They’ve been staples of children’s entertainment for decades, but now Disney is preventing young children from watching three of their classic movies. For now, profiles belonging to children under 7 years old cannot access Peter Pan, Dumbo, and The aristocrats. The reason is simple: Disney does not want to subject young minds to “embarrassing stereotypes”. All three of the aforementioned films contain stereotypes that many think are outdated in modern culture.
Disney explains in detail why they hide these films from young eyes on their “Stories Matter” page. The three examples include:
- The aristocrats has a cat which is a racist caricature of the peoples of East Asia. His physical features include slanted eyes and deer teeth, features popular in stereotypical representations of the past. Combine that with its fake accent and song lyrics that make fun of the Chinese language and you have, in the words of Disney, a film that “reinforces the stereotype of ‘the perpetual stranger’.”
- Dumbo has the now infamous Songcrows, led by the aptly named Jim Crow. Not only do these figures imitate minstrels, but the name “Jim Crow” refers to the laws that imposed racial segregation in the southern United States in 1877-1965. The movie also has âThe Song of the Roustaboutsâ which has âFaceless Black Workersâ singing lyrics like âWhen we get our paycheck we throw away all our money. “
- Peter Pan has the scene where Peter and co. meeting the Indians and apparently mocking their culture by wearing their headdresses and imitating them in a form of cultural appropriation. Disney believes the tribe inaccurately represents Native American culture, speaking in an “unintelligible language” and even calling themselves “redskins.”
- The Swiss Robinson family has pirates who are described as a “singular and racist representation of the peoples of Asia and the Middle East”. Appearing with yellow faces and brown faces, these characters speak in indecipherable language, wearing exaggerated and inaccurate clothing to reinforce their barbarity and their “otherness”.
Disney’s decision to place age restrictions on these films follows their previous initiative to place a content warning at the start of many of their classic titles, acknowledging “their harmful impact.” Disney’s mission is to tell stories that âreflect the rich diversity of human experience around the worldâ.
Either way, those movies still stay on Disney +. The three titles above are still accessible through an adult Disney + account if you want to watch them.
What do you think of the new Disney + age restrictions? Justified or unnecessary? Let us know in the comments below.