Childhood favorites such as “The Little Mermaid”, “The Lion King” and “Aladdin” were among the group of Disney Movies discussed during the Women’s Center meeting on Feb. 5, 2007, specifically in the perspective of a child. Katie Jacob, president of the Women’s Center Club, and Ashley Manta, an active cast member of the upcoming Vagina Monologues, hosted a discussion on Disney movies through the eyes of children.
Disney, seen to most as a household name, seems to have a hidden agenda for the viewers.
“To a child who won’t pick up on the little innuendos it is good, but you should definitely talk to your kids afterward to point out the good and the bad,” commented Manta.
Hidden messages, such as a penis that is drawn into the castle on the cover of “The Little Mermaid” movie, can be seen throughout many Disney favorites. In “Aladdin” there is a scene where he stands on Jasmine’s balcony and whispers to the unsuspecting ear “take your clothes off.” Another popular innuendo is in “The Lion King” when Simba plops down on the grass and the word “sex” appears in the rising dust.
Despite all of the hidden messages, Disney also shows many good messages to children. In “The Lion King,” Simba’s best friend is a woman, Nala. As Jacob pointed out, every time they wrestled, Nala would win. It projects the image of a strong woman.
Another point Disney has created is the message in the ever-popular “Beauty and the Beast”, which tells children to look past what you see and fall in love with who a person is inside.
Disney also seems to be teaching viewers about abstinence. As Jacob and Manta pointed out during the discussion, Cinderella, along with Snow White, and Belle, are only subject to one kiss, usually in the end. Sex is never seen nor discussed in these Disney classics.
Another important note is that Cinderella was created before the feminist movement. All that was seen was an evil step-mom, a husband, a wife, kids and the basic nuclear family.
After the Declaration of Feminism was signed in 1971, stating “all of history must be rewritten in terms of the oppression of women,” movies such as “The Little Mermaid” and “Beauty and the Beast” portrayed different types of families, including the recurring single father unit.
“I want a white picket fence, but I want to buy it and paint it too!” Jacob explained as she pointed out how important it is for girls to grow up knowing they are strong, and how Disney movies play a large role in influencing them. Students, both graduate and undergraduate who attended the meeting, openly admitted to not having seen a Disney movie in a long time, but could still remember the minor details of importance.