Disney has grown…

In class we recently talked about the new beauty and the beast movie and it really made me angry if I’m being honest. I feel like for three classes we straight up ragged on that movie when in reality we didnt even acknowledge the changes that disney has made. I know people were offended by the way Disney has progressed and caught up with the times. 70 years ago Disney was making movies strictly about girls as damsels in distress with their prince charming coming to save them. But actually lets think about it. Disney has made so many different movies with new feminine heroes. Now i know that people got offended when the beauty and the beast made the only gay character “fat plump and ugly” but no-one took the time to acknowledge that they even put a gay character in one of their movies. In my opinion that is a huge milestone for disney. I think we focus way to much on how every type of person is portrayed in roles instead of acknowledging the fact that they are even recognized in films at all.

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8 thoughts on “Disney has grown…

  1. I fully agree with this post. I feel that we have harped on Disney too much, when in reality Disney has made many changes over the years to include all types of race, religion, and now even sexuality. The original stories consisted of helpless princesses waiting to be saved by their prince. Nowadays we find films with strong female characters who aren’t even going after love. We have Frozen, with two sisters Anna and Elsa who work to save each other. There’s Moana, a Samoan princess fighting to save her island and family. They decided to make Princess Tiana from “Princess and the Frog” African American. They included different sexualities in the new Beauty and the Beast movie. I believe that Disney has made leaps and bounds compared to what it used to entail years ago.

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  2. I agree with you. I do think Disney has grown. I just saw the new Beauty and the Beast movie last night and I was very impressed with it. I personally liked how much Emma Watson resembled Belle and how Luke Evans looked just like Gaston. I was also impressed that they still managed to make the cast very diverse, while still sticking to the original movie’s theme. If I am going to see Beauty and the Beast I expect the characters to resemble the original movie because it makes the movie much more entertaining. The newer princess movies are showing princesses with much more bravery, power, and intellectual abilities. This is very promising to see because it shows younger people that there are many different types of princesses and being a princess is much more than just falling in love with a prince and living happily ever after.

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  3. I think Disney has grown but at the same time it’s growing slowly. For example, another person made a post discussing the Disney movie Brave, which is about a strong female lead who wishes to be a huntsman, a man’s position. As the other person mentioned, Brave is probably the least remembered film, even with its strong independent lead female. What do people want when they see a Disney movie? Romance and a fairy tale. And while Disney comes out with movies such as “Brave”, “The Princess and the Frog,” and “Moana” (which is by far the most popular of the three), Disney still caters to fairy tale- romance movies because that’s what sells. Until we have a cultural shift, that is going to be the story lines continued to be made and movies like “Brave” will be the odd-Disney movie out.

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    1. I am right there with you in terms of the “growing slowly” sentiment. Disney has made painfully slow inches towards a more diverse character space. Though people are quick to cling to any form of progression – no matter how slow- I feel it is important to note that the media being pushed out by Disney could be more progressive. Disney has shown growth, but by how much? I do not believe a ‘good effort’ is worthy of anymore recognition than “do better”. Disney can and should do better in terms of recognition and representation of the diverse families that consume their media.
      You also noted that Disney media relies heavily on romance, particularly romance between cishet couples. Though Disney is creating more content that branches away from the fairy tale tropes that usually crowds the plot of their films, I think it would be even better if they created films that centered around romance between people in certain marginalized communities. Romantic leads that aren’t cis, heterosexual, or able bodied. People have been clamoring for years for more diversity from Disney, I think the cultural shift has occurred but Disney may not feel that they’ll see much profit from it. Many companies feel that “diversity doesn’t sell”, and as you’ve highlighted in your reply and as we have seen in recent box office feats that is simply not true.

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  4. I feel as though Disney has improved, it may be perceived as growing slowly, they are making changes. We have to remember that Disney had stuck to this mold of princesses needing saved by princes, for a long time so the fact that they are making those efforts in the movies to be more inclusive is great. Also Disney is an attractive place because it’s a magical place it always has been whimsical and fairy tale like, because that’s what Disney is and I wouldn’t want them to change that whimsical feeling. I think that they have become more diverse and showed with a popular movie like “Mulan” females can be strong and independent.

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  5. I totally agree. People are more worried that the person portraying a gay guy looks different/ unattractive rather than the big picture. This goes to prove how un-evolved some people still are today. People need to realize that Disney is trying to branch out and relate their movies to reality and not always depict the picture perfect fantasy normative cast. Disney is finally teaching the younger generation that sometimes people are different and not everyone you meet in life is heterosexual. Also as mentioned before Disney did do a good job representing different races within the movie showing younger children that the princess/hero doesn’t always have to be white (Moana, Tianna, Pocahontas).

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  6. i saw beauty and the beast in theaters three times and i am still listening to the soundtrack. I honestly went because i heard there was a gay character. I have still never seen the original beauty and the beast and why would i when there’s Emma Watson, a beast solo, and a gay character in the new one? I have to disagree with everyone who said that disney did a good job with representation though. I know it may seem like its a huge leap forward for disney but it’s really not. Disney should have put a gay character in years ago. I’m actually mad that they waited this long to add someone gay to a movie. Sure they got backlash from conservatives but had they been incorporating more gay characters maybe by this point in time they could’ve made LeFou transgender or non binary, maybe ace or polyamorous? I think it’s great that they’re finally acknowledging the gay community but i think they should have started this a long time ago. If we want the next generation to be more accepting than the older generations then we need to stop dipping toes in the pool and go for it. Actually represent people. Add all races, genders, sexualities, religions. And when you do add people of different races, genders, sexualities, and religions, treat them right and let them be happy.

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  7. I completely understand where you anger is coming from. You want to make sure that we appreciate the strides and progress that have taken place in order to further this progression in the future. Yet, 70 years is a very long time and I feel as though the slighter changes that were made could have been made 50 years ago so the progression could have happened quicker, especially with a company that focuses on inclusivity and happiness for all. I am happy there is steps for progression, yet with such a huge company that has so much influence there should be more and faster, yet it is not as profitable so I don’t believe we will see it any time soon.

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