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Terrible Moral Lessons That I Picked Up From Disney Films

Let me start off by saying that Disney is awesome. Yay Disney! Woo! *Waves Mickey Mouse flag* Yet no matter how awesome Disney is, I can’t help but notice all the not so awesome moral lessons that sneak into my favourite, awesome Disney movies. So here is a list of questionable morals that I have picked up:

• The Hunchback of Notre Dame
This movie makes me super sad. The ending is not happy, I don’t care what uplifting tunes you play to me, I am going to be a gross, damp wreck, because it is a SAD MOVIE! Okay, here’s the moral that makes me blubber every. Single. Time: Be as sweet and kind and heroic as you want, you ain’t gonna get the girl. I’m sorry, okay? But look at Phoebus. Look at that sexy beard, the hair that you could run your fingers through, that cocky, knowing smile. He’s an animation and even I’m getting worked up, there’s no helping Esmeralda. Sorry Quasi, you’re just not my type. How sad is that? If there’s no hope for Quasimodo, who SAVED THE DAY, how is there any hope for me, with my lack of heroism and craft skills? Sniff.

• Pocahontas
Do any of you know the actual, true story of this? Like the truth facts on which this movie is based? No? Well, let me enlighten you. Pocahontas was a child when she met John Smith. Yeah, it’s generally agreed that she saved his life, by putting her head on his just as her tribe were about to beat his brains out, but there was no romance going on there, and if there had been, it would NOT be fodder for a Disney film. Also, don’t try to save someone else’s life. You will get shot and lose your chance at true love because you’ve sailed to a country with no hospitals. Heroism is dangerous, don’t try this at home.

• Beauty and the Beast
Belle is by far my favorite Disney princess, because she is smart. She reads books and everything, which is way more than any other female does in a Disney movie; they’re way too busy preening or cooking or cleaning, there’s a lot of housekeeping being done in these movies. Anyway, despite Belle being oh so awesomely smart, all the men want her babies just because she’s hot. Yeah, she’s pretty and all, but check out those brains! The way her fingers fly over the pages is hot right? Right? I guess not. Even when she finally gets the prince, *cough* Beast *cough* it’s because of the super wow moment with the yellow dress. Okay, you could argue that he goes for her because of the rose curse thing, but that’s hardly a moral high point is it? If a guy is desperate enough, he’ll want you. Throw away the literature ladies, you don’t need it if your hair is voluminous and the guy you’ve got your eye on is in serious need of a good wax.

• Hercules
Oh Hercules, clumsy, funny-looking Hercules. Didn’t think you were a God did you? Well you are, congrats. Oh, you wanna come home? Well tough luck. Because of those two ugly, little creatures and that delicious poison you sucked down so eagerly, you’re kinda screwed for a while. Don’t worry though. All you have to do to be accepted back into the bosom of the shiny Gods is to nearly die. Of course, we’re not gonna tell you that. We’ll just lie back and watch you work your butt off, almost getting ourselves killed in the process, but yeah. A near death experience maketh the hero. Also, don’t bother with that health and safety nonsense. Three crazy hags are the keepers of mortality, so just steal their eye and hide their scissors. Sorted.

• The Little Mermaid
No-one told Ariel how awesome she was, clearly. Her self-esteem was shattered, she just couldn’t accept who she was, scales and all. When she saw her first hot guy, she sold her soul for him, changed her appearance completely, and, voila, she got the guy. Because that’s how love works right? “Oh wow, that guy’s pretty dishy, and his dog’s adorable, I’m gonna add a few extra limbs to my body ‘cause I’ve heard he’s into that.” “Oh wow, that girl sure is perty, and she has the sort of limbs I like. She can’t speak, but that’s cool, I won’t bother to learn sign language, guessing games are a giggle and oh wow! Look at THAT girl! Now that girl has limbs AND a voice, I’m off.” Eventually Ariel and Eric are united, on the condition that Ariel keeps her new limbs and stops with all the breathing under water stuff. How’s that for confidence boosting?

