When you stop and think about it, it’s a little shocking to realize just how much impact Disney has over the world’s youngest generations, aiming animated films squarely at kids when they’re at their most impressionable. But there’s no reason to worry, right? Disney movies tell stories in which the heroes beat the villains, good triumphs over evil, people accept their differences, and live happily ever after… but those aren’t always the lessons being taught. And when you take a closer look, you have to wonder if we’re sending our kids the best possible messages.
That’s exactly what we’re doing in our latest docu video: Why Kids Should NEVER Watch Disney Movies.
Don’t Listen to Your Parents
When you’re a kid, your parents are responsible for most of the worst parts of life: eating vegetables, getting grounded, and basically telling you what NOT to do. So is it any coincidence that most Disney movies begin the same way, with boring, angry or just worrying parents insisting the heroes NOT go on an adventure, and just stay home, away from excitement? Kids soon learn that if they want real adventure, new friends, or the life they truly deserve, it all starts by completely ignoring your parents advice or rules.
It’s actually staggering when you realize how many Disney movies rely on this same twist – assuming the hero has any parents left alive. Sure, going places your parents say are dangerous, getting friendly with people they see as villains, or actively putting yourself in danger all works out in a Disney movie, but not in the real world. In the real world, getting kidnapped like Nemo, cursed like the Little Mermaid, or heading to the one place your king father told you not to like Simba is a lesson you shouldn’t have to learn.
All Love is True Love If You’re Beautiful
It’s what makes sure good wins over evil, breaking curses, and turning even the hardest of hearts pure again: true love. Or, in Disney movies, basically anytime two beautiful people meet – especially if one needs to be rescued by the end of the story. You could argue that Disney is bound to draw people who are nice to look at, since nobody would ever want to see even the most heroic and good-hearted characters find love if they’re truly, truly ugly (sorry, Quasi – from Hunchback). But honestly, Disney’s classics don’t even bother letting their princes and princesses get to know eachother before assuming that when two gorgeous people meet, that instant attraction, and longing to spend more time together in private… that’s as true as love gets. Honestly, you don’t even need to be awake for it! (Sleeping Beauty kiss)
It’s Good to Be Different… Eventually
It’s impossible to count how many Disney movies begin the same way: with a hero or heroine who is a little bit different, getting them teased until they reach their true potential, and show that being different is what makes them special. A great message until you realize that Disney is basically claiming that our differences should be, could be, or simply ARE ridiculed, no matter the difference. Sure, everyone gets along in the end, but only after the person with the deformity (Finding Nemo, Dumbo), less-than-desirable role as the bad guy (Wreck-it Ralph, Sully from Monsters, Inc.), or just a free spirit (Brave) proves that they are actually exceptional, and their problem is really a gift. But what if it ISN’T?
For starters, we would argue that Disney movies showing young characters who aren’t being tormented or ostracized by parents or friends for their differences would probably be a better message for kids to receive. Frozen is the biggest movie from Disney in years, and it told kids that even if they are literally magical witches or wizards, they should probably hide that, because everyone will be terrified of you showing what makes you special. And yes, the movie ends with Elsa’s powers accepted, and the sisters reconnecting – but only after they were almost murdered., and everyone agreeing to be cool with ice powers if they got winter in July.