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Are Classic Disney Movies Meant To Be Bad?

Updated on May 5, 2012

If you grew up in the 80's and 90's you probably grew up watching the classic Disney movies. Then they were known as some of the greatest children and family films of their day. Today the beloved Classic Disney Movies are getting a bad rap. Growing up on these beloved classics I find it hard to relate to those who claim that these Disney movies are corrupting our children today. A generation and a half grew up with these movies and I think we turned out okay. So why are they bad for our youth today?

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The shift in society to the belief that sex sells I believe has played a huge part in the idea that Classic Disney movies are bad. Where the things I'm about to mention actually in the films? Who really knows but the producers and editors.

My concern is that children are learning about sexuality too early in today's world. In my generation we would not have picked out the things that adults are supposedly taking from these Classic Disney movies today.

Some of the greatest Classic Disney movies of all time have been turned into some of the "worst" children's movies because of perceived sexual content (that may or may not be there). I will admit when looking hard enough, and I mean past the actual action that is happening in the scene you might be able to see different forms of paraphernalia.

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Disney's The Lion King

Known as one of the greatest Classic Disney movies of all time by some is also known as one of the worst by others. Why? Many believe that The Lion King should not be a children's movie because it is too dark. The killing of Mufasa and Scar to some is believed to be one of the scariest deaths in Disney history. The way these two lions are killed is believed to be too dramatic and dark for many young viewers.

Sex in the flower dust!? I don't know who saw this or how a small child is going to see this, because frankly I don't believe it's there. I've watched this movie hundreds if not thousands of time in my lifetime and plan to continue watching it. To pick apart this movie and "find" sexual images or words in this film is just plain ridiculous.

Another fault that people see in this movie is that Scar is black. He is not. His mane is a dark black/brown but his body is indeed brown just like the other lions.Mufasa and the other male lions were also darker than all the female lions is that a sexist thing? I think not. Children do not understand the differences between races and ethnicity and would not pick up on such a small detail. Is the different coloring's supposed to mean something more I don't know, but in my opinion what you see is what you make it.

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Disney's Aladdin

Aladdin one of my family's favorite. This movie is believed to portray Arab's in a bad way and bring about the thought that being lazy and wishing for what you want will eventually get you what you seek, which is power and money. That is not the lesson I learn from Aladdin, but like I said before the world is what you make it and that plays into the movies you watch as well.

When Aladdin wants Jasmine to ride the magic carpet before she gets on in the background of the film almost completely silent is the line "all good teenagers take off your clothes". This is completely false. The line is suppose to say C'mon good kitty take off and go. However during the editing phase something wasn't put together right and it comes out more of a jumble, due to there being two people talking. Even though this is the case, it takes multiple times and a very focused person trying to hear the words to actually hear it. Today most people only hear it because they are told that it what it says.

The Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid | Source

Disney's The Little Mermaid

One of the most controversial Classic Disney Movie's is the Little Mermaid. It wasn't until a year or two after the video release that people started noticing the "phallic" symbol on the cover of the movie case. After much deliberation the castle has been redrawn without the offending spire however the controversy does not stop there.

Another complaint is the Jamaican theme that the under the sea song seems to take. Again as a child I did not know anything about Jamaica and would not have been able to say that those fish looked like they were Jamaican. However today people believe that the message of that song is that Jamaican's prefer to live carefree lives under the sea where it is all play and no work.

These three films are just the beginning of a list that portrays the Classic Disney movies loved by many as being a bad influence for our children. These movies were known as some of the greatest children's movies of their day. The only reason they are getting a bad rap now, is because society is changing. When society changes the views change and things that are not meant to be are brought out.

Whether you grew up on the Classic Disney movies, are just starting, or believe that they are a bad influence for your children doesn't change the fact that they once were a popular choice by many for years. I will continue to watch and support these classics, because I see nothing wrong with them. They may or may not be the greatest or worst children's movies, but I believe they carry valuable lessons that are timeless.

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    • profile image

      Seriously??? 4 years ago

      Wow, people are pervs. :( That is all bullcrap if you ask me.