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  • Desiree Eaglin

    You forgot to mention how many mom’s are killed off in Disney films. Alas, I still love them all too…

    • Tilly Mintie Sparkle Boscott

      Disney is awesome. They do seem to have a lack of moms sometimes, especially in the older movies, but there are a few awesome moms doing their bit. Mrs Potts is rocking the single mom thing in Beauty and the Beast, and Chip is a lovely little cup. Go her! :) Thanks for reading. xxx

  • Christina Argyrakis

    I’m with you in terms of the morals in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (I get so sad too!!!) but the rest…not so much.

    I mean, Hercules? Sure the gods weren’t super helpful but they taught him that being a hero isn’t about the fame and glory but about being selfless. Plus it’s no way to learn if someone just tells you something – you have to go through it, which in this case, meant a trip to the Underworld.

    And The Lion King? I think it would be less believable (and a story killer) if Mufasa was like “look son, burning balls of gas”. And the head hitting thing, well, that’s just Rafiki being a bit zany, and adds a bit of comedy for the kids.

    I could go on for ages but I generally disagree with the above ^^

    • Tilly Mintie Sparkle Boscott

      Thank you so much for your feedback. I love how everyone gets different things from the films. I totally get what you’re saying about Hercules, and I think that I’m not really a Lion King person. I’m sure I’m like the only child ever that didn’t cry when Mufasa dies, but the minute I see Dumbo being picked on I’m blubbering. Thanks for reading! :) xxx

  • Libby Bishop

    I think the bigger issue is what seems to be the presence of Stockholm syndrom Belle experiences! Something about getting locked up in a castle with a beast then learning to love him doesn’t sit well with me.

    • Tilly Mintie Sparkle Boscott

      Haha! I’m with you there! Thanks for reading! :) xxx

  • Valeria Cano

    Wow.. I disagree with you too…
    I think, that on the contrary of what you say, Beauty and the beast is about looking for what’s on the inside of a person, not just their physical appearance.

    What you said about the Lion King pretty much proves our point, if you were looking for things to criticize then you were bound to find them

    • Tilly Mintie Sparkle Boscott

      Thank you for your feedback. I can see now how I might come across as a teensy bit cynical. I love Disney, I just wanted to explore the ways that I see things differently to others; turns out I’m very different! Thank you for reading! :) xxx

  • William Fuentes

    This is sad…

    • Caroline Lee

      It’s just an article. Chill.

  • Jesica Vaisman

    I couldn’t disagree more.. Yeah, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a sad story, but LOVE is not the point. The point is that people shouldn’t be afraid of someone just because is different, and that Quasi is accepted at the end. And even so, the bad guy in this movie is awful and cruel, but even he could feel pity for a baby, and he was trying to protect him in a way (i think), so maybe you could also learn that even the bad guys have feelings.
    Pocahontas I think you just tried to be funny, because its a great story with a great lesson. If you want, you can say that later on the invaders killed everyone and stole everything, but that’s something kids should learn in school.
    Belle is awesome because she is smart and she dreams about adventure. And who hasn’t? And yes, at first the prince just wants to end the curse and captures her because of her looks, but then they both fall in love with each other. AND he offers him a library full of books. Yes, there is people who talk about the stockholm syndrom, and they may be right, I really don’t know much about the subject, i should read a little more about it.
    Hercules is just a sweet and cute version of what could have happened if the greek gods weren’t such assholes in the greek literature. I mean, I love them, but they have so much flaws that humans look like poor lambs in these stories. I was sad Hercules couldn’t be with his family at first, but I understood why that was and I loved the film because at then end fame isn’t important, nor is revenge.
    I think the little mermaid makes more sense in the original story. She wanted an immortal soul, that’s why she becomes human (btw, it has a sad ending). But I didn’t find Ariel insecure, I just thought she was curious about that other world, as I was when I was a child about the sea. I always wanted to be a mermaid, and swim like that, and used to play for hours in the beach. I also learned that you have to follow your own path and make your decisions, but also that you can screw up and that your friends can help you find the way. Yes, she does gave up an awful lot for love, but that was what she wanted. It was her choice. And she does eventually get to have the sea world and the human world close to each other. (see little mermaid 2).

