Mickey Mouse Monopoly
Directed by Miguel Picker (2001)
Mickey Mouse Monopoly is an examination of the perniciously sexist and racist ideology promoted by Walt Disney Inc, one of the six media conglomerates that control nearly all global communication and culture. In addition to producing blockbuster films and TV programming, Disney owns TV and radio stations, movie theaters, Internet sites and theme parks worldwide, as well as the ABC TV and radio network.
According to Dr Henry Giroux, author of numerous books exploring Disney’s role in propagandizing youth, Disney uses the “spectacle” of innocence to conceal their ruthless exercise of corporate power.
Because Disney is such a dominant player in the development of children’s thinking, the company plays a vital in shaping how members of industrialized society view issues of race, class and gender. For this reason, psychologists, sociologists and media critics are extremely concerned about the blatantly sexist and racist messaging in Disney films.
This documentary skillfully intersperses “expert” commentary with clips from specific Disney films (demonstrating anti-woman, anti-Hispanic, anti-African American, anti-Asian and anti-Arab messaging) and interviews with children about their reactions.
As a woman, I’ve always been most concerned about Disney’s portrayal of female characters (both human and animal) as coy, manipulative, seductresses who are incapable of functioning independently of men. This was the primary reason we did not watch TV in our home while my daughter was growing up.
I remember using clips from Disney’s “Pocahontas” to illustrate colonial propaganda in a college diversity class I taught. It really is blatantly appalling.
They do mention Pocahontas in this film, as well as showing some clips. In addition to calling attention to the overt racism, they are also highly critical of the way Disney totally rewrote history. Not only was Pocahontas an extremely important political figure, but she never had a romantic relationship with John Smith. So there’s also a heavy dose of sexism in the way Disney portrays here.
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