Archive for April, 2010

Do “Disney” Dreams Come True?
April 2, 2010

“All you dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them” – Walt Disney (“ThinkExist”).  

A statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse in Walt Disney World

     I would argue that everybody dreams young and old. We all have dreams about love, the present, and the future. I believe that our dreams come from the societies in which we live in. In my Western view of the world, I am conditioned to dream about having a successful career, to get married and to raise a family. In addition, I think that Disney has affected my life and the lives of others. Disney culture has and continues to impact people of all ages because of the ways it is engrained in our society. Disney films I think play a role in our development and what we would like to achieve in our lifetimes.

     At my age, I can reflect on Disney movies that I have watched as a child, I think that these films have played a role in my ideas and beliefs about love. In a book, called Walt Disney World: Then, Now and Forever, Walt Disney is quoted with stating this, “… Walt himself believed, “Too many people grow up… They don’t remember what it’s like to be twelve years old… they treat children as inferiors. I won’t do that. I’ll temper a story, yes. But I won’t play down, and I won’t patronize” (Gordon and Kurtti 10). Walt Disney’s beliefs demonstrate that a category of people have grown up with Disney however, we are quick to forget about our childhood. I agree and disagree with this because I do think that we grow up and forget about our childhood dreams but, these dreams are still very present in our lives as we mature. I believe that we carry what we have learned and use it in our futures. The versions of stories and fairy tales that Disney revitalized have become part of our lives in new ways. Most people are looking for their “love story” and I believe as a child one may think it is going to happen like a Disney movie. Therefore, Disney films allow for the young and old to form ideas and attitudes or to experience parts of their childhood that they forget.

     In addition, as Disney is an active part in Western culture, individuals learn and grow up on the ideals which it creates. In an article, called “Simulations of Culture: Disney and the Crafting of American Popular Culture” Trifonas discusses the influence of Disney on American culture he states, “Disney is hard to resist. We have known that since we were children. Sometimes, Disney has shown us a representation of the world as we have experienced it both realistically and allegorically. At other times, it has revealed a vision of the world as we would like it to be, a place of innocence and enchantment where all is well that ends well” (28). Trifonas makes the point that Disney is embodied in our culture, and has been for many years. Disney has taught people something about the world that they want to live in. However, this allows people to get unrealistic expectations because the world is a lot harder and problematic then pretty much any movie. Disney films give I think people hope and a way for them to escape to a world that may not be possible or tangible.

Cinderella and young "princesses"

     Gordon and Kurtti believe that, “ “The Disney fantasy is not so much about the superficial symbols of princess and dragon… as it is about the underlying notions that make the stories and their characters resonate across the generations: imagination, hope, aspiration, persistence, honesty, loyalty, bravery, and enduring power of dreams” (10). Disney continues to impact people of all ages because of I think the meanings and beliefs are evident in their movies. In our culture, Disney has provided an audience with stories that will live on for generations because of the implications that they convey. In addition, as Disney has created movies about princesses and princes it is the meanings understood that are significant. Although Disney has conformed to the norms of society and has not provided audiences with strong and independent female characters; movies, characters, products, parks, and live events continue to be successful. I believe this is because Disney has influenced our culture so greatly that we associate our dreams with Disney.

     Do “Disney” dreams come true? I believe that they do. I think that I am optimistic but, the only way for your dreams to come true is yourself. Characters like, Cinderella, Ariel or Snow White are helpless princesses who just want to get married however, their dreams come true. We look up to these characters for guidance and support. However, I think they teach people and especially girls what they want in life. Each character has their flaws but teach people to follow their dreams (even if it is to get married and live happily ever after).   

     This is a combination of Disney films created by an individual on YouTube. It shows famous Disney characters as well as their love stories and happily ever afters timed very nicely to Taylor Swift’s “Love Story”. Enjoy!  

 

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Happily Ever After
April 1, 2010

Is this what happily ever after looks like?

     After my posts on Cinderella, The Little Mermaid and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs I have decided to examine the notion of “happily ever after”. This is an idea that is presented in numerous Disney movies. The audience is consciously aware of what is going to happen at the end but, each movie presents a similar yet different ending. Although Cinderella, Ariel and Snow White share similar character traits their stories are unique, as each displays a new character that people can identify with and grow to love. In addition, all three princesses receive the happily ever after that they always dreamed of. As all three movies are versions of earlier fairy tales, the ending is an element that needs to take place in the movie or the meaning or purpose would not have the same effect. I believe that people like the ending of these movies because it provides closure for the audience as each princess lives in a castle with her prince.

     I think that Disney films and fairy tales are related in numerous ways because they present similar meanings and implications. For example, in an article written by Hermann Bausinger called, “Concerning the Content and Meaning of Fairy Tales” he argues that, “As adventurous as their paths might be, most fairy tales head toward a final happy ending… after the joyous marriage – he who does so is consistent with reality, but misses the genre, fairy tale”(81). Disney films fit into this genre of fairy tale as most character’s stories have a happy ending. These movies impact individual’s lives because I think that we forget about reality and just focus on the story. Further, I believe that people wish and long to have a happy ending. This can come in all different ways however; individuals need to feel happy and complete. Fairy tales and Disney films provide this feeling for people of all ages. Bausinger also states that, “The fairy tale is from the very beginning ruled by its ending” (81). While watching movies like Cinderella the audience knows that Cinderella is going to marry to the prince but people still watch the movie in its entirety because of the story and the characters. Therefore, Disney movies gives people unrealistic expectations about love because into order to get a “happily ever after” is going to be more difficult but more importantly, the relationship has to be equal.   

     I received an e-mail from a close family member a little while ago, it was cleverly titled, “The Truth About Fairy Tales” (Guiga). It depicts some of the most famous Disney princesses and puts not only a modern twist of their stories but also what happens after their fairy tale ending. These images are parodies of Disney movies and display a possible explanation for what came after the princesses “happily ever afters”.

     This picture is of Cinderella. I see this image as way that Cinderella is depressed after marrying the prince. She is a bar and drinking what looks like alcohol which could be a sign that she has turned into an alcoholic. 

Cinderella's possible drinking problem?

     The next image is of Ariel. This picture shows the reality of Ariel’s story; even though this is funny it shows how Ariel and Prince Eric do not belong in each other’s worlds. I think that this shows something more about cultures and how differences could lead to hardships or in this case violence. As Ariel is a mermaid, she is turned into sushi by a dominant human power.

Ariel turned into sushi

     The third picture is of Snow White. This image shows a very stereotypical perspective of marriage and raising a family. As in the film, Snow White takes on a maternal role,  it is after she gets married that her life changes. She has four children that are shown in addition, the prince is not helping her. 

Snow White as a mother

     I believe that these pictures support how Disney gives people false expectations about love because they show that not everything in Disney films may end up perfect or magical. These images bring in aspects of the characters but depict them through a modern and realistic perspective. Numerous individuals have romantic, magical and wonderful marriages and relationships but I would argue, all have their own difficulties and problems. Disney however, only presents one view point that everything is perfect and there are no problems or struggles in relationships as well as life. Furthermore, these images help people  to understand that they may have a “Cinderella” type romance but that everthing might not be so magical.