Mickey Mouse: Harmless cartoon or the new public enemy?

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There are so many aspects of American culture that are so obviously shaped by media exposure.  From why we buy one vacuum cleaner over another, or buy one at all to why a little girl in a toy store wants a Barbie doll is the work of advertisements.

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These outcomes are to be expected, but why one child excludes another from class dress up because she is not like what the children see on television, in movies or even storybooks there is a serious problem.  Imagination is actually hindered by such values and images these media corporations throw out to children and parents alike.   For one thing, children are not forced to expand their understanding of the world based on their own intrigue and observations of real life, and, rather what is portrayed through fiction and understood to be “real”.

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Disney is one of the main contributors to this problem, and parents are just as guilty for not educating their kids of the actual harm that strictly Disney exposure can inflict.  Honestly, Disney means well and does teach amazing morals to children about accepting people for who they are, overcoming fears and insecurities, never giving up, respect for elders and many more that I know I personally remember learning from Lion King alone.

Watching Disney was like a family event and very rarely was I left alone watching nothing but these things for hours on end, but, instead, my parents were there watching my sparked curiosity and the way I reacted right after a film or television show or book was finished.  It became an activity to portray just what I had seen previously and some of my fondest childhood memories from age 4 to even 11 were associated with some sort of rendition of a Disney movie.  My entire room was decorated in Lion King accessories at one point, I had a princess life size playmate to act out Beauty and the Beast, and I had the soundtracks to all the classics.

 

While I understood this was make believe, my peers did not always pick up on that.  How many times have you seen a child quote or act verbatim as what is seen in the movies?  Well, certain children really did outcast others because they were not girly enough or did not have the right color hair or skin to act as that princess.  This actually limits the child’s imagination and enforces only what Disney wants the audience to get out of their films and products.

Wall-E was a prime example of how today Disney is more of a corporation and political messenger than a “family”.  There were underlying themes of lazy America and that trash production will be the death of our nation and world.  Regardless of if this is true, the message was distracting as an older viewer, and left little development in the plot otherwise, so by the end of the movie the younger viewers really only understood a small portion of the two hour movie.  Still, Disney’s message was received and they were able to incorporate the profitable, yet shallow “formula” of all their movies; cute big-eyed characters that will look good on merchandise and make the audience say, “aw”

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I would love to go back to simple classics where if the formula were used or a message was conveyed it was at least in behalf of fantasy and fairy tales, which parents could easily monitor and learn to use for the better of their child.  Instead Disney holds a reputation of an overbearing presence of a corporation ruling the story lines and youth of America.

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