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On Disney Animation - Essay Example

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Summary
One of the first educators of children just happens to be animated films. These films are the first to influence the view of a child in relation to his/her sexual identity and role in society. Such types of films and television shows carry a considerable influence on the very young psyche of a child…
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On Disney Animation

Download file to see previous pages... Of all these animated films, the Disney fairy tale cartoons have, since the first time they showed their first full length animated film, delivered the earliest gender role messages to the youth of the world. Thus, Disney fairy-tale cartoons deliver the same gender role message as the media in general. For instance, the Disney version of The Little Mermaid fairy-tale carries a clear gender-role message that a young woman needs not be too timid in life. Rather, a young woman filled with conviction and self confidence can achieve many great things. However, follies of the young women can come with great consequences that help build character strength and self-confidence in the long run. This is a message that the company clearly supported through their publicity and marketing campaign for the movie. From Disney’s first full length animated features Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, to their succeeding films, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, and Mulan, all of these films share something in common with The Little Mermaid. It is a close marketing strategy that ties in closely with the production values promoted by the movie. This campaign has made Disney seem, in the public eye a company that sees gender causes as a commercial issue more than anything else. This, perhaps, has something to do with the unparalleled success of Disney in both the animated film and merchandising sales arena. It was in 2001 when Disney created the Princess line that aggressively targeted and marketed products to little girls and young women. The line was composed of the aforementioned eight traditional Disney Princess films each turning in a huge profit and marketing franchise for each as well. All eight movies are proven to have strong influence on children in terms of developing concepts of social behavior and norms (Graves 724-5). However, it is The Little Mermaid in particular that struck a chord with the little girls looking for a strong feminine image model that they could identify with in our contemporary society. The original Little Mermaid story by Hans Christen Andersen had its main character Ariel suffer a tragic fate as chose to love a man she could never have. In the original, Ariel died carrying an unrequited love to her watery grave with her. As with other fairy tales of its era, the original meant to serve as a warning to young women. It was meant to help control rather than empower them. Disney never believed that fairy tales should have tragic endings which is why their retelling of the fairy tale is a far cry from its original. In the Disney version, we see a playful and often times strong willed blossoming young lady in Ariel, the little mermaid. She falls in love with a prince whom she saved from drowning. The mere fact that Ariel interacted with human beings and even worse, fell in love with one, was in direct defiance of the edict of King Triton, her father. Meeting the young man feeds Ariel’s imagination about wanting to become human and how nice it must be to have feet instead of a tail. She now faces a struggle that most young women face when growing up. Asserting her independence as a person or remaining submissive to her father’s will. In the end, Ariel of the Disney film chooses to pursue her individuality by surrendering who she is in exchange for a chance to try something new in her life. Ariel is able to change her fate: she finds a witch and persuades her to help. Because of her ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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