Old Disney Movies are “dangerous” for children and Beauty and the Beast is worst of all, experts claim
Content Editor / April 09 2019
Many of us have fond memories of watching Disney movies with our families, and sharing the same films with our own children.
However, some experts say that the older Disney classics could be very harmful to our little ones.
Movies such as Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and The Lion King could actually promote unhealthy body image, racism and even domestic abuse.
Dr Victoria Cann, a Humanities lecturer at the University of East Anglia, Beauty and the Beast is by far the "most dangerous" Disney film, according to the Sun.
She says that Belle is a victim of Stockholm Syndrome (where a hostage develops a psychological alliance with their captor as a survival strategy).
“This [movie] is the most dangerous because the Beast always feels on the verge of violence,” she explains. “It also gives the unnerving idea that if a woman perseveres long enough, she can change an angry partner.
“At the end, the beast then turns into this blonde-haired white man for another happy ever after, giving the idea that now he's good looking, he can’t possibly be angry or threatening.”
Dr Cann also raises issues with Aladdin, claiming the movie is “racist”. She explains that all the “good” characters, including Aladdin, have pale skin, while the bad guys have darker skin.
Another expert, Dr Laura Coffey-Glover from Nottingham Trent University, says Snow White creates unrealistic expectations for young girls.
She also says that the film portrays women as helpless characters who just have to wait around for a man to come and sweep them off their feet.
In Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, both women are kissed while asleep, which raises issues around consent.
Dr Cann says they “normalise men's sense of entitlement over women's bodies”.
She did however say that movies such as Frozen show some signs of progress. The women are pale-faced with tiny figures, but in other ways the movie is an improvement on older Disney films.
“This is a film where there are two female lead roles. It shows that love can take different forms and a woman does not need to be saved by a man.”
What do you think?
Nicola Conville has worked as a journalist and editor for more than 20 years across a wide range of print and online publications. Her areas of expertise are parenting, health and travel. She has two children; Lucy, age eight, and Nathan, age five.