Sunday, November 24, 2013

Online Assignment #3, Lauren Leffingwell

In the documentary, The Mickey Mouse Monopoly, the legendary “Disney” corporation is analyzed about its portrayal in the media and debated if it’s truly as positive as it’s known to be. There were many experts in the fields of media and how it affects the culture weighing in on negative impacts Disney has on our society. Seeing that Disney owns huge areas of the media industry, targets children, and in result normally thought to of “been peoples childhoods,” there seems to be a big problem. As we’ve learned media literally shapes our society and has such major societal impacts. With this is mind we need to be conscious about the resulting messages put out to consumers.            
One perspective on media that I easily picked up on in The Mickey Mouse Monopoly was the Magic Bullet Effect. It’s effects are direct, powerful, and initiate action. One thought can lead to the complete disruption of thoughts; like “facebook rotting your mind.” With this in mind after viewing the documentary it’s easy to pick up on this impact in many different ways. The biggest one that stood out to be was the representation of gender roles. The stereotypical body type, need for a man, sexuality, all these things are almost in every single Disney film. Before this I had never really noticed it, but it’s so true. They gave examples, one being The Little Mermaid. Ariel literally gave up her voice, for her body. Another was in Aladdin, Jasmine uses her body and sexuality to seduce the bad guy as a distraction. It’s so intriguing to see because when I was younger I never picked up on the inappropriateness of these actions. A teacher was discussing how as young as first grade, girls are on the playground dramatically trying to have a boy save her and reenacting somewhat scandalous princess behavior. Kid’s directly pick up on these roles very young without even us realizing the impact these thoughts and movies are having on them.
Another perspective on media I could see, was the Cultivation Theory. This theory is in summary, not a direct but a cumulative and built up perception of things. The perception that was distorted that was talked about a great deal was racial perception. Many stereotypes are made throughout Disney films, normally keeping Caucasian as a superior race. There were certain portrayals throughout multiple films of the same sort of racisms. I thought the choice of animals used to represent races was very interesting. It was talked that Latino people are often represented as a Chihuahua dog getting into trouble and taking risks they shouldn’t be. It was also talked about how African American’s are often portrayed as crows or monkeys that talk in a low drawn out voice and often dance to jazzy jive music. That’s easily visible in the Jungle Book and Dumbo!
These perspectives of Disney’s impact on media in our society, was very eye opening. I’ve always been a die hard Disney Princess fan and have never really thought much of the message that is being portrayed – yet its clear there is an influence in our society. However, I still feel that any sort of entertainment can be picked apart on every aspect and be seen as a problem. The whole Magic Bullet effect can really just explain the whole idea of Disney corrupting the world, one person says Disney causes such and such to happen and it’s a big phenomenon. Over all, it was a good documentary though and did really show the impact media has on our society that we need to be aware of. 


  1. I happened to find this documentary to be very eye opening as well as I was once a young girl influenced by these Disney movies and characters. Your example of the representation of gender roles within the movies, The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, were spot on for describing the magic bullet theory. I found it very unbelievable that Disney, focused on entertainment for children, had such specific representations on how women and men should look and act, especially when Jasmine uses her body (sexuality) to distract a male. As I too used the Cultivation Theory within my response to this documentary, I agree with your explanation of how race was the perception being distorted. Since most children happen to notice such racial and gender stereotypes, I wonder if these movies should have some kind of censorship to not allow them to influence the children's imaginations into a skewed version of what reality is. Overall, good job on picking out these specific examples to describe the two theories you discussed!

  2. I too thought that this documentary was shocking. Your analysis of Aladdin and The Little Mermaid were perfect for the Magic Bullet theory, I also thought an interesting example for the magic bullet theory was the Latino women who said that chihuahua dogs were always representing the Latino population. It amazed me that Disney used so many stereotypes when making their movies. One question I was thinking about is do you think that Disney made the movie The Princess and the Frog on purpose just so they can say that they have a African American princess? This question goes along with the Cultivation Theory you discussed. It is clear that that children notice the physical characteristics in front of them and it is a shame that it took Disney so long to start including other races. Well done on your examples, Lauren!