“I’m mad at Disney, Disney… they tricked me, tricked me” – yup, Salem llese was right. Disney, the place where our fantasies are fulfilled and where we spent most of our childhood. It’s really unavoidable: once you walk into a Disney fantasy – even if you want to come out, ya can’t. I’m a full-grown adult and still can’t get enough of Disney. I’m not sure how many of you know this, but there’s a darker side to Disney. It’s all colourful, fun and vibrant on the outside, but many Disney movies and scenes that have out hearts melting were actually a major shift from the truth, which was far more disgusting, dark and sickening.
If you’re a Disney die-hard fan, this might take a toll on you. So, here is a humble reminder to read at your own risk.
The premiere of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was in 1938 and since then many more versions were made with twists of their own but of course, it all came down to the same storyline. Snow White gets poisoned and she dies and the only way to wake her up was with the “prince’s true love’s kiss”. When I was a child, this was the most romantic thing I had heard and seen, but now – pfft, absolute bullshit.
Now, before you get mad and throw sh*t at me, there are a few reasons, or should I say justifications, as to why this particular scene is rather troublesome than romantic. For one, since Snow White was actually considered “dead” in the movie, kissing her unconscious self can be considered as non-consensual and an act of assault. Mind you, this scene is watched by every little kid and for them, to think that that’s okay, doesn’t sound good does it?
Another side of Snow White nobody knew about is the true story before it got altered countless times so the general public could view it. The Queen actually tried to kill Snow White three times and of course, the trick that worked was the poison apple. When the seven dwarfs came back home only to think she was dead, they placed her body inside a coffin. Prince Florian, seeing how beautiful Snow White looked dead, I repeat, the prince actually liked dead girls and coffins, ordered for the coffin to be carried along with him. But during the process of transferring the coffin that Snow White was in, it fell and shattered and Snow White legit coughed out the apple that she ate. So, it was not a kiss people – she just needed a Heimlich maneuver. No kiss was ever needed.
The first film of Sleeping Beauty came out in 1959, and had a similar storyline to Snow White’s. But, this one has a twist of its own, and a very dark one. The original story goes something like this: on Briar-Rose’s first birthday party held by the king and queen, an uninvited woman, who was the 13th wise woman, placed a curse on her. A curse that would effect her on her 16th birthday and that would eventually put her in a coma for a 100 years.
Of course, the prince saves Sleeping Beauty by giving her a kiss. The truth however is a much darker Italian fairytale written by Giambattista Basile named “Sun, Moon and Talia”. It is based on a 14th century folk tale where the king rapes and impregnates the sleeping Princess, then marries her once she wakes up.
My, oh my – the complete 360 degree alteration Disney made to this tale, which fooled literally everybody into thinking Sleeping Beauty was indeed a romance fiction.
DUMBO THE ELEPHANT
I love Dumbo, because he is a cute and sensible elephant. Also who doesn’t love animals right? But the storyline, characters and songs in this Disney film portray anti-black stereotypes. Allow me to explain.
This 1940 film revolves around an elephant named Dumbo, who encounters a pack of friendly crows. However, as of recent times, a lot of people have voiced out how the crows were playing racist black Americans due to their offensive lines. The lead crow was also named Jim Crow, referring to the racist Southern laws that were strictly followed till the mid-1960s and to make it worse, the voice-over actor for Jim Crow was a white actor – Cliff Edwards.
The film also includes a song called “Song of the Roustabouts” that actually shows faceless black workers singing offensive lyrics about slavery. Some of it along the lines of “We’re slaves until we’re almost dead, pull that rope you hairy ape”. And to think that kids sing along to songs like this. What have you done Disney?
Everybody knows Pinocchio and this film was a major part of our childhoods. I remember how my mum used to threaten me that if I ever lied I’d become like Pinocchio with a long a** nose. Dumb 8 year old me believed that. The 1940s Pinocchio film revolves around a young boy who who was actually a puppet carved by a carpenter named Gepetto. The carpenter wished the puppet would become a real human and soon enough was granted the wish. The puppet becomes a human boy, named Pinocchio. Pinocchio was quite the naughty fellow and couldn’t remain truthful and spent most of his time telling lies. And those little white lies resulted in his nose growing out for every lie he told.
That was what Disney showed us – but the darker side of the story has disturbing elements, like child trafficking. Prepare yourself cause this one breaks my heart every time I look into it. The morning after Pinocchio was made, two strangers convinced him to skip school, but later sold him off to a puppet master who forced Pinocchio to perform, and if he refused, the boy would have himself chopped up and thrown into the firewood. Somehow, Pinocchio escapes, but then immediately gets hauled off to Pleasure Island where misbehaving boys drink, smoke and wreak havoc.
An even sadder version of the story is how Pinocchio kills Jiminy Cricket, gets his feet burned off and is found hanging on a tree, left to die. After learning all this, I can never watch Pinocchio the same way again.
Disney has its way of taking dark and twisted fairy tales and shifting it into stomach-churningly sweet, happy-ever-afters that do not exist.
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