My very first memory of ever going to the movies was to see Sleeping Beauty at my local drive-in theater with my parents (for you millennial readers, back in those ancient days, people used to drive their cars to a large parking lot that had a large screen at one end to watch movies from the comforts of their automobiles).
When I was a little boy of five or six, I distinctly recall being extraordinarily jealous and envious of all the kids in my neighborhood....they all got to go to Disneyland in California or DisneyWorld in Florida with their families during summer vacations, while my family usually vacationed to the other Hawaiian islands to visit relatives, that is if we went to vacation anywhere at all. All the kids in my hood would delight in showing off all the theme park clothes and souvenirs, and tales of the thrill rides, no doubt enjoying the look of envy on my face.
As a young kid in the late 70's, the hunger for all things Disney was caused by much more than simple envy at my playmates Disney family vacations I never got to go on. Back in those days, before VCR's, DVD's, or any other sort of medium for which the consumer had control of where, when and how often one viewed their desired entertainment, our choices of mass media entertainment programming were limited to the three main networks regularly scheduled programming on the tell-a-vision, and the occasional family-night out to the movies. In those ancient times, Disney cartoons were not a regular feature of daily tell-a-vision programming, but it was certainly the most anticipated and desired of all our regularly scheduled programming by all the kids I grew up with.
We had Disney TeeVee specials for various Seasons, and once or twice a year, CBSABCNBC would broadcast an entire Disney cartoon movie during prime time. Anytime we kids saw a commercial advertising a future Disney broadcast special, we would all eagerly remind each other about the pending date, time and channel the next Disney broadcast was scheduled for in our conversations in the schoolyards and neighborhood playgrounds. We did not have daily Disney programming at that time, so the limited supply made the demand for Disney programming extremely high amongst my generation of youths. It was also pretty much the only brand name entertainment for which boys and girls desired equally.
For boys and girls alike, the MAGIC KINGDOM appeared to our young mind as the SOURCE of the ultimate fun and entertainment. Disney was magic to the young American mind, and it's influence on our conceptions of ourselves and our gender roles and interactions are far reaching and transcend generations.
As blogger Lorie Kramer notes in her post The Media IS the Matrix: "You can see by the photo above, I had the wide-eyed TV dazed stare back then, just like it still does to everyone now."
|Photo of A Regularly Scheduled Programming Session|
Indeed, our entire fringes of teh Interwebz here arises from people who eventually come to awareness of how our nation's regularly scheduled programming and institutionalized
Many feminists have attempted to use their own Cultural Marxist-based critical-theory to attack Disney's Regularly Scheduled Programming for girls. I'm sure most people in the 21st century who are plugged into the social media-data harvesting apps of teh Interwebz are familiar with the following memes via various feminist sympathizers who have posted them as some sort of devastating critique of the "Princess Complex" -
Note all these critiques of the Princesses are all based on the supposedly oppressive notions that being physically beautiful or pretty are required for women to attract the men they want, and that women must "give up" something precious or pretend to be helpless and incompetent in order to "get some hot princely action!"
Why this dastardly Disney plot to turn all of our girls into oppressed chattel of men in marriage and family has been going on for decades now!
|Over 60 Years of Princess Programming!|
Why, according to the feminist critique, if it weren't for Disney's subversive programming, young girls wouldn't be growing up with this idea that their physical appearance is important, or that they cannot achieve anything substantive without using their sexuality to manipulate a man into providing for her!
This devious brainwashing promotes the destructive and oppressive ideals of feminine beauty to our young girls, making them grow up and idealize their image of femininity towards such repulsive presentations such as this...
...when everyone knows we should be encouraging our girls to focus on empowerment and self-actualization to achieve a presentation like this:
|An Example of Successful Disney Princess De-programming...|
Let us look closer at some of these other devastating feminist critiques of the Disney Princesses:
Killed for her burgeoning sexuality? By who? Another woman! Damn the Patriarchy! I think it's safe to presume that our "No, YOU Make ME a Sandwich!!" poster girl is safe from that particular threat.
For Cinderella: "She is saved from terrible living conditions by a prince. He does this not because she is such a hard worker, but because she is beautiful!"
Got it, parents? Don't try and raise your daughters to be beautiful, raise them to be hard workers! After all, our corporate-government complex needs our girls to grow up to become taxable and expendable human resources, not wives and mothers!
For when one steps back and takes a look at our current dystopian society, I think it's rather safe to say that almost 80 years of Disney Princess Programming on the silver screen has hardly resulted in the majority of Western women growing up with the desire to be beautiful to attract a prince or knight in shining armor, and get married and live happily ever after with their 2.5 kids, white-picket-fence-surrounded McMansion and the annual summer vacations to the MAGIC KINGDOM.
In fact, if the Feminists who are critical of the gender-stereotype programming of Disney films would look at our present society clearly and honestly, they would recognize the trends in the decline of marriage and the influx of most women into college and careers instead of hearth and home and multiple-child families, has all occurred by generations of women raised watching Disney Princess Programming!