    • Shesabutterfly profile image
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      Cholee Clay 4 years ago from Wisconsin

      Daisy--I do not believe that Disney movies are bad. I was simply exploring the idea of explicate content scattered throughout most Disney movies.

      Peter Pan does not teach children to fly out windows, the main story of Peter Pan is to retain the child inside us all. To not grow up so fast....it is important to understand that Disney movies are fairy tales and that needs to be told to your children.

      I grew up with all the Disney classics and most if not all have very good messages whether they have explicit content or not. As a child I never picked up on any sexual content, however in today's society that might not be true. That simply means children and parents need to discuss what they are seeing and parents need to explain what exactly the child doesn't understand or questions.

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      daisy 4 years ago

      i agree disney films are bad because they can make you die like for example petter pan teaches kids to fly out the window.

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      Cholee Clay 4 years ago from Wisconsin

      expmom-I grew up on Disney movies and have no problems with them. Actually I don't perceive most children even picking up on the sutle sexually stuff. Dark themes and images are easy enough to explain and I think if you raise your child right, it won't necessarily matter what they watch.

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      expmom 4 years ago

      Don't make the mistake of overthinking this stuff. The world is filled with dark messages and images that young children should be steered away from, but you can harm your children just as much by insulating them against your every perceived danger. If you want your kids to grow up well-adapted and confident in this culture, you need to allow them to experience it. Your job is to be their guide, rather than their guard. Use your common sense, and be there WITH THEM to explain and discuss what they experience, rather than hold them hostage for fear of their "well-being." You're the adult, they are looking to you for perspective. Be brave.

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      Cholee Clay 4 years ago from Wisconsin

      I can totally see how they are marketing to adults. Growing up on Disney movies has certainly made me a huge fan, however I do like to watch most movies before sharing them with my nephew. We went to the movies today and there was a preview for a Disney movie that is definitely for adults but I believe still has ties to The Wizard of Oz.

    • Sharkye11 profile image

      Jayme Kinsey 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      I haven't seen Cars 2 yet, but I will preview it now. Thanks for the heads up! I think a good deal of Disney's new style stems from the fact that adults who grew up with Disney are now bigger Disney fans than kids, so they are marketing the movies to adults and older teens as well as kids. It might work for some small children, but I definitely think parent's should screen movies prior to showing them to their kids and match the films to their child's sensitivity levels.

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      Cholee Clay 4 years ago from Wisconsin

      Sharkeye11-I agree. I come from a very sheltered home, so for me to find sexual messages would never have happened as a child. However, I didn't grow up in a society where sex was so openly portrayed as it is today.

      I definitely think Disney movies have gone darker. The Cars 2 movie in my opinion was violent for a children's movie, however in today's society that is widely accepted and the children are not phased by it. However, when there are two massive explosions and multiple car characters killed within the first 20 minutes that is quite extreme. Yet today it is seen as the norm.

    • Sharkye11 profile image

      Jayme Kinsey 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      Technically I don't think a person has to dig for subliminal messages to find bad influences in Disney films. The majority of the are stories about the main characters being rewarded for doing things that are wrong or dangerous. They are even applauded for disobeying their parents.

      I think that Disney, in the beginning, thought parents would guide and explain these things to their kids, not use the movies as automatic babysitters where kids are left to draw their own assumptions.

      There a few exceptions. Cinderella wasn't really doing anything bad, and Belle was probably the most noble character Disney portrayed. She did everything to save her father, not to be pretty, or popular, or in love.

      As for dark themes and sex, well, a lot of that changes to meet what society wants. And even the slightly too dark and too sexy Disney versions are way tamer than the original fairy tales told to kids back in the day! I don't mind my daughter seeing dark themes, and I don't mind explaining sex to her. My only problem with Disney is the amount of crude humor that has crept in.

      I had the classic Little Mermaid case until it burned in a fire. My parents thought it was hilarious. They were saving it as a collector's item.

      Great hub. I had forgotten all about this stuff!

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      Jackle 4 years ago

      Cool i actually have noticed some of these things but for the most part its pretty cool

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      Jackle 4 years ago

      these are amazing great details i have never noticed some of this stuff before!

