Beauty and the Beast: Is the Movie Affecting Children?

Beauty and the Beast: Is the movie affecting how children think? As a child, watching movies are Just the fun thing to do, Disney movies in particular. From Alice in Wonderland to Bambini, Cinderella to Toy Story, and Beauty and the Beast, we all remember these movies don’t we? Parents never know when it comes to deciding what films they should allow their children to see. They know that some viewing experiences are entertaining while others could be harmful. They begin putting movies on the television for us to watch long before we can even talk.

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We have grown p from a young age completely aware of what a movie is and wanting to be like a certain character from each one. Beauty and the Beast as well as a few other movies have the pretty Disney princesses with the huge ball gowns and of course, Prince charming. I remember always wanting to be Just like Belle. So what is this doing to the young ones, making these young girls think they can grow up and become a Princess? Sure playing dress up and pretending is okay and fun but do they know the reality of it?

On an even bigger note, Just about every Disney movie is a cartoon, which is not a bad thing but children need to understand the truth of that. In Beauty and the Beast there are talking and moving candlesticks, clocks, silverware, and teapots. We are all aware of that fact that in ‘real life’ these objects are not alive but in the movie they are. Could it be possible that little ones at the age of one to three believe they are alive in real life too? My niece that is two has said some pretty crazy things and I am pretty sure if she could sit still for long enough to watch the movie she would think her clock in real life would talk too.

Kronor Walsh, a psychologist, writes Contemporary society’s increasing reliance on the use of television and videos to occupy children warrants continued investigation of how exposure to media may affect children” (Walsh). Although, do not get me wrong. I believe Disney movies as well as other cartoons are necessary for children. We do not want them watching CSS shows at the age of five. I Just hope children understand that these talking clocks are only real in the movies and not in real life.

Walsh also says “Given that media portrayals like those in the animated movies of Walt Disney often reinforce societal territories related to gender, ethnicity, and culture, parent’s may consider a more thoughtful approach to the use of television and videos” (Child). Not only in Beauty and the Beast, but in other movies race can affect how a child may think of someone. If they only see Caucasians in a movie they may think that they are only allowed to be friends with a Caucasian person. Disney producers recently came out with Princess Titian, in The Princess and the Frog. Titian is Disney’s first African American Princess.

Brooked Barnes from the New York Times writes “People think that kids don’t catch butte messages about race and gender in movies, but it’s quite the opposite” (Barnes). I believe that Disney was picking up on the fact that their movies were having some kind of impact on children and they needed to change that to keep their business up and growing. With that being said, they introduced a princess in a different race. “According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NANCY), children between 2 and 5 years of age start to become aware of race, ethnicity, gender Ana Allegrettos.

I nee can accurately Identity “Black” Ana White” when labeling pictures, dolls and people. Children develop their own racial identity during preschool and elementary school years” (Brunette). As I had mentioned earlier, every girl dreams of being a princess. So many of the Disney movies revolve around a princess and I think it programs it in our mind that that is what we want to be. It seems easy to get there too because most of them start out poor, lonely, and in some kind of mess. Then everything magically works out for them without them even trying.

This shows young girls that they can be anything they want without even trying. The princesses’ bodies are absolutely flawless: perfect shape and gorgeous. This can cause a problem to some girls who think they can look Just like them. The truth is, they cannot become Barbie and have the perfect body. Many of the movies and characters created by Disney are far more of an influence on children than we realize. Many parent’s blame video games and other shows but they forget that Disney is the first thing they started showing to their children. In Beauty and the Beast, the beast turns into a human at one point.

This is showing to young children hat an ‘animal’ can turn into a person which is not accurate. It also portrays that a beast is not good and doesn’t deserve a girl when he really is not a beast. This image of being the right person but not being acceptable to another person is not what needs to come across to young adults. Watching these movies with different objects usually will bring up questions from the child too. Then the parent has to decide if they want to answer them in the truthful way or in the way that the child wants to hear. It is similar to Santa Claus, giving away the truth or keeping the hidden secret lull of fun?

Questions arise such as how to become a princess or why this, why that? Part of being a kid is to imagine and pretend as much as you want but some critics and parent’s are starting to wonder when ends can meet from pretending to reality. I can see to both sides, from being an innocent child and not knowing the reality of people and dreams to being a child and finding out the truth and being heartbroken that you cannot grow up to be a princess like Belle. I think that you only live once, let the child think what he/she wants to as long as it does not get in the way of learning.

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