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20 Creepy And Inappropriate Messages In Disney Films

20 Creepy And Inappropriate Messages In Disney Films

Disney has made a name for itself as a family-focussed production company. Even the theme parks are production-based, labeling their employees as cast members. Not only has Disney rocked the animated and live-action feature film industry, it has capitalized on network television and the theme park industries.

With all of the attention Disney has amassed since its humble beginnings in 1923, some skeptics see it as a vast machine, designed to brainwash the minds of young children with political, social, sexual, and even racist propaganda. Additionally, there are endless conspiracy theories about a secret life of founder Walt Disney himself, and some of them even support the skeptics’ ideas that Disney is taking over pretty much everything. Is it all just appealing to the times, or are there darker secrets behind the empire that is Disney?

While many take Disney at face value, and even the most conservative parents in the world allow their children to watch their films, there are some very clear messages being delivered to our children, and many of them are either incredibly creepy, or just flat out inappropriate. Here are the top 20 creepy and inappropriate-for-children messages that are clearly seen in Disney films.

20. “Twitterpated”

Everyone knows Bambi as Disney’s coming-of-age masterpiece in which a deer is born into forest royalty, and grows to learn what it takes to be a deer: walking, talking, and prancing. However, when spring comes along after Bambi’s birth, so begins his adolescence, and with adolescence comes being Twitterpated. This is the euphemism Disney used to basically say “Bambi is a hormonal teen discovering what hormonal teens discover.” The sexual charge is seen in a not-so-subtle visual metaphor when Flower is kissed, turns bright red (as blood rushes through him), and goes completely stiff (pun intended).

19. The Devil’s Dog

Throughout the vast library of Disney films, many fans and critics see a very common hand gesture, the devil’s dog. This hand gesture signifies the horns of the devil and is associated with Satan worship. When it appears in Disney movies, it doesn’t only come from the villains. As a matter of fact, Cinderella, her fairy godmother, Snow White, Aurora, and Jasmine, to name a few all make this gesture in the movies.

So, maybe doing it with one or two characters could be an accident, but it is such a common symbol in the films, it’s actually very easy to overlook. It’s become so commonplace, that it seems like that’s how cartoons simply hold their hands. Are they into hard rock? Or are they just super into Satan right now?

18. Let it Out of the Closet

Many claim that the hit song, “Let it Go” is actually a call for the LGBT community to come out of the closet. Elsa has had to keep her secret all through her childhood, and now that she’s an adult, she knows exactly who she is, and knows it would be a life of misery to hold in her true self. So, she builds an entire world around herself as she sings the song that basically tells the world she’s coming out of hiding, and she’s not afraid to be herself. Many LGBT rights advocates have adopted this song as their anthem, as Elsa’s story hits very close to home.

17. “Good Teenagers Take Off Your Clothes”

Everyone has heard the claim that Aladdin says “Good teenagers, take off your clothes” in the balcony scene where he is about to take Jasmine on a magic carpet ride. While it was argued back and forth for many years, Disney muted the line in its re-release of Aladdin. This begs the question, if Aladdin really didn’t say those things (as Disney claims), why would they remove it in the re-release? Are they showing that they’re guilty? Or are they just removing it because even if it sounds like Aladdin is saying that, it could have a negative effect on audiences?

16. Skinning Scar

In Disney’s The Lion King, Zazu tells Mufasa that Scar would make a great throw rug. As this is only banter between the king and his advisor, it probably doesn’t really feel negative or creepy to the audience. After all, Zazu finishes up the banter with a little joke: “Whenever he gets dirty, you can take him out and beat him,” which gets a chuckle from Mufasa. This all seems pretty benign, when you think about it, until you watch Disney’s Hercules a few years later. Here, you can see Hercules himself, wearing a pelt made out of Scar’s head and hide. Really, Disney?

