I rewatched 11 Disney childhood classics and yikes, they’re dodgy
Peter Pan needs banned
Disney’s new streaming network Disney+ now includes warnings on certain classic films that they “may contain outdated cultural depictions.”
It’s not news to anyone that some of Disney’s old classic movies are not the most politically correct or culturally appropriate. Many of the films have not aged well, with characters portraying racist and exaggerated stereotypes.
It’s a good shout from Disney to acknowledge that many of the films would not be so well received if they were released today, that is if they were allowed to be released at all, they’re that dodgy.
I was pretty shocked to watch my childhood favourites back and realise just how horrendously offensive and outdated many of them are, here are some of the worst.
The racist crows in Dumbo (1941)
The whole of the end scene of Dumbo literally relies on the crows as racist stereotypes.
The lead crow ‘Jim Crow’ was a term used to mock black men, so you don’t have to look far to find where this movie goes INCREDIBLY wrong.
In amongst its clasic bops, Disney has many songs with pretty problematic lyrics. In Dumbo’s ‘Song of the Roustabouts’, faceless dