I know that I have given Disney and its depictions of Disney Princesses a hard time in my past blog posts. I have made many points critiquing their strategies, critiquing them as role models, and critiquing the movies in general. This is why I think it’s important that we also consider the beneficial qualities of Disney films.
First, Walt Disney was an absolute genius in terms of film creation. He was a pioneer in animated film. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first full-length animated feature film in Technicolor and was critically praised over and over again. Steven Watts notes that “Disney studio secured a stunning 15,000 booking contracts in its first few months of [Snow White’s] release” (160). The film also won an Academy Honorary Award for being “a significant screen innovation which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field”. Fun fact: Disney won one full-size Oscar and seven miniature ones.
Disney was not only a visionary in terms of children’s entertainment, however. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs came out during The Great Depression, and when it came out, it represented a relief for individuals who were suffering. Watts mentions that “the film transports the care-worn adult back to the happy days of his childhood” (161). This demonstrates that Disney can potentially alleviate tensions and problems for individuals. Disney represents a brief escape from the burdens of society in the 20th and 21st centuries.
There are reasons that children are so fascinated with Disney films. This primary reason is that they are just so entertaining. The original musical scores and plotlines are captivating and beautiful. Many of the Disney films additionally uphold primary moral values of 20th century America. Not all Disney films present negative and destructive messages to children. Many of them present the importance of familial stability, the pure institution of marriage, domesticity and interaction in the family, and even in some cases include allusions to the Bible. (As an example, we can consider Snow White being tempted with an apple by her step-mother; this clearly refers to the Fall of Eden in the book of Genesis.)
Evidently, Disney is still widely admired and well-beloved today. I know that despite everything I have mentioned in this blog, I will most definitely show my children Disney films (if they ever come out of the Disney Vault!). I will, however, make sure that any girl I may have will be exposed to a variety of depictions of women, so she can make her own decisions on how to live her life, and I’ll just have to hope for the best. And really, that’s all we can do, right?
This is going to be my last blog post. Thanks to everyone that visited my blog and read what I have to say!