    • Shesabutterfly profile image
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      Cholee Clay 4 years ago from Wisconsin

      disciple--You make a good point, however I grew up with all the Disney Classics and I found not one of them growing up. It wasn't until my Junior year in high school when my friend pointed them all out, even then it was extremely hard to see some of them. You had to be really looking for them.

      Does it have to do with today's society? Maybe, but you also have to take into consideration what is shown on television today too. Every other commercial is about something sexual.

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      disciple 4 years ago

      it's very easy to see that there are subliminal messages in the Disney movies. they're not suppose to be obvious that's why they're called subliminal. In a lot of the Disney movies there are subliminal ones about sex and look at our society now with people that grew up then just saying...

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      Cholee Clay 5 years ago from Wisconsin

      alissaroberts-I love love love Cars, but I was a little disappointed in the Cars 2 movie. It wasn't necessarily a Cars 2, but rather just another car movie. I thought the cartoon action and killing/blowing up of all those cars was a bit much for a children's movie, however it was still a good movie for the most part. But maybe not something for younger children like the first Cars movie. Thanks for stopping by and voting.

      Doc Sonic-I totally agree. When I first heard about this a couple years back I was like what!? I grew up on this classic favorites and plan to watch them with my children. Great family memories together indeed:) Thanks for stopping by!

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      Glen Nunes 5 years ago from Cape Cod, Massachusetts

      It's ridiculous what some people can find in these movies. I love these movies, I enjoyed watching them with my kids when they were growing up (it didn't harm them one bit - in fact, they were the source of some great family memories), and when my granddaughters are a little bigger I know we'll enjoy these great Disney classics together, as well.

    • alissaroberts profile image

      Alissa Roberts 5 years ago from Normandy, TN

      What an interesting hub! I can't even believe these critics would pick apart the Disney classics like that. Oh well the critics won't phase me - I will forever love the classics :) Voted up and interesting!

      And on a side note that Cars 2 was kind of crazy. My 6 yr old loved all the action but my 3 yr old didn't like it all calling it a "bad, bad movie." I think we all agreed that we liked the first one much better!

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      Cholee Clay 5 years ago from Wisconsin

      I agree with you T B DeForge. Today's Disney Pixar movies are more prone to cartoon violence than any classic I've ever watched. The new Cars 2 movie was good, but the amount of explosions and "deaths" of cars was a little too much.

      Don't get me wrong it was a good movie and I'll continue to watch it with my nephew, but people have to realize that the times are changing and with that movies made years ago aren't going to be the same as the movies we have now.

    • T B DeForge profile image

      T B DeForge 5 years ago

      Regarding the Lion King, I have seen the cartoon many times. It was a youthful favorite. When I heard about the SEX in the flower dust, I immediately investigated. I found that Disney animators were known for finding creative ways of leaving SFX trademarks in their cartoons. I personally believe themes to be far more dangerous than subliminal messages anyway, because themes are what stick with you. I still am disturbed by some things I see in Disney today, but I've never had an issue with the classics.

    • rlaha profile image

      rlaha 5 years ago from Spartanburg, SC

      Yes you are right about that. Sad.

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      Cholee Clay 5 years ago from Wisconsin

      No problem Rlaha. I saw it as an eye opening experience and thought that I'd share. However I will always love these treasured Disney classics. People want their children growing up in a sugar coated world and will go to extreme lengths to try to provide that for them, even if it means bringing down children's movies that have been in the hearts of many for generations.

    • rlaha profile image

      rlaha 5 years ago from Spartanburg, SC

      Wow. I never knew that there was so much controversy over Disney movies and the insinuations they brought. That's strange. I have always loved Disney movies regardless. Thanks for sharing.

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      Cholee Clay 5 years ago from Wisconsin

      I never knew until a friend tried to show me something with almost every Disney movie I've ever seen. Many I never did actually find, and the ones I did I think I mainly just found because I was looking for them and trying to hear what I was suppose to hear. There are many more however these are probably known as the most controversial.

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      hush4444 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Wow, I had no idea that people saw all these sexual inuendos - I sure missed them! As for Lion King being dark, there was an equally viscious battle between Bagheera and Shere Khan in Jungle Book in the 60's, and that's my favorite movie. I agree with you, kids just see these movies as fun, and so do I. Interesting hub!