    What I would say is that the older princess movies, Cinderella, Aurora and Snow White are the more helpless ones, the more classic beautys, that bake and clean (even if they are forced) and sing like angels. They are the ones who have to be rescued. In the other films, people help them, but they make their own choices and risk everything for other people. They protect their loved ones. And that’s the most important lesson of all.

    • Caroline Lee

      It’s just an article. Chill.

      • Jesica Vaisman

        And that’s just my opinion. Why would I chill? I thought writing comments in an article was ok.

    • Tilly Mintie Sparkle Boscott

      Thank you so much for your feedback, it was so helpful and lovely of you to take the time. I agree with you that love isn’t the point of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, but when I see Quasi’s face, the way he looks at Esmeralda, it just makes me tear up. As for Beauty and the Beast, I love, love, LOVE Belle, and a man offering books is a yes, no matter what he looks like, I agree! And Hercules is adorkable, I just think I may have been traumatised by the fact that he nearly died… A lot of people have been pointing out what you said about the Little Mermaid, and I think I must have a differently wired brain to the rest of the world, because I am clearly wrong, oops. Thanks for reading! :) xxx

    • Went Brown

      This article is just a person’s opinion. You can interpret the movies however you want.

  • Pedro Alves

    I disagree with everything you said, have you seen these films AT all? If you take real time and analyse them in a proper way, and just not in a wanna-write-a-funny-think-I’m-clever-famous-post-on-my-website, you won’t have these conclusions. The one I get most frustrated is with TLM. Allot of girls live in this constant love and adoration with Belle and then have this hate over Ariel, for stupid reasons. Belle can read, so what? So Cinderella and Ariel, and many others. Belle wants adventures, but prefers to read someone else’s. Ariel lives them! And SECOND: Ariel did made mistakes, and so what? Don’t we all? PLUS: so tired of listening to this “Ariel sould her soul for a guy” crap. Ariel went on to Ursula because there was no one else to help her. Ariel wanted to be a human way before Eric came up, and the bond that was created bettween both, by Ariel saving his life (she saves him twice in the film btw), she felt in love with him. And he felt in love with this girl who was diferent, and had A VOICE. NOW: Ariel didn’t knew she had to change herself in order for Eric to love her, IN FACT she speaks with Sebastian on how she’s going to meet Eric AS A MERMAID cause Scuttle would probably know where he lived! She didn’t thought there was nothing wrong with her TILL Ursula told her so! If Eric HAD FALL for Ariel when she was mute, Ursula’s theory would be correct, on how women who speak are negleted by men and all that crap. Eric DIDN’T felt for her, because she wasn’t HERSELF, she didn’t had HER VOICE, and Eric was IN LOVE WITH HER VOICE. Damn it women, Ariel is the best Princess, and I’m tired of you getting over her like that. Ariel learns that she must loves herself in order to be loved. Of course Eric never loved her, she wasn’t herself. As soon as SHE accepts that, and her voice gets back, they get together. Get the facts straight. ALSO: Aurora puts her duty to her country over her love, that’s brave. Ya wanna point out to movies with HORRIBLE Morals? Take on Shrek for instance, who teaches the world to be incredibly selfish, cruel to animals., and clean your ass to books. Princess Fiona is incredibly dependent to a man, so much that she in order to exist HAS to marry someone WHOEVER that might be. Disney Princesses don’t want to marry! They fall in love through their lifes, there’s a HUGE diference on that.

    • Caroline Lee

      It’s just an article. Chill.

    • Kristen M. Csaki

      This would probably make more sense to you if you were a female,. growing up with these fairytales, just to find that the real is immensely different.
      She started out saying that Disney was awesome. Obviously yes, there are good things about these stories, if there weren’t, parents wouldn’t let their kids watch them. What she is pointing out are some flaws, in a few of multiple ways things can be interpreted by a female seeking role models.

