Once upon a time, almost every little girl dreamed of meeting her own Prince Charming. Today, little girls are still captivated by the princess culture, choosing to play pretend in a world of castles, tiaras, and fairy godmothers.
Anyone paying attention can see what an effect Disney has on it’s young audiences. Most children are introduced to Disney at a young age, during a vital developmental period of their lives. These children are inexperienced and innocent, and what is taught during this point in their lives stick.
This includes what movies they watch.
Children don’t have they same abilities we adults do to analyze movies. Some may think this keeps them from learning dangerous messages portrayed in film, but if anything it makes them more vulnerable to lessons in film and movies.
For instance, Disney movies are often criticized for how they portray romance by adults with real-life experience with relationships. Children, on the other hand, don’t have any other knowledge of what an actual relationship involves. Likely, at this period of their lives, Disney movies and their parents relationship are all they know, and they don’t know how their parents met. Therefore, these children usually only see Disney’s “love at first sight” type romance, and aren’t experienced enough to know this isn’t correct.
This, of course, leads to teenagers who are still caught up in “love at first sight”, and when a bunch of naive teenagers who believe in love at first sight hit high school at the same time… well, nothing good comes from that.
Also, when female pre-teens and teenagers have only watched or read female protagonists who are only happy when they’ve found a relationship, that causes these pre-teens and teenagers to start believing they can only be happy once they’ve found a relationship, and this also has obvious fall-outs.
In short, since Disney and similar movies are often shown to young children, what messages they teach are extremely important because it’s likely they will influence their audience for quite a long time.
Don’t believe me? Go see how obsessed middle schoolers and high schoolers are with getting a boyfriend, and how easily they believe they’ve fallen in love.
Image from Disney Wiki
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