Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Check It Out

Diversity in Disney Films : Critical Essays on Race, Ethnicity, Gender, Sexuality, and Disability. Edited by Johnson Cheu. McFarland and Company Publishers, 2013.

New Book Shelf, call number: PN1999.W27 D58 2013
Available for 4-week check out with your SWC photo ID card.

It’s Oscar time! What better time to think about the most decorated of Academy Award recipients – Walt Disney.

It’s no surprise that Disney films are well-regarded both in awards shows and in the hearts of children and adults everywhere; well, almost everywhere. While some people find it easy to relate to the characters, others just don’t see themselves fitting neatly into the Disney world of characters. Diversity in Disney Films takes a closer look at how Disney represents race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and disability in their films. It’s not always a pretty picture.

What makes this book interesting is that it covers the full span of Disney’s empire, from early racism in lesser known films to the representation of female heroines and villains in some of Disney’s more recent movies – Pocahontas, The Little Mermaid, and Aladdin (Sorry, no Frozen sisters). Each chapter is written by a different author, which offers a startling different perspective from the typical happy ending.

While we often don’t see Disney films with the intent of thinking critically, the concepts represented in the film are the very stuff that our culture defines as the norm. Diversity in Disney Films challenges us to re-examine our earliest movie experiences and the ways in which we view ourselves and our society.

Review by Lauren McFall, SWC Librarian

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