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Disney Classics Presents: Hypersexualization And Promotion Of Domestic Violence And Racism

Disney movies are not all what they seem since the plots carry heavier and negative messages than intended.


Disney movies may not all be happy endings…

A study was conducted by two researchers from East Anglia and Nottingham. Dr. Victoria Cann is a professor in Humanities and Dr. Laura Coffrey- Glover is a professor in Linguistics. Both esteemed lecturers were able to team up together to break down Disney movies that many children watch and look up to, which can highly be influential on their development. Their study concluded with blaming Disney classical movies for hypersexualizing and belittling female characters, promoting domestic violence, and instilling racist remarks.

Let’s start with Snow White… Although the movie seems like an “innocent” film of a young girl living in a house with dwarfs and always happily singing, its plot can send completely different messages to young kids. Snow White is essentially cleaning and cooking for the dwarfs she lives with the majority of the movie until she falls into the coma. This emphasizes that young girls should take on “traditional” roles of staying at the house to do all the chores rather go out and do something career oriented. It’s the 21st century, let’s please stop with the “gender roles” already.

Snow White also “helplessly” falls into a coma, which gives young girls the impression that they can be swept off their feet in times of hardships. Newsflash, that’s not how life works. Young girls should be taught that they’re strong beings that can overcome any obstacle without needing a man to do it for them.


Finally, the last critique of Snow White is the fact that the Prince kisses her while she is sleeping without her consent. This scene can implant a horrible mindset of doing whatever to whoever without their permission. Consent on both parties should always be taught, or else, we deal with cases with individuals thinking it’s “okay” to sexually assault or harass others since they don’t have basic morals established. It’s not hard very hard to understand what “NO” means!

Onto our next “terrible” Disney movie… Beauty and The Beast. Dr.Can strongly believes this classic is one of the most dangerous. She says that the plot is an “unnerving idea” because it suggests that if a woman stays put and perseveres long enough, she can change her violent and tempered partner. This gives a sugarcoated illusion of domestic violence to young viewers and makes them believe that being mentally and physically abused to a certain extent is “okay”, and it is NOT AT ALL. If they have a distorted view of relationships in which abuse is accepted, they will not be able to recognize the red flags once they’re older that they’re in abusive relationships because the actual signs they should be looking for are diminished.


Belle’s physique of a slim and tiny waist gives an unconventional body type that females need to have to be deemed “pretty” or “feminine”. These physical features give ridiculous pressures to young girls who are in a period of their lives where they should love to learn their bodies instead of wanting to change them.

Another movie that has a plot of a male being in control of the female is Aladdin. Similar to how Belle was kept within the castle with the Beast against her own will (which btw is not romantic at all, so stop the “awww” cues) is Princess Jasmine who was being planted into an arranged marriage by her father so she would be protected and taken care of. Although, Princess Jasmine is one of the sassier and fiercer princesses, she was constantly sexualized throughout the film of wesring shprt crop tops and portrayed as a seducer when she had to distract Jafar.


First of all, I’m pretty sure if it was a male character that had to do the distracting, they would’ve done something silly like dance or tell some jokes, not be put into a red and sultry costume to get the attention of an older man. So, my biggest question is why Disney thought it was okay to send a message to girls that their bodies are the “only” attribute they can use to get things in life.

Newsflash Disney, females too have a brain, a personality, and so many other valuable qualities than their physical characteristics! So, try focusing on that rather than these absurd ideas of physical attributes being more important.

Another thing about Aladdin Dr. Can discussed in her study was the different skin tones of the characters. Aladdin and Jasmine were more fair-skinned and lighter brown than Jafar who was darker, which can suggest that “bad people” have darker skin. This gives off a major misconception that good people are lighter and bad people are darker. “Skin tone is an important concept that’s represented in films ” says Dr.Can. These comparisons can also bring down kids self-esteem’s that have darker skin making them feel like an outlier.

Although Disney has been gradually improving on their films like Frozen which mainly focused on the strong female portagonists and the females only needing sisterly love to overcome hardships, they still have a long way to go in creating movies that are thoughtfully plotted out. Meaning, they relay messages to kids to accept themselves and others disregarding physicsl characteristics and encouraging them to become the best versions of themselves without having to depend on anyone for their happiness and success.

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