They’ve been staples of children’s entertainment for decades but now, Disney is restricting young children from watching three of their classic films. As of now, profiles belonging to children under 7 years old are unable to access Peter Pan, Dumbo, and The Aristocrats. The reason is simple – Disney doesn’t want to subject young minds to “troublesome stereotypes.” All three aforementioned films contain stereotypes that many think are outdated in modern culture.
Disney explains in detail why they are hiding these films from young eyes on their ‘Stories Matter’ page. The three examples include:
- The Aristocrats has a cat that is a racist caricature of East Asian people. His physical traits include slanted eyes and buck-teeth, popular features in past stereotypical portrayals. Combine that with his mock-accent and song lyrics that mock the Chinese language and you have, in Disney’s words, a film that “reinforces the “perpetual foreigner” stereotype”.
- Dumbo has the now-infamous singing crows, led by the aptly-named Jim Crow. Not only do these characters mimic minstrels, but the ‘Jim Crow’ name references laws that enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States in 1877-1965. The film also has ‘The Song of the Roustabouts’ that has “faceless black workers” sing along to lyrics like “When we get our pay, we throw our money all away.”
- Peter Pan has the scene where Peter and co. meet the Indians and seemingly mock their culture by wearing their headdresses and imitating them in a form of cultural appropriation. Disney feels that the tribe inaccurately represents Native American culture, speaking in an “unintelligible language” and even being called “redskins.”
- The Swiss Family Robinson has pirates who are depicted as a “singular and racist representation of Asian and Middle Eastern peoples”. Appearing in yellow face and brown face, these characters speak in indecipherable language, wearing exaggerated and inaccurate clothing to reinforce their barbarism and “otherness.”
Disney’s decision to place age restrictions on these films follows their previous initiative to place a content advisory warning at the beginning of many of their classic titles, acknowledging “their harmful impact.” Disney’s mission is to tell stories that “reflect the rich diversity of the human experience around the globe.”
Regardless, these films still remain on Disney+. All three of the above titles are still accessible via an adult Disney+ account should you wish to watch them.
What do you think of the new Disney+ age restrictions? Justified or unnecessary? Let us know in the comments below.