Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Messages in Sleeping Beauty

Most children’s film producers intend to teach lessons to their audiences by emphasizing an overall message, or set of messages throughout their films. Moreover, some of these messages are sometimes misguided; therefore, they are disregarded by the children that the film is trying to target. Sleeping Beauty is a Disney Princess film that came out in 1959, and is still being watched by children across the globe 55 years later. Even though a lot of children enjoyed watching Sleeping Beauty, most of them did not comprehend most of the messages that were conveyed throughout the film.
In Sleeping Beauty’s opening scene, Princess Aurora is born. The whole kingdom has come to the palace to see her, including three fairies. The fairies give the newborn three gifts; the first gift was beauty. Once the fairy gives her the gift of beauty, an image of a beautiful blonde woman appears, showing what Aurora will look like when she grows up after having received this gift. This gift may not mean anything to children when they watch this scene, but what this gift is really saying is that beauty is a trait that girls should want to have because it will “improve” them. Furthermore, by showing her as a blonde in the future, it could make girls think that being blonde makes you more beautiful than being a brunette or a redhead. This scene could shape children’s interpretations of beauty erroneously.
Another scene that conveys a negative and misleading message is the scene in which the fairies try to complete tasks without using magic. The fairies had to bake a cake, clean the house, and make a dress without the use of their wands. After giving it a try, the three of them fail and decide to give up and use magic. This is a misleading  message with a negative impact on children because it not only teaches them that when you can’t do something you should just give up, but also that “magically” things will be done for you. Children should be encouraged to keep trying once they have failed, not to give up, especially because they are beginning to learn how to do things on their own.
Sleeping Beauty’s happy ending does not only depict logos and pathos, but is also emphasizes the portrayal of the typical clichĂ©, “Prince saves the Princess.” The effective use of logos in this scene is evident because the audience expects to see the Prince  and Princess live happily ever after, since it is the logical outcome of a fairytale. Likewise, by showing that the Prince and Princess will live happily ever after, the depiction of pathos is apparent because the audience feels happy and joyful. “You may sometimes want to use emotions to connect with readers to assure them that you understand their experiences.” (Lunsford, 51) Utilizing emotions in childrens films is essential because the goal should be to make them feel happy in the end. Consequently, this could teach girls a negative message. They could be led to believe that they need to look for an attractive guy who will not only solve all of their problems for them, but will also make them live happily ever after. This can have a negative effect on young girls, because if they believe that this message is true, they won’t try to achieve things for themselves to become independent women; they will try to find a man instead. 

Sleeping Beauty has been my favorite Disney Princess film since I was eight. Naturally, I based my Princess favoritism on the color of their dress, but now that I watched this film again, I realized that children’s films have various messages that I disregarded as a child. Even though Aurora is still my favorite Princess because her dress is pink, I do not like most of the messages that are conveyed throughout the film. I give Sleeping Beauty three slurpies.

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