When I was younger I used to ADORE all of the exciting and thrilling Disney films. They were full of adventurous and entertaining stories about princesses, mermaids and other fantasies. The films were jam-packed with great sing-along songs which were mostly upbeat and catchy and to this day my sister still listens to them on her iPod. However is Disney everything you believed it to be?
My very favourite Disney film was and still is Peter Pan. In case you didn't know, it is a story about a boy, named Peter, and he never wanted to grow up. He lived in a fantasy land with the lost boys who were his friends and an evil pirate called Captain Hook. Mermaids, crocodiles and Captain Hooks crew are also important characters in the story. Nevertheless, the story involves three children, Wendy and her two brothers who meet Peter and are taken to the Lost land where they get up to mischief and at the end fight Captain Hook in order to return home and the ending is of course a happy one. The main moral of the story was that "time chases us up” and we all grow up eventually.
"To live would be an awfully big adventure."
Back to the point; there is more behind the surface of this film. Now, I mentioned the mermaids earlier. These creatures are portrayed as beautiful women who comb their hair on a rock and portray the stereotypical view of a mermaid that we still know of today. However, if you were to watch the clip below, is that the same idea you receive, or do you gather a different image Disney portrayed of the mermaids?
No? Watch it again.
From the video clip, what I see are the mermaids being portrayed in a way that Peter is superior and women are no way near as important. “Oh, Peter, Peter, look at me peter!”. This exclaims that Disney, not meaning to, portrays women in a wrong and unjust way.
And its not just in Peter Pan! Mulan is a story of a woman who has to dress up as a man to receive her rights! She takes her fathers place to fight in the war, but if found out that she was a women, she would be killed. This is because women were not allowed to be soldiers. Furthermore, it is obvious men have power and at the beginning of the film, you watch the females dressing up to make themselves presentable for the males. Therefore, although they are good films, Disney has portrayed females with no rights and presents signs of sexism.
In addition to this, recently in the news, Meryl Streep made a speech about Disney. According to newspaper articles “Women do not do any of the creative work in connection with preparing the cartoons for the screen, as that task is performed entirely by young men.” Therefore, could this be the reason for sexist portrayals in the films?! Who knows.
Seeing as it is international woman's day this seemed an appropriate blog post. What does today mean to you? Personally today should encourage equality and remind us all that women still do not get treated fairly and do not have the same chances as men. I hope you found the post interesting and you feel inspired to share your opinions.