      PS. Pocahontas, in real history, was supposedly raped and kidnapped. And saving him? His people had been massacring the native peoples.

      • Jesica Vaisman

        I am a female who grew up with these films. I didn’t find any of these things she is talking about. That is because she is analyzing them as an adult, and trying to find bad things about the movies. Everything can be turned into something bad, specially in kid’s stories. What does the little match girl teach you? Its not about kids reading subliminal things in these movies (like really, a girl will think you shouldn’t save someone because there are no hospital around), its about how you raise your kids. This is an funny article, I just don’t find it that way because is pointing things that aren’t really true.

        • Tilly Mintie Sparkle Boscott

          Thank you so much for your feedback. It’s interesting to read your point of view. I’ve always had these things rattling around in my head, but I guess that I’m an oddity. They are amazingly wondrous films though, and I learnt a lot about bravery, acceptance and, of course, true love. Thanks for reading! :) xxx

      • Tilly Mintie Sparkle Boscott

        Heya, thanks for your feedback, it was super cool to read. I think that you see different things every time you watch a film, whether it’s Disney or not, and the real world kinda influences everything that you see and know and feel, so we’re all gonna have different points of view. That’s what makes the world awesome. Thanks for reading! :) xxx

    • Vera Frances Lugo

      Nah, you just like Ariel ’cause she’s got more prominent boobs than the other princesses.

      • Tilly Mintie Sparkle Boscott

        This made me literally laugh out loud. Thank you! :) xxx

    • Tilly Mintie Sparkle Boscott

      Thank you for your feedback. I’ve seen all these films far too many times to count, because they’re so awesome, and I get a new thing from them every time, which shows how dynamic and well-made Disney films are. I do love Belle, you got me there, but Ariel is also super cool. Firstly, she’s a mermaid, how many other Disney princesses can say that? None! Go Ariel! I think that Eric was kinda the straw that broke the camel’s back with Ariel; she’d wanted to be ‘up where they walk, up where they run,’ for a long time, but he was the final push that she needed. It’s awesome that Ariel’s your favourite princess. I love that everyone has their own princess that’s important to them for different reasons, very cool. And I had never thought of Shrek like that, you’ve enlightened me. Thanks for reading! :) xxx

    • Katy Tunks

      You know that these aren’t real people, right?

  • Pedro Alves

    And how come saving someone’s life is a bad moral? (Pocahontas)

  • Lauren Thomas

    I feel I need to defend Eric in The Little Mermaid a tiny bit. He didn’t just run off with the pretty girl with legs and a voice – she worked some evil sea monster magic on him that hypnotised him into loving her!

    • Tilly Mintie Sparkle Boscott

      I am so glad you mentioned that. I’m actually a sucker for evil baddie hypnotism scenes. Like in Aladdin, where Jafar thinks that he has Jasmine under his spell, so super creepy and awesome! Thanks for reading! :) xxx

  • Caroline Jeffery

    so many issues with pocahontas LOL. she DID go to england and married ANOTHER dude and never returned home. also, in what world is a 3 month boat ride across the ocean a better alternative to staying on solid ground and doing the best you can??? it’s one of my fave disney movies, but OH THE INACCURACIES and silly plot devices. LOLOLOL

    • Tilly Mintie Sparkle Boscott

      I have that exact same thing. I love it so, sooo much, but if you read absolutely anything about the actual story, Bam! The magic’s gone! Still, it totally justifies watching it over and over again to re-Disney-fy your mind! Thanks for reading! :) xxx

  • Blâir Cåt
    Well, we also have this….so…
    Also…by the way….Pocahontas was a tool by her tribe to establish political stuff (they weren’t really going to beat John Smith’s head in and he used that girl, too), the actual tale of the Little Mermaid includes suicide if I remember correctly, and the whole beating thing was taken way out of context….don’t mess with my Rafikki. And let’s not forget how Disney really butchered the crap out of Greek Mythology.

