When I was a little girl, I remember my mother buying every Disney VHS she could get her hands on. I saw every Disney Princess in action and sometimes for Halloween, I was a princess myself. Funnily enough, my favorite movie ended up being Lion King but I didn’t make this decision until my early teens. I think this is due to the fact that those Disney “Happily Ever After” movies instilled in me that a boy or man would be the be all end all of my story, that I needed a man in order to be successful. At a time where my classmates and I were just discovering raging hormones, I found myself being bullied, outcast, and anything but a Disney Princess. Of course, I got over that over that as time went by and now at twenty years old, I still think back on those fairy tales fondly however, my opinion of Disney itself has changed quite a bit.
Although I retained my love for the old stories and television shows I grew up with, for the past couple of years now, I’ve had mixed emotions about the entire Disney franchise. The movies they’ve been producing have done excellent in my eyes when it comes to having a wide diversity of characters: with movies like Brave, where a Prince and a true love story were deemed unnecessary as they often are and instead they focused on the important of love between family;The Princess in the Frog, that included a Princess of color that was hardworking, not born to royalty and if anything wasn’t looking for a Prince in the first place; and Frozen, where an act of true love didn’t equate to meaning true loves kiss, instead it meant being selfless for the ones you love, including your sisters. However, the cable channel for Disney itself has had some serious down falls from when I was a part of the audience to today’s television shows.
One example of this is in the show, Shake It Up! that included a joke about anorexia. The joke was made by a model who said something along the lines of, “Oh I could just eat you up… That is if I actually ate.” That is unacceptable for my little sisters to be learning. My problem is that this show is already geared towards young girls and making light about things as serious as not eating is a problem for me because people like my two younger sisters watch these shows and they are going to grow up in a world where beauty is already glorified, and your worth is more often based on ones looks rather than intelligence. These kind of views should not be further cemented in television shows our sisters and daughters are watching.
I remember fondly an episode of That’s So Raven that dealt with body issues and self image in a much more positive way and that would be something I’d want my little sisters to learn. This entire episode dealt with the main character Raven creating a dress that was accepted by a top women’s or girls’ magazine. In the beginning, she thought she was going to be the one who was going to model her creation on the runway only to be shot down due to her weight. Instead they replaced her with a model three times smaller than herself. However, she took it like a champ, claiming that the shape the director wanted her models to have is not the only shape out there; that there is in fact multiple shapes and sizes that women come in and instead of ignoring that, these differences should be celebrated.
The reason why these horrific moments on television outweigh the positives Disney has made on the cinematic level is because we all run busy lives. More often than not, my sisters are seated on our couch watching cable television every day after school. It’s rare that my sisters ever go to the movies and most of the time, see these films for the very first time when we buy them on DVD. These issues have put me off of Disney so much so that I barely registered the change in commercials that was mentioned by Andrea.
During Andrea Gibson’s talk in the lecture, I found myself pleasantly surprised by everything the Disney company has been doing. Due to the issues above, the fact that they had stopped playing McDonald’s commercials on their channel had completely slipped by my attention. My little sister, at seven years old, adores McDonald’s McNuggets and I always feel afraid for her health with how often she eats them but I’m glad Disney is making a move to make the world’s youth healthier considering McDonald’s is now a global company. I’ll be honest here, some of the food they show on their healthy living food segments look delicious, I just never have the time to actually watch the full how to video, or look up the recipes, let alone make them.
What surprised me the most was her statistics on Disney’s eco-friendly ventures, beyond friends for change. This really opened my eyes to what Disney really is and I can completely understand why Disney is one of Forbes most admired companies. It makes me wonder how much further they can spread their influence to improve upon issues like global warming, sustainable living, energy resources, healthy eating and much more.
The biggest things I got from this lecture though affected me on a personal level. I never thought about working for Disney because of their family friendly persona. I on the other hand, do not normally fit the “look” for a family friendly company. If anything I am quite the opposite. However, from my recent interest in the use of sustainable energy, recycling, and other ways to make not only our campus, but the city and the state a more eco-friendly place, I was able to present my ideas during the lecture and she was beyond open to them. I think at the smallest level, Disney can help kick start us into making Woodbury University a more sustainable university campus. To hear her validate and encourage my ideas and even jokingly say I should come work for Disney was huge for me. Just knowing I can make an impression on someone like her was amazing.
After her lecture, I decided to reach out to her in hopes of making my goals happen and to my excitement, she was really willing to help me out. I hope to at the very least, have recycling bins put on our campus and maybe in the end, have solar panels installed on Miller hall to power all of the computers we have running in the lab. This way, we will be simultaneously using and gaining electricity at peak times: Day time when classes are in use and the sun is high in the sky. One of my goals is to get Woodbury ranked as a sustainable campus, maybe even at the top of those lists. AASHE is one organization I hope the University will get noticed by. Their website has resources and a rating system to rank our college amongst others in the nation and at this current moment, we aren’t even on the list. Some of what it means to be a sustainable college could be about going green or simple have sustainable majors. I think that we as a unified campus could make it all happen. It turns out, all of this actually might turn out to be a possibility. Especially with a committee already existing on campus, all that needs to be is action and we can get there.
Having these types of interactions has solidified the thought that I might just make it after college. That I can have a place in a strong company.
This class in general has given me so many resources so that I can further my education and networking. I’ve learned about many advances in technology that I would very much so like to dip my hands in. I’ve also learned about technological advances that if I’m being honest, scare me quite a bit, Google Glass I’m talking to you. However, the most important thing about this class is that is has caused me to push my limits and expand my horizons. Newton, you were one of the forces that helped me make the decision to become a double major. It’s been the best decision I’ve made thus far because I’ve reassured my parents that I won’t be an unemployed college graduate and I’m happy because of how much learning I get to do, of course, on top of meeting the amazing people that I have and being able to experience the things that I do. I only look forward to more things like GDC and being able to test out new technologies, maybe not Google Glass but wherever my intellect takes me.