15. The Human Race is Killing The Earth

Political agendas are often seen in movies. It’s actually not that uncommon to see them pop up everywhere, including children’s movies. Walt Disney was an incredibly political mastermind. He did several US military videos, and even took part in some propaganda to help aid in the war effort during World War II. So why is everyone so surprised that these political agendas come out in other ways as well. In Bambi, the antagonist is man. Not a man, but Man. Man is in the forest. Man shoots Bambi’s nameless mother. Man’s camp starts a forest fire. This is a clear exposé on how humanity is killing nature.

14. If You Want a Man, Be What He Wants

Nothing gets critics more up in arms than Disney princesses, and no Disney princess is more blatantly ridiculous than Ariel. She’s half-fish, and she falls in love with a full-human. So, instead of making Prince Eric into a merman, she demands legs. The worst part about it is that she will do anything for these legs, including give up half of her identity. Who needs to talk when you can have a man? Who needs family, when you can go get your man? Who needs friends when you can have a man? This is a very clear message that the movie is sending, but the craziest thing about this is that Ariel is 16 years old. Yikes!

13. Don’t Do Drugs, MmmKay?

Everyone over the age of 16 knows that Alice in Wonderland is clearly about a young girl who takes some pretty wild hallucinogens. It all seems pretty normal-ish in the beginning, but as soon as Alice slips down the rabbit hole, shit hits the fan. Time is warped, nothing is real, but everything seems as real as Alice sees it. Wonderland is a place that has no sense. It’s as though Alice is in the upside down, and she’s always lost. If that isn’t a full-length feature drug PSA, I don’t know what is. Don’t take drugs kids, everyone you meet will be terrifying and no one is really your friend.

12. Beauty is the Best

One common theme throughout the majority of Disney films is the idea that beauty rules over all. We’ll get to the backlash of being beautiful later, but ultimately, Disney portrays its princesses as truly beautiful. Really, every single Disney princes is super slim and stunning. The message being sent to young girls is that being pretty means you have a happy ending. The message being sent to young boys is the pretty ones are the only ones worth saving. Disney has gotten a lot of flack over this theme, and only recently started changing things around. Though princesses are still beautiful, and well above average, and anatomically impossible–even in the live-action films, which is incredibly off-putting.

11. Wanna Be Rich?

It’s subtle, but it’s there. In Aladdin, we see an Arabian boy in poverty magically make his way into the heart of the princess. How does he do it? He just gives off the illusion that he’s rich, of course. Sure, Disney, let’s tell children to stop being poor. It’s a simple fix, of course. All you have to do is find a magical genie, polish his lamp, and wish for gold, and boys, if you wanna get the girl, all you have to do is show up at her house, take her for a ride in your car, and make sure you look good with your shirt off.

10. Heil Pongo?

In this image from 101 Dalmations, you can clearly see a Swastika on Perdy’s back. Come on! It’s not even hidden. That is definitely not a natural formation of markings that one would find on a spotted dog. We see Lucky has a horseshoe on his back, not necessarily the most natural form. Now, does this mean that there were some Nazi loyalists in the cartoon industry in 1961? Could be. Or could it be a way animators expressed distaste for Walt’s business practices in general. Who knows. Ultimately, the symbol of the Nazi party is seen all over Disney films, to a very creeptastic level.

9. The Word “SEX” is Everywhere

Older Disney audiences have a favorite game, looking for the S-E-X in all of the Disney films. It really all began with The Lion King in the scene where Simba plops down on a rock and kicks up dust. In the dust, the letters S-E-X are seen for a split second. That was only the beginning. The word sex can be seen in other scenes in The Lion King as well as in Rapunzel’s hair on the cover of Tangled. It’s in the sand in Aladdin. It can be seen in the colours of the wind in Pocahontas. It’s pretty much everywhere. But why? Some say the evidence is circumstantial. You can find letters in pretty much any image, and when there are swirls (which Disney animators love to do), S’s and X’s can be prominent. Others say it’s Disney’s way of getting the kiddos thinking about sex at a young age.

