Wednesday, November 27, 2013

There are several salient issues brought up in the movie Mickey Mouse Monopoly.  Through interviews with various experts, a few roles of media are expressed.  The two I noticed the most were the cultural studies and cultivation research.  Dr. Justin Lewis talked about the vast reach of the Disney Empire, stating that because Disney was so widespread it formed child’s imaginary world across the globe, which gives them a lot of power.  He claimed that Disney creates an environment that consumers, especially kids, get used to.  This isn’t an immediate effect; contrarily it’s a slow accumulative effect.  This backs up the cultivation research theory because the children’s impressions of the world are cultivated through long term media exposure.  Another expert whose views mirrored the cultivation research effect is Dr. Alvin Poussaint.  He specifically talked about Disney’s portrayal of the “others” in society.  He talked about how the crows in Dumbo, the monkeys in Jungle Book and other characters sounded/were portrayed as African Americans.  Not only does this dehumanize that race of people, but also many times in the films these characters are either evil or are aspiring to be more like the “white” characters.  This is another main point of the cultivation research theory, that perceptions of certain groups in society may be cultivated by media representations. 

The other theory I was reminded of in the film was the cultural studies perspective.  Dr. Gail Dines said that unless conscience decisions are made by the writers of Disney movies, which she doubted, the stereotypes that are portrayed come from what the writers know.  This screamed cultural studies theory because the content of media comes from within a culture, and it acts as a cycle to bolster these stereotypes.  Dr. Diane Levin’s views also seemed to back up the cultural studies theory.  She talked about how when girls think about how to be a woman, they aren’t consciously thinking to themselves “how should I act, dress, and look to be a woman?” but merely using examples that are readily available to them, which in the world we live in where Disney is so prevalent, a lot of the times the readily available images are from Disney movies.  These representations of women in the media (Disney) reproduce the power structure that is already in place in our society, especially so thirty or forty years ago.  However, as individuals within a society change, the images from the media change to fit the views of the culture.  An example of this would be the depiction of Mulan versus the Belle.  Mulan is a much stronger, independent woman than Belle was.  While Mulan is the hero in the movie, at the end of the story she goes back and fits into the assigned gender roles, which demonstrates that things change very slowly.  The movie Mickey Mouse Monopoly brought to light the various impacts that media has on our society, and the consequences those effects can have on the children of a culture can be enormous, and not necessarily in a good way.

1 comment:

Amy Perkins said...

Alex, I found the way you explained the two perspectives that you noticed most to be really interesting because, although I chose the same perspectives, I used completely different examples and explanations. I thought you explained the cultural studies perspective extremely well and your examples supported your assessment perfectly. I also thought that the example you gave for the cultivation research theory was more applicable to the cultural studies perspective, which is understandable because the two are so closely related. Still, I think also looking at examples such as the issue of female body image and domestic violence in Beauty and the Beast help better reinforce the prevalence of the cultivation research theory, as these are more of cultivated ways of thinking than they are cultural views (as race often is). Again, this is slightly nit-picky seeing as the two can be so easily intertwined. Overall, great job... especially since you chose the same perspectives as I did!