Sunday, 24 January 2010

How does Disney represent reality?

Some would argue that Disney films give an unrealistic view of reality. Most Disney films follow the classic love story formula, when a man and a woman meet, fall in love and often get married. It is presented as the 'norm' when in real life this does not always happen. Not every couple gets married and very few 'love stories' are ever as straight forward as presented in Disney films. The difficulties the couples in Disney films have to overcome are more likely to be scenarios like waking up a cursed princess rather than a massive row about where their 'relationship is going.' People might say that this is misrepresented relationships to children, that they will have an unrealistic view of their future. In Disney films, like all children's films, good always triumphs over evil, which is unfortunately not the case in real life. I don't think it would be an unfair generalisation to say that most Disney films are very unrealistic, most are fantasy films. But then again, are Disney films trying to give an accurate portrayal of real life? Or are they their to offer escapism, to entertain and stimulate children's imagination? There is a fine line between teaching children about the 'real world' and scaring them unnecessarily. If evil won sometimes or the princess didn't always get her Prince, what sort of hope would that give children? One of the big messages in Disney films is to follow your dreams, try your best, believe that you can succeed. If these typical plot lines were reversed, the stories would show children a world without hope, encouraging them to just give up. In some ways that is a more unrealistic viewpoint of the world than everyone living happily ever after. Certainly a more depressing one anyway, definitely not one fit for children's films. Disney films may seem unrealistic, but they are unrealistic for a reason. They're certainly not doing children any harm.

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