If Disney Princess Programming were designed to promote the evil Patriarchy, then the feminists should be triumphant in recognizing what an utter failure the Disney propaganda has been in promoting the Patriarchy to oppress the womynz of our day and age.
Despite failing to recognize this, not all feminist critiques of Disney Princess Programming are without merit. Consider the following from the Relevant Theories page of the Gender Roles Brought To You By Disney blog:
The looking glass theory is the way that we perceive ourselves in comparison to others views and then the views that we have at birth. The Looking glass theory works with the Disney Princess ideas because most little girls see a Disney Princess and want to act out their actions. The little girls see themselves as walking,talking,breathing princesses and therefore believe that society sees them that way. The more that the girls act out this princess idea then the more that believe that they are one and that other people are seeing them as princesses.
Now these feminists are getting somewhere with a substantive critique of the Disney Princess Programming!
I've had an idea for this post percolating for quite some time - a couple of years in fact - but reading this comment by Badpainter from Rollo's latest post today finally got the old blogging muse singing again, as it reminded me of the same thing the feminists identify as the looking glass theory of Disney Princess Programming:
A couple of years ago before discovering the ‘sphere I had a date where the question of long term goals came up. After listing mine she asked about marriage (her 34yr never married) and why it wan’t on my list. I replied “what’s the point of marriage?” she had no answer other than she wanted it, and therefore I should also.
Recognizing there wasn’t going to be a second date, nor would I getting laid, I decided instead to explore her mind rather than body.
“Tell me what benefits marriage has for me” I said. Awkward silence and then some insubstantial nonsense about commitment. No benefits to or for me were detailed. An appeal to duty, and honor was the best she could muster.
I asked what she thought she would gain. Material stability, and an escape from the cock-carousel was the gist of her response there was a sub-textual sense the gaining the legal commitment was a necessary personal validation that was more important than the quality of the relationship. It is as if though the highest form of validation is a man’s willingness to sacrifice everything for her, possibly including his life.
Hmmm....wonder where she might have gotten these ideas from?
Many dark thoughts followed this conversation. I realized she was holding auditions for the role of Hero-Personal-Savior. A champion who would rescue her from her past foolishness. Forgive her sins. Provide her material upkeep. Listen to her daily twaddle. Protect and shield her from reality. A hero who would never expect to receive anything in return as though the opportunity to rescue her was the very zenith of a man’s experience and performing that role was itself all the reward and motivation necessary.
Needless to say the doubts that had led to my cynicism were reinforced. I replayed variations of this conversation for other women I knew, mostly the wives of friends. All generally affirmed her position, and we’re aghast that I would so coldly ask how I might objectively benefit. How could I be so selfish? By what right did expect to want and receive anything beyond performing by services? Isn’t her love enough? I was told to grow up. My friends either parroted their wives responses, or in hushed voices warned me to tread lightly and choose wisely.
Think Badpainter's date and all the women that concurred with her attitude watched a few too many Disney movies when they were girls? The real problem with Disney's regularly scheduled programming, is that it feeds young girls rationalization hamsters with high dosages of solipsism, narcissism and entitlement. When these programmed princesses grow up and eventually realize that they are not going to receive what they perceive to be their entitled due, the real chance for happily-ever-after is in most cases, already long gone.
While there has been plenty of feminist critique of Disney Princess Programming of the Disney movies of the latter half of the 20th century, almost no one has bothered to study the effects of Disney Programming on boys...especially the shows they are now putting out on The Disney Channel today.
While the Princess Programming for girls is still a major feature in the shows aimed for young girls, the shows for young boys are just as subversive. While I do not let my own progeny watch Disney (or much of any tellavision at all for that matter), I am not a micromanaging anti-Media Nazi, and I do have peers with children for whom we do spend time with at their houses...and there are times where my friend's kids are parked in front of the tell-a-vision watching cartoons or Disney movies, and my kids are right their with them.
I've sat their on a few occasions and watched modern day Disney programming such as Chuggington's, Jake and the Neverland Pirates and The Octonauts with them, consciously attempting to discern the themes and subtexts and indoctrination the programs are trying to inculcate in the minds of our youth. I find the messages being subliminally transmitted to young boys is just as troubling and problematic as all the Princess Programming for the girls. To summarize the things I've noticed, the programming for young boys is all about being passive, non-assertive, and to be overly mindful of feeeeeelings. To back down and concede to angry female peers, and to submit to all authority (both male and female) unquestionably.
In other words, normal male behavior is portrayed as wrong, while emasculated, submissive, passive and accommodating to all female demands is the behavior that is modeled as desirable and "correct." And the reward for the young male characters who conform to such socially engineered dictates in these subversive cartoon programs? Why, they get the ultimate reward...the romantic attention of the desired female.
And some people wonder where all the nice guys come from?