Sunday, March 11, 2012

How Disney Changed Fairytales

As a child I really loved Disney cartoons. I grew up in Belarus, Minsk and getting your hands on some Dinsey cartoons for your children was very difficult, but my parents would always able to get some some for Christmas or my birthday. I think that some of of my top favorites out my whole collection of Disney animation was The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Beauty and The Beast, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Aladdin. 
I remember watching Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs so many times and not one time do I ever feel like I learned something useful from it as child, it was just something fun to watch from time to time and that was what Walt Disney did to some classical fairy tales like Snow White. When fairy tales were first told to children they were suppose to teach them something, give them some sort of life lesson as Zipes mentions in his article "Breaking the Disney Spell" but once Disney broke through in the animation business he worked hard on making sure he will live on forever through if animation cartoons. He was able to do so by even more so changing the gender role of Snow White in his take on the fairytale. 

Disney represented Snow White as orphan, who's job was to sing and clean and be innocent to the evil world around her almost. That was how she was able to gain the attention of her prince charming. Then Disney went on to show another side of women (that women themselves should never show) jealously, cunning, aware of how the world works and knowing that beauty among women is judged the highest by men. The evil queen spotted the fact that Snow White was prettier than she was and wanted to eliminate the competition. With that Dinsey stuck with the storyline, he later on went on to add singing and dancing animals that would help her cook and clean. The ending of Snow White was really what changed! "Snow White does not return to life when a dwarf stumbles while carrying the glass coffin as in the Grimms' tale. She returns to life when the prince, who searched far and wide for her, arrives and bestows a kiss on her lips. His kiss of love is the only antidote to the queen's poison."

This sends out a message to little girls that they have to be innocent and not know how the world works because that would in the end bring them love and a handsome prince that will save them for all their trouble, sadly that is not how the world works. 


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