Life in the Slow Lane

April 22, 2009

Does Disney set a bad example of home life?

Filed under: Entertainment,Life,Movies — pauljlane @ 11:41 am

An interesting point came up the other day during a3-wallpapers-beauty-beast
discussion at home about Disney cartoons (there are a lot of those when you have two young children in the house).

While I have no problem showing Penny the many Disney film titles that are available on DVD (most of which are pretty good for adults, too), there is at least one glaring commonality that might upset purists.

Nearly every family in these films is a broken household. Consider:

• In “The Lion King,” Simba only has his dad Mufasa around – and that’s only until he’s killed early on in the movie (he does have a mom, Sarabi, but she’s nonexistent in his life).

• In the film that bears his name, Bambi’s mom is shot and killed, and his absentee father only comforts him with a gruff, “Your mother can’t be with you anymore.”

• Cinderella’s father tried to give her a normal home after her mother died, but upon his untimely demise she’s trampled upon by her stepmom and stepsisters.

• We have no idea who Snow White’s parents are. All we know is her stepmom, the queen, hates her guts and puts a hit out on her.

• Ariel’s mom is never heard from in “The Little Mermaid,” only her father and her many sisters.

• Same thing with Jasmine’s mother in “Aladdin,” the mother of the kids in “Peter Pan,” Pocahontas in her film and Mulan in hers.

• The Beast in “Beauty and the Beast” has no parents at all. We know that the curse that made him a monster becomes permanent on his 21st birthday, and that he’d been in that form for years before the events of the film took place, so that means he’s been a prince living alone in that giant castle since he was about 16.

• At least Beast had servants to help him. Poor Mowgli in “The Jungle Book” was left in a basket in the jungle, with only a few primates and felines to raise him.

So I ask you, where did the women go? Were they too difficult to animate? Were the Disney illustrators anti-females? Is there some mythical cartoon waiting room where all these mothers are gathered, helplessly watching their children struggle before their inevitable victories?

To be fair, many Disney films are rip-offs of old fairy tales, which might have been written minus moms. The absence of these mothers generally isn’t integral to the plot of any of these films, but the frequency of this occurrence is something to ponder.



  1. […] Original post by pauljlane […]

    Pingback by Does Disney set a bad example of home life? — April 22, 2009 @ 12:34 pm | Reply

  2. […] Original post by pauljlane […]

    Pingback by Does Disney set a bad example of home life? | Entertainment @ U Want 2 Know .Info — April 22, 2009 @ 1:15 pm | Reply

  3. Paul, that’s a very interesting critique there. I never put all that together. Hmph.

    Comment by Scott Leffler — April 22, 2009 @ 3:09 pm | Reply

  4. You have to bear in mind, however, that Disney is merely adapting stories wherein the parents are ALREADY gone.
    As for why one or more parents are ‘missing’ it’s because it makes for a more dramatic tale and more sympathetic character.
    Plus, it’s one less character to design, animate and find vocal talent for…
    And here’s a non-Disney Peter Pan adventure unlike any other 🙂


    Comment by The Never Fairy — April 22, 2009 @ 3:36 pm | Reply

  5. Paul,

    Bravo to you, for finally standing up to the fairytale industry that has put one parent or the other in a bad light for centuries. I also wanted to point out small screen, Scooby-do, 5 teenagers, a van, no supervision, YIKES. Charlie Brown, occasionally you would here a wah, wah from a teacher but once again, no parents, so much so that Lucy had to open a business just to support the family. Thank God for the Flintstones!

    Comment by Mar — April 23, 2009 @ 8:55 am | Reply

  6. However now that I really think of it, the Flintstones were based on the honeymooners and Fred was overbearing and always leaving for bowling, (absentee father again)! I guess fantasy will never be as good as real parenting. Maybe thats where a little one can say, hey compared to Cinderella, Snow White or Pebbles Flintstone, I’ve got it made:)

    Comment by Mar — April 23, 2009 @ 9:03 am | Reply

  7. I found lots of interesting information on The post was professionally written and I feel like the author has extensive knowledge in the subject. keep it that way.

    Comment by Payday Loan — May 1, 2009 @ 4:44 am | Reply

  8. Hey, Paul! Who cares? It’s a CARTOON! Lions freakin’ talk in the Lion King. They live underwater in the Little Mermaid. It’s MAKE BELIEVE. You think only two parents — a mother and father — should be represented in everything? Only a one mom and one dad can raise children?

    Comment by Ace Frehley — May 8, 2009 @ 10:14 pm | Reply

  9. Are you serious? What is with you trying to find the negative in everything in the world? I think you are way over exaggerating on this subject. I personally think that you are just a cynical person…they are cartoons and nobody takes them that seriously. Also in Peter Pan for example, both the mother and father are around. It is the kids that run off to neverland and the parents are at home worried sick. So just get over it.

    Comment by Get Real — May 16, 2009 @ 2:01 am | Reply

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