sort of responsibility for the upbringing of their children’s sense of self-image and self-esteem. Although Disney depicts images that somehow lead children to base their self-image from, parents could make a difference to change how children see themselves. There is plenty of psychological evidence to show how Disney movies do effect a child and how it does not; not only that, but not all parents believe that Disney is a prime factor in their child’s development.
Disney movies have been around for several decades and prove to be a great hit with children and young adults, however what mixed messages do these “harmlessly” fun films present to viewers? Throughout most of Disney films, the Walt Disney Film Corporation has always depicted their female protagonists with physically flawless traits whether they were the maltreated stepdaughter (Cinderella), or a Native American who lived in the forest (Pocahontas); all of these heroines also have an exaggeratedly thin waistline to add on to their flawless physique. The physiques of the heroines within these film become a desire that most women want; not only is it something that women want, but these movies introduce this idea at such a young age to children which is possibly “a prime factor in teenage eating disorders and depression” (Portrayal of the Female). Many people would like to believe that none of these things could possibly apply because they say, “it’s only for children, it’s only fantasy, it’s only a cartoon, and it’s just good business” (Portrayal of the Female). Although all this may be true, there is definitely more to be said about the effects that Disney films have on young children.
In Heather Longs article, “Do Disney Princesses Hurt Self-Image in Little Girls?” she says all children enjoy a rich fantasy life when they are young, and according to UCLA child psychologist Dr. Mark DeAntionio, it is perfectly healthy for a child to imagine topics such as Disney movies portray. From what has been seen in psychology, children who do not have an active imagination and live these little fantasies are more prone to antisocial behavior as well as many other problems. Lee Artz, a communications professor at Purdue University, states, “Of course, viewers young and old recognize animation as fictive, not real: it’s just a cartoon!” (Artz). The abovementioned statement by Artz is indubitably true because many viewers, including myself believe that it is just a cartoon although a percentage of parents may be beg to differ on the effects of films on children. In Heather Long’s article, it states, “there are many mothers that are concerned that the plethora of princess available on the market may actually damage their child’s self-esteem.” Sure there are a ton of marketing techniques out there that are targeted at children and their vulnerability to Disney princesses, but it is ultimately the decision of parents to...
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