What is going on with Disney’s representation
Walt Disney studio has been producing various of everyone’s favorite movie since the past, their princess movies is still iconic and always stays in our mind. Those protagonists, princess have a particular feature that Disney represented in many movies to be beautiful and royal, and prince as strong and masculine. They are always the stereotype of good and evil character. Good people are shown as what to be deemed attractive and pure, evil people are shown as more spooky, scary, more inhumane, what is meant to be “ugly” and with dark palette color which create specific image for good and evil people, as a result, it effects children’s mind who have watched or grow up with Disney.
In 1938, Disney released the first princess movie, “Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the prettiest of them all?” The question asked by The Evil Queen, the mirror reply by showing the reflection of Snow white, who is claimed the prettiest in the story. A girl whose skin is as white as snow. You can see how racially bias toward white people in this story is, even though Snow white originally came from Grimm brothers’ story but there is always a huge effect to society by how well-known this story is because Disney chose to do this story, as a lot of adults nowadays grown up with hearing this story with a mindset that was affected by Disney’s white superiority.
How Disney cause racism in children
In the past , since Disney always chosen a protagonist to be white ,correlate with beauty as a princess and goodness while black and other races has little representation, Most of Disney princess in the old day was white. It effects on how children may view people based on skin color and appearance, as they will likely choose white people instead of black people as good people because the image that Disney created. Not being represented makes children have lower self-esteem and worth research finds that “Disney [has] had harmful effects on others by not allowing a variation of racial representatives in films” (May, 2011, p. 6)
Disney’s redemption of representation
Because Disney underrepresent groups of people , result to causing harmful effects . So now Disney change the way they create media ,they are represent more group of people, more people of color , more ethnicity and culture over the years. For example , The princess and the frog , Moana , Raya
But is Disney’s representation right now still beneficial or is it forced? Disney will release the adaptation of “The little mermaid” , one of the most iconic Disney’s original, in May 2023. They chose black actress to play the role of Ariel , which Ariel was white in the original. This create mass controversy over the media, people say it is unnecessary and forced as it disrespect the original , while some people says that the reason Disney chose to do this is because they want to represent and build a good image for black people as they did it wrong in the past , they want to create positive change and they know it will be controversial.
Another discourse in the internet is Tinkerbell that was revealed in the new Peter-pan live action adaptation’s trailer, The original Tinkerbell by Disney was white and blonde but Disney made her black in this new upcoming movie , this create a controversy again as in the Tinkerbell by Disney , it already has a black fairy named “Iridessa” so it is unnecessary.
Nowadays Disney notice that their main audience are children, we can see that what Disney trying to do is creating impact on people’s mind , so let’s see how Disney continue from now on.
May, B. (2011). Beyond the prince: Race and gender role portrayal in Disney princess
films (Undergraduate paper, Saint Mary’s College). Retrieved from
I do not know what Disney will create in the future, but the voice of criticism, in other words, the voice of the audience can influence their work.