Beauty and Behavioral Standards and Disney Programs

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When discussing the definition of beauty in today’s society, thin, fair-skinned, and long-haired are all words that are agreeably in the top five adjectives used. These standards of beauty tend to be engraved in brains of children, teens, adults, Americans, Asians, Europeans, men, women, and etc. all day every day. These ideals are portrayed through television commercials, billboards, newspaper ads and all other forms of media, such as Disney channel programs. Behavioral norms are also a major topic depicted in Disney channel programs; these programs depict that certain races, social classes and genders behave in certain ways, some which are sometimes stereotypical. These ideals are targeted to children who are “reaching an age where they are developing an awareness of self and comparing that self to the ideals presented in the media” (Northup and Liebler 268). At what point do we question by whose standard is this normal? Are we supposed to continuously live in this box of subjectivity and suffer while trying to reach this “standard?” Is this standard really a standard or cultural norm? It is said that these depictions shape the behaviors and actions of children and affect their self-esteem and self-image, but that is not always true. Most children in today’s society are mature enough to differentiate between television and reality.
At a young age, I can recall watching Disney Channel regularly; I remember the countless movies from The Little Mermaid to Zenon. As a child, I saw the ideals being presented, but I did not recognize or understand the message that was being sent through the characters in these movies. I did not understand why I questioned my darker skin tone or four-foot frame or tomboyish ways until I was in my late...

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