While reading Linda Christensen’s Unlearning the Myths That Blind Us, I started to think of all the cartoons and Disney movies that I watched as a kid. These television programs constantly depicted scenes of the prince and the princess falling in love. They showed the pretty girl always getting Prince Charming. When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to grow up to fall in love and have a big, fancy wedding like they do in the movies. I love Disney movies, but now I feel that when I watch them, I will be like the students in the article and will constantly pick apart these movies.
In Christensen’s article, she talks about the different stereotypes that are present in the different movies and cartoons that children watch on a day to day basis. One stereotype that stood out to me was “the absence of female characters in many of the older cartoons. When women do appear, they look like Jessica Rabbit or Playboy centerfolds- even in many of the new and “improved” children’s moves.” (130) I feel as though the media puts so much pressure on people, especially girls, to feel the need to look a certain way. Young people are constantly comparing themselves to models or photo shopped images of men and women that do not exist. These fake images can lead to many problems in our society today, such as eating disorders. One of my best friends has an eating disorder and I think that the constant pressure that society adds to look and act a certain way definitely helped fuel it.
Throughout this article, I found myself thinking back to the SCWAAMP activity that we did in class. The cartoons that we watched as children constantly depicted white men. If there were women in the cartoons, they didn’t play a major role in the plot of the show. Cartoons rarely had main characters who were poor or of a different race or ethnicity. The women in the cartoons were always pretty. As I was reading this article, I started to think about one of my favorite Disney movies, The Princess Diaries. I thought that this movie had beaten the stereotypes of Disney movies because Mia, the main character, was a normal girl in high school. However, as I began thinking about Christensen’s article, I realized how this movie also fit into the stereotypes that she talked about. In the movie, Mia gets a new makeover in order to make her “look more like a princess.”Even her own grandmother thought that in order for her to play the part of aprincess, she had to change to look like one. I am so upset that The Princess Diaries fits into these stereotypes because now when I watch it, I think that I am only going to pick it apart more rather than enjoy the movie.
Talking Points: Are there any cartoons or movies that you loved but are now relating to Christensen’s article? Do you think there are any shows that should be kept from children? I loved Disney movies as a kid and can’t imagine not having seen or grown up with them.