Who didn’t grow up watching Disney movies? If you were a little girl you wanted desperately to look like Princess Jasmine or sing like Ariel. Little boys wanted to grow up to be a prince and win the girl in the end. We all cried when Bambi lost her mom and had nightmares when Simba lost his dad. But who knew that these movies had underlying themes and secrets hidden in their storyline? From unhealthy relationships to blatant racism, here is a list of 19 Disney secrets hidden in plain sight.
Beauty and the Beast is one of many Disney stories where a beautiful woman falls in love with a prince. But when you really examine the story, she falls in love with a animal-like beast that captures her and holds her hostage. People have even suggested that Belle might have Stockholm Syndrome. She puts up with his volatile behavior and his angry outbursts and, despite his emotional abuse, they fall in love and live happily ever after. I’m not sure this is really a great message to send to little girls and boys, who are seeing this as a romantic fairy-tale ending.
Some say that Cinderella was just another Disney character who needs a man to save her from her current situation. In order to get the love of the prince, she had to completely change herself, bippity-boppity-boo style and become what she thinks he wants her to be in order to get his attention. Other’s say that the message of Cinderella is to have courage and to be kind. These Disney themes are in the eye of the beholder, I suppose.
Frozen was a huge hit and this take on The Snow Queen was empowering for little girls. The heroine did not have a love interest and the story focused on the relationship between the sisters instead. But there may be some hidden deeper meaning to the story. Some suggest that when Elsa isolates herself and locks herself up in order to keep other safe, it may have been hinting to how people in real life handle mental illness. She is shunned by the public for her “flaws” and she feels like she needs to hide her true self. Could they be alluding to people who are different than others? Those who are trying to learn how to accept themselves and “Let It Go”?
When you really look at Aladdin, it is pretty racist. There is a scene where Jasmine almost has her hand cut off for giving fruit to a hungry child, depicting that the people of the Middle East are monsters and savages. And the original lyrics to a song from the movie was, “Oh, I come from a land/From a faraway place/Where the caravan camels roam/Where they cut off your ear If they don't like your face/It's barbaric, but hey, it's home.” After many complaints from The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee the lyrics were changed.
The movie Dumbo was first released in 1941, and if the movie was released today, a lot of the it would not fly in our much more politically correct society. Dumbo is in the circus with a bunch of diverse characters and it is clear that the group of crows are a representation of African-American people. They use stereotypes in the way the crows talk and how they are dressed. If you had any doubt, one of them is literally named Jim Crow.
The Disney version of Pocahontas was romantic, but not at all historically accurate. In real life, Pocahontas was 10 years old and John Smith was 27. That is already gross. Also, things went south for her after John Smith went home. The other men took Pocahontas back to England where she got extremely ill and later died possibly of pneumonia or tuberculosis because her body wasn’t accustomed to fighting off those types of diseases.
Where do we even begin? I’ll start with...SHE GAVE UP HER VOICE TO LOOK GOOD?! She literally was like, “You know what, I’ll never speak again, I’ll get rid of my tail and my dinglehopper, just to get the man!" She also left her father, Flounder, Sebastian and all of her other little sea creature friends to spend the rest of your life sitting silently with some chiseled, boring prince?
So they tried to switch things up by having Princess Tiana turn into a frog when she kisses the frog prince. But why are we kissing frogs to begin with? Did you know that kissing a frog in real life can actually give you salmonella poisoning? After the movie was released in 2010, there were 50 cases reported of young girls being hospitalized because they decided to lock lips with the slimy creatures. We better watch what we teach our children.
So, we have all seen the "damsel in distress needs a prince to save her" theme, but Sleeping Beauty takes this idea to a whole new level. This damsel in distress literally needs a man in order to live and breathe. Like, she can’t get out of bed, unless he kisses her? Wait, doesn’t Snow White need a kiss from a hot man in order to live too? See, these women are written in such a way that they are literally interchangeable.
There is no better way to introduce psychedelic drugs to your small children than with a popular Disney movie. From the caterpillar smoking a Hookah pipe to Alice eating magic mushrooms, this movie does not send a great message to the children watching. Rumor has it that the original story of Alice's Advnetures in Wonderland was written when opium smoking was very common, so it is no surprise that the movie is beyond trippy.
'Remember the Siamese cats from Lady and the Tramp? Go ahead and watch the movie now and you would be appalled by the Asian stereotypes that they depict. The movie was released shortly after the end of the Korean War, when Asian stereotypes were prevalent in the United States. The way that they are depicted, as shifty and conniving with buck teeth and slanted eyes were all stereotypes used at the time against Asians in order to reinforce fear of the "enemy" suggesting that east Asians we sneaky and posed as a threat to the rest of the world. These racist beliefs led to to strict fierce anti-immigration policies to keep them out of the United States.
Even though this is more of a Pixar secret, Disney owns the animations studio so it still counts. It's subtle, but nearly every Pixar film references Apple. Steve Jobs, the genius behind Apple, was one of the early supporters of Pixar.
In Peter Pan, the Native Americans sing a song called, "What Makes the Red Man Red?" As if the title is not racist enough, the lyrics "Once the Injun didn't know all the things that he know now ... but the Injun, he sure learn a lot, and it's all from asking 'How?'"
The song also implies that Native Americans got their complexion because an "Injun prince" kissed a "squaw" a million years back and everyone has been "blushing since."
Native Americans have suffered enough over centuries, don't you think these caricatures of them and ridiculous lyrics are over-the-top offensive. But as a child, you didn't think twice, did you?
First of all, when you examine the plot of The Incredibles, Bob is going through a complete midlife crisis throughout the movie and when he gets to play superhero again, what does he do? He starts flirting with another woman, Mirage, who is not his wife. Helen even finds a hair on his clothes. The lack of trust, the flirting with another woman and the midlife crisis all seems to be a bit much for a kid flick.