With no shame whatsoever, I can proudly say that at the age of 18 I am a bigger fan of Disney than I was at age five.
My iPod is filled with the familiar tunes of the movies and my math textbook is wrapped in Winnie the Pooh wrapping paper, but, while many other teenagers and adults share my love of Disney, it seems to be becoming a more and more polarizing matter.
Many cynics look at Disney and pick out all the flaws, then exaggerate them until I'm wondering if we even watched the same movie.
Many viewers who are searching for controversy will cite that in most of the movies - with the exception of Mulan - all the women are portrayed as weak damsels in distress and that Disney promotes poor messages, like having the only concern of the women be to find their prince.
While these cynics are busy picking out those flaws, they miss out on the beauty and positivity that Disney movies spew in every musical second, and I can't help but pity them for it.
In regards to the "poor" portrayal of women, what is wrong with having characters like Aurora and Cinderella, who, although not brave in the same sense as Mulan, have other redeeming qualities?
Aurora is kind and caring, responsible and shy and, of course, naïve. Does that make her an any-less-respectable woman?
Disney has a well-rounded cast of characters with qualities spreading as wide as their audiences.
Yes, Mulan is brave and strong; it makes her unique and special, but not everyone is, and while perhaps one should aspire to be like her, there is nothing wrong with having other characters with a variety of different traits that other girls may relate to.
These less independent women are criticized as needing a man to save them in their stories, and people constantly scrutinize Disney films, claiming that films such as Cinderella hold unrealistic morals like if you wait long enough some-one will come and hand you your dream.
While I would argue that the point is not how she comes about the dream but the very possibility that dreams could come true, I can see where the viewers are coming from.
But this movie was made in 1950, and I don't think its right to let that define the whole company.
These days, princesses like Tiana, from The Princess and the Frog, work hard for their dreams.
Disney has even begun to take on tough subjects. Rapunzel dealt largely with emotional abuse in Tangled, and both Vanelope and Ralph learned in Wreck it Ralph that others' perception of you does not always have to define you.
I like to think of the Disney movies as snapshots of history. In the past women had different priorities, but it is no use complaining about the past.
In The Lion King, Rafiki says "Yes, the past can hurt sometimes. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it," and I think this is the way Disney movies should be taken.
People can see the flaws behind the movies but still appreciate and enjoy the movie as a whole.
The entertainment industry is losing the art of family programming. There are few programs on these days that the entire family can sit down to and have every member genuinely enjoy.
This is a staple of Disney, and when I'm 80 years old I hope that they are still producing movies that I can sit down and enjoy, with characters that I will proudly display on my Christmas wrapping paper and catchy music that I will not be able to get out of my head.
Jackie Duck is a Grade 12 student at Dr. Charles Best Secondary in Coquitlam.
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