Growing up, I do not recall my parents having any issues with my siblings and me watching Disney movies. If anything, they were naïve to realize some of the hidden messages that existed within these G-rating films for such a young audience. I mean, they literally bought us every film that was ever produced or directed by Disney. They did not have a problem with them and neither did we. I guess that is still the same up to this point disregarding the fact that I am starting to realize these little things that were unidentified and non-recognizable during my childhood. In a way, I know my parents never questioned the messages that Disney movies and other similar kid’s movies sent out to its audience because they were not completely capable of understanding what was going on in the movie. My parents never sat down with us to watch The Lion King or Aladdin. They never dared to waste their time trying to understand what the characters were saying, since at that point of our lives, they were only able to speak Spanish. Now, who knows what they would think about those popular Disney movies? It seems like I’ll be having a Disney marathon with them when I head back home for break. This shall be fun!
It’s interesting to read in Martin and Kazyak’s article, “Hetero-romantic Love and Heterosexiness in Children’s G-Rated Films” how the heteroromantic relationships portrayed in most Disney movies have caused children to assume that life is all about these heteronormative qualities. Through Disney movies, I learned about the existence of love between men and women. I grew up thinking that life was the same for everyone, that everyone was capable of falling in love and getting married. Girls in my class were constantly talking about wanting to be princesses, as us boys attempted to be their “Prince Charming” or “knight in shining armor.” What was surprising from this study was the fact that Disney movies had hidden messages that can be damaging to the way that children develop ideas about gender, sexuality, and even romance. What my parents thought were innocent movies for kids to watch, turned out not to be not so innocent. I came across a site that featured some of the hidden images that have been found in animated movies. As a child, I would have never actually noticed such thing when watching the movie, but now, I think I would actually be more aware of things I didn’t necessarily catch during my childhood.
When reading Bordo’s “Gentleman or Beast? The Double Bind of Masculinity” chapter, I felt that she was pinpointing some of the negative aspects of the society of gender. Men are supposed to be either “gentleman” or “beasts” and completely associating with either category can be detrimental to a man’s reputation as well as forever dictate how people perceive him. The existence of these two categories contribute to their role in society, which is dictated by the constant negative images of men in the media. Bordo argues that it is the media, society’s expectations, as well as the female culture that encourages the beast image. Such images of hyper-masculine, aggressive males have instilled fear and assumptions in people, especially females. In order to prevent those fears and assumptions, men have to find a balance between being a “beast” and a “gentleman.” Men today are expected to fit into a constrictive box that is dictated by numerous rules and expectations, but does that necessarily mean that they can’t be a sensitive gentleman at the same time? These are the contradictory expectations males are expected to navigate based on their role in society.
I always think of a Bachelor as the perfect example of a “gentleman” and “beast.” They’re often hyper-masculine, yet they have that sweet and caring side that is hopefully going to help them get the girl. I started watching this new MTV reality show called “Are You the One?” and from what I’ve seen so far, most of the male contestants on that show are basically “gentlemen” and “beasts.” It’s something that’s expected of them from society, therefore they must play that role as they are on TV, not to just seem “normal” to others watching them, but to also play their cards right, and win the competition on the show, which is finding their compatible match and also winning a share of the million dollar prize. It’s an interesting show. I was hooked on the first episode, maybe because I’m a huge fan for reality shows, but you guys should check it out.