8. Sell Your Soul Without Consequence

The Little Mermaid gets a lot of heat for a lot of reasons, and most of them hold water. One of the worst and most inappropriate lessons of the movie is that you can always get what you want, and not matter what your means, the end will be happy for you. The lack of consequences when Ariel basically sells her soul to Ursula is unnerving, because by the end of the movie she gets the prince, gets her legs, and gets her happily ever after. Why does King Triton allow his daughter to leave him forever after she’s clearly made such poor decisions in the past? Well, there are no consequences in Little Mermaid Land, so why the hell not, I guess.

7. Stockholm Syndrome = Love

People whispered here and there about the lessons learned from Beauty and the Beast. However, it wasn’t until the live-action film came out in 2017, conservative groups were up in arms over a character that was openly gay. This made liberal groups go off the deep end. Bestiality aside, the entire theme of the movie surrounding Stockholm Syndrome is perfectly fine as long as the weird, pretty girl falls in love with her reclusive, angry captor. The beast even attacks Belle when she enters the west wing. This sends a message to young girls that you can change abusive captors with love. Not really a good message Disney.

6. Posters of Naked Ladies

In two frames of The Rescuers, there is a very clear poster of a naked lady. While most children really don’t see this, and often are looking at the characters on the screen, the poster is very clear in freeze frame, and her baby feeders are out for all the world to see. The weirdest part of this misplaced and inappropriate background image is the fact that it’s not a cartoon naked lady. It looks like an actual picture of a topless showgirl, arms spread, breasts bear. It’s an image that doesn’t fit in the movie, and shouldn’t be there in the first place. Why have such a subliminal message in a children’s movie?

5. A Really Happy Bishop

Alright, we’re back to The Little Mermaid. A lot of fans know about the bishop officiating the marriage is happy to do so…VERY happy. The animator claims the bishop isn’t, er standing at attention, and insist that the hump bump is actually his knees. Unfortunately, because of the artistic license animators take with anatomy, and the stout stature of the bishop, it is kind of hard to tell. However, there is the question: why would you make the decision to draw in the bishop’s knees for this scene? It’s not like animation was so incredibly detailed that something like that should have been important. This is why most people don’t buy the animator’s story.

4. Always the Victim, Always the Bride

A huge critique of Disney’s original princesses is the fact that none of them have real jobs, goals (that don’t revolve around finding a husband to take her away from her current situation). All of them seem to have nothing better to do other than get married. Even Snow White takes care of the seven dwarves’ cottage as a form of practice for how to be a housewife. Alright, there’s nothing wrong with being a housewife. It’s actually pretty hard work, and definitely a full-time job. However, the fact that there isn’t any variation in what a Disney princess can actually do, is bothersome to critics.

3. Political Agenda

Okay, we’ve talked a little bit about how Disney films usually have some form of political agenda. Zootopia takes that to an all new level. In the film, a drug is affecting animals and turns them into primal beasts. The catch is it’s only affecting predators (one group of animals that the other animals are already weary of). The film takes it a step further by showing that bunnies can’t be police officers (a clear attack on both gender and racial inequality). Ultimately, Zootopia is one of Disney’s most politically heated films under the guise of a bunny who just wants to make her dreams come true.

2. Being Pretty Is Pretty Hard

A very clear underlying theme across nearly every Disney movie with a princess is that it’s hard to be pretty. Not only are princess’s expected to be pretty (even if they aren’t princesses yet), but people hate them for being pretty. This theme is most apparent in Cinderella and Snow White. Both Cinderella and Snow White are attacked and run from their homes just because they are prettier than their stepmothers. Snow White’s stepmom even goes so far as to poison her. It’s a rough life, being a princess. Luckily, they’re so pretty that princes come along and save both of them.

1. Everyone is White Until…

Probably the most racist moment in a mainstream Disney film (we’re not including Song of the South and many of the shorts, because they aren’t as well known) is the moment in Peter Pan where a lovely tune explains why Native Americans are “Red.” In the catchy tune, “What Makes the Red Man Red,” we learn that “Injuns” started off as white people. Then, they were kissed by girls, and turned bright red, and the redness never went away. That’s one hell of an origin myth, and when it’s delivered by a chorus of natives, why wouldn’t a six-year-old child believe it?


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