Disney has been around for nearly 100 years! Because of this impressive longevity, there are some films in this genre that fail to hold up to today's standards. As time passes, the films we consume tend to become more progressive and open-minded based on societal standards.
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More recent Disney films like Frozenand Moanado a great job adding more progressive characters and plotlines to the story, and it is safe to say that Disney has come a long way. Looking back at some of the older Disney films, which of them have aspectsthroughout the movies that have aged poorly?
SLEEPING BEAUTY (1959)
In Sleeping Beauty, there are a few elements to the film that would not be acceptable for today's more progressive standards. For one, it is a film that is rather ageist, especially towards women. This ismost evident with the character Maleficent, who is portrayed as bitter over the fact that she is not the most beautiful person of them all (Aurora supposedly is). This "beauty" is based on physical appearance alone, and it suggests the only pursuit towards happiness and success for a woman is through her outer appearance.
Another reason this hasn't aged as well as we would have liked is because, in the most famous scene in the film, the prince kisses Aurora when she is unconscious. As children, we were led to believe that this was something romantic. But as adults, we know it isn't something she could have consented to.
At least this movie gave us the Maleficentfranchise, which is a surprisingly subversive and revisionist take on the same material.
Cinderella is a film that is brimming with gorgeous animation and it is known as one of the most classic Disney films of all time. Yet there are definitely aspects of the film that should be pointed out for their outdated material, especially when it comes to gender roles in the film. Most notably, Cinderella feels as though she needs a prince to save her, and she's willing to wait around until her man can come to sweep her off her feet and save the day.
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In modern times, we prefer characters who are less passive and submissive in nature because Cinderella doesn't give out the best message to young girls who might get the impression that the only way to be saved is through a man.
THE LITTLE MERMAID (1989)
The Little Mermaid is, at the end of the day, an awesome movie filled with amazing songs and glorious animation. Despite it being a Disney classic, there are some glaring aspects to the film that certainly rub us the wrong way. The part that leaves us the most unsettled is the message behind the movie that suggestswomen should be willing to give up their voice for a man.
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That is exactly what happens in the movie, and Ursula the sea witch even says "on land, it's much preferred for ladies not to say a word." Having the main character essentially give up her entire life for a man she has just met and barely knows (yet frequently stalks) is not a great message to send out to little kids.
SNOW WHITE (1937)
Snow White seems like a perfectly innocent film, but it doesn't come without its faults.It almost deals with the exact same issues as Sleeping Beauty. It promotes ageismamongst women, for one, and it also has a nonconsensual kiss between Snow White and The Prince.
When Snow White is presumably dead and most certainly unconscious, this doesn't stop the prince from planting a kiss on her lips. Like Sleeping Beauty, this is not a romantic act, it is a violation and it should be seen as such.
BEAUTY & THE BEAST (1991)
Beauty and the Beast will most certainly go down in history as one of the greatest Disney films of all time. That being said, it doesn't come without its faults that most likely wouldn't do in today's day and age. The circumstances in which Belle and The Beast fall in love are rather uncomfortable and elements revolving around their relationship can be classified as abusive.
It gives the impression that women can "fix" men, and if they show the tiniest bit of kindness (even if they've kidnapped you) then it means they are suddenly classified as "the one." Slivers of kindness and a redemption arc still do not make up for the fact that The Beast held Belle captive and used fear tactics to get her to submit to him.
Dumbo is well-known for being a product of its time, a movie with a specific scene that would under no circumstances be considered plausible by today's standards. This is most evident in the crows, who are meant to portray African Americans in a stereotypical light.
The lead crow is even given the name "Jim Crow," and he is voiced by a white actor which isboth offensive and inconsiderate. Thankfully, the reboot of Dumbo directed by Tim Burton eliminated the scene depicting racial stereotypes entirely.
PETER PAN (1953)
Peter Pan will be remembered as a magical Disney film based on JM Barrie's play. Yet there is an obvious flaw in the film that simply cannot be overlooked.
In the song "What Makes The Red Man Red", the scene is overflowing with racial stereotypes towards Native Americans that most would agree are highly offensive. Instead of using the Navajo language, these characters speak a gibberish equivalent. It's a scene that is most certainly inconsiderate and really doesn't serve much at all to the plot.
LADY & THE TRAMP (1955)
Lady and the Tramp is a beautiful movie about two dogs who fall in love, but we all know that this film has some greatly problematic depictions throughout the Disney flick.
The most problematic depiction of all comes from the two Siamese cats who are the villains of the film. They are blatantly racist stereotypes of East Asians and the portrayal of these characters in a negative and villainous light is just utterly problematic. The newest live-action remake of this Disney movie completely scrapped their song, replacing it with a different tune as well as different cat breeds.
Pocahontas may look gorgeousfrom a cinematic perspective and we will never stop singing "Colors of the Wind", but this movie carries several problematic issues that would be more dissected today.
The movie tells an inaccurate story about Pocahontas' journey and portrays an inaccurate depiction of Native American history. There was also nothing at all that was romantic between the real John Smith and Pocahontas, considering she was about ten-years-oldand he was twenty-seven when they first met.
SONG OF THE SOUTH (1946)
And last but most certainly not least for Disney films that have not aged well is Song of the South, which just might just be Disney's most racist kept-secret of all time. To date, it's the only Disney film to be kept locked inside Disney's vault and for good reason.
The movie, which is famous for its song "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Da," created a romanticized version of slavery in the 1800s where the black slaves were depicted as being perfectly happy with serving their white masters. Disney is doing everything in its power to eliminate Song of the South from existence and we don't blame them because this film is terribly offensive on so many different levels.
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