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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    UA class downing on Disney distracts from real problems

    A PE class here at the UA, called Sport, Leisure and Consumer Culture, shows a video of how fairy tale princesses’ perfect bodies could begin the cult of the “perfect body image.” A college class does not need to show videos trying to make Disney look bad. It appears the instructor has run out of lesson plans.

    It’s not likely that when little 5-year-old boys and girls watch these movies, they think about how big Ariel’s boobs are or how perfect and skinny Jasmine looks. They love the magical stories of Disney and expanding their imagination.

    A physical-education-based class should focus primarily on the importance of fitness and well-being, not how skinny Disney characters are. The princesses weren’t created to make little kids feel like that is what the expectation is when they grow up.

    “I think children focus on the actual fairy tale itself. They’re not focusing on the princesses’ bodies,” said Heather Weiler, a mother of three. “Misconception of body image happens as they get older and start seeing these pop stars showing off their bodies to sell music. Parents also have a strong say in their child’s body image, by controlling what their children watch. Good body image comes from the parent for God’s sake, not Disney.”

    People who grew up with Disney movies never would have even thought about all of this nonsense, until someone with a lot of time on their hands overanalyzed Disney movies’ influence on young girls. And why does no one ever question its influence on boys?

    It is indeed interesting how nothing is ever said about how these Disney movies may influence boys. A majority of the princes are tall, handsome, broad shoulders, strong arms and perfectly engineered faces. Young boys watch these movies too, and if girls are supposedly affected, boys would be too.

    “They’re either completely flat characters intended to be love interests, or they’re heroes to be judged on the basis of their actions,” said Jake Shields, a biology major, about Disney’s princes. “If anything, Disney princes send the message to the male gender that you have to do outrageous things to win the affection of women.”

    What seems to be the most probable influence on kids causing them to feel insecure about their bodies are magazines, actors and their peers.

    Girls nowadays feel that 98 pounds is “sexy” because that is often what is seen on the cover of Vogue or Cosmopolitan. This is the issue the teachers of this PE class should be showing videos about, not how characters intended for 5-year-olds are messing with young minds about body image.

    — Danielle Carpenter is a pre-journalism freshman. She can be reached at or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions .

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