    • Tilly Mintie Sparkle Boscott

      Oh my wow, that video is amazing! Thank you for the link! The more I learn about Pocohantas, the more I think it’s not really fodder for a Disney film, but it’s so good that I don’t care. Lots of fairy tales are super hardcore and got prettied up for children, as did the Greek myths, which are mainly Zeus doing it with everyone. Haha! Hey, I’m all for hitting people with sticks! Thanks for reading! :) xxx

  • Kristen Imogen Riel

    What about Snow White? The girl is dead in a coffin and some guy who sang a song with her once ages ago sees her and is all that girl is hot, who cares if she’s dead. She looks ripe to me and goes all necrophila on her.

    But seriously. It’s like going out for karaoke and some guy tries to steal the show with the other mic. Some events take place and you die and coincidently this guy happens to be a funeral crasher and tries to make out with your corpse. Creepy much?

    I imagine that she wakes up and is all “Thanks for waking me but I can’t get serious with someone who makes out with corpses.” But it’s Disney so they ride off into the sunset on his noble steed and live happily ever after.

    • Tilly Mintie Sparkle Boscott

      Haha! Your comment is epic. I always thought Snow White was a pretty odd film anyways; it’s ok to break into someone’s house and fall asleep if you’re Snow White, but if you’re Goldilocks, you’re in trouble. I so wanna see your version of the film. Thanks for reading! :) xxx

  • Hemma Jarnig

    Disney often conveys somewhat old-fashioned morals, however, they already dialed it down a lot. Many Disney movies are based on stories collected and published by the Brothers Grimm (Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, etc.). The stories’ versions from the early 19th century are much more brutal, including heavy punishments. HOWEVER, the Brothers Grimm also had to dial down their published versions after a lot of complaints from parents. The old folk stories the Brothers based their stories on were – to put it simply – plain horrible. These were originally used for educational reasons, to warn children about rapists, child abuse, etc. etc.
    Disney should re-consinder which values they want to convey, but at the same time do that in a less glorifying way as they normally use.

    • Tilly Mintie Sparkle Boscott

      Yeah, I am so grateful that Disney took these stories and kiddified them, because it totally made my childhood. On the subject of brutal fairy tales, have you read ‘Snow, Glass, Apples’ by Neil Gaiman? It’s a twist on Snow White and it’s so clever that it’s stuck in your head forever after. Thanks for reading! :) xxx

      • Hemma Jarnig

        I haven’t read it yet, but I’ll put it on my reading list – thanks.
        Speaking of Disney, have you seen this:

  • Jen Harbourn

    I had to laugh when I saw this article pop up today because I just posted a rant about Disney on my blog last week. I caught a rape culture line in a popular Disney show and was shocked that it was allowed in the script (plus, it was said by the youngest cast member of that show!)

    • Tilly Mintie Sparkle Boscott

      I love the Disney channel too, and you’re definitely never too old for it. I can’t believe that line was actually written in, then filmed, then produced and aired. I actually gasped when I saw it, and I totally agree with what you wrote. Let’s hope that it was some terrible accident that never gets repeated, ever, and that we all live happily ever after. Thanks for reading! :) xxx

  • Brittny McKelvey

    Actually…. how many Disney characters have two parents? Seriously…

  • Rachel Hradisky

    They also fail to mention in reality, shortly after being kidnapped by the English, Pocahontas became enamored with the way of life, changes her name to Rebecca, converts to Christianity, refuses to go back to her tribe after being given the option to do so, marries an Englishman and travels to England where she is basically made a spectacle for being the first “civilized” Indian. On a positive aspect, her and her husband are actually the first recorded interracial marriage on record. And then she dies. At 22. Supposedly of smallpox. Real Disneylike fairy tale. And it may be a little obvious that I wrote a paper on this before haha

  • Michelle McAwsum

    i think the worst thing for me is, if you’re beautiful you will get the guy. if you’re not a tiny big eyed beauty then you’re a witch. aside from the undercurrent of racism in a fair amount of the disney movies.

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