The “Wonderful World of Disney” has been a part of America for as long as I can
remember. With its movies, television shows, songs, theme parks, toys, and fictional characters,
Disney is the epitome of children’s entertainment. Disney serves as one of the largest sources of
entertainment to Americans, which is why it reigns as a commercial success and influence in our
country. According to Henry Giroux, a popular critic of the Walt Disney Company, Disney’s
immense success also represents “the power of the culture industries to mediate and influence
almost every aspect of our lives” (19). However, does Disney stand for pure and innocent
entertainment, or does it carry alternative motives that seem to be well-hidden from the public
eye? Many critics argue that Disney productions have the ability to affect American children and
families through their insensitive portrayal of certain aspects of society and culture.
Critics mark the idea of negative social influences as one of Disney’s most ubiquitous
problems. In a study done on the role of the Walt Disney Company, Vincent Faherty explains
that Disney displays certain aspects of “social vulnerability which need to be raised to a level of
public consciousness, given they do affect so many children and families “(17). For example,
Disney emphasizes social vulnerability through the overwhelming male dominance displayed in
their animated films. Faherty argues that even though there have been recent movies such as
Mulan and Pocahontas, which portray strong female roles, “the quantitative disproportion of
male characters in Disney animated films needs to be addressed if we expect children to be able
to relate to appropriate role mo...
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...Lives: Disney’s Cultivation, Co-Creation, and Control of
America’s Cultural Objects.” Popular Communication. 12 Oct. 2004: 191-211.
Byrne, Eleanor, and Martin McQuillan. Deconstructing Disney. London: Pluto Press, 1999.
Faherty, Vincent E. “Is the Mouse Sensitive? A Study of Race, Gender, and Social Vulnerability
in Disney Animated Films.” Similie: Studies in Media Information Literacy Education
(2001): Academic Search Premier: MLA International Bibliography. EBSCOhost. U. Of
Georgia Lib. GALILEO. 29 Oct. 2006
Giroux, Henry. The Mouse That Roared: Disney and the End of Innocence. Lanham: Rowman &
Littlefield Publishers, 1999. 17-55.
Pettit, Robert. Mickey Mouse Monopoly: Disney, Childhood, and Corporate Power: Study
Guide. 28 Oct. 2006.
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