Happily Ever After?

 

Disney has been reviewing its catalog with a racial sensitivity eye and making changes to who can and cannot watch old movies with offensive themes. Now the company says that viewers under 7 years old will not be permitted to watch certain offenders such as “Dumbo,” “Peter Pan,” and “The Aristocrats.”

Viewers above this age group will be able to watch these programs with an advisory. Disney gives a thorough explanation for each show on this page. For those of us that grew up with these movies, we may not have ever thought about the fact that the lead crow in Dumbo is named Jim Crow. What!? And admittedly, it took my 8-year-old son to point out the reference to “redskins” in “Peter Pan” before we put much thought into it.

As a society, we’re thinking about it now and we applaud that. But we also assert that the racial stereotypes in Disney films can be addressed far easier than the gendered ones. Entire dissertations have been written around Belle’s Stockholm Syndrome or Ariel’s denial of her very species for the boy or the fact that Arora just sits out the adventure altogether. So what is to be done about that? To be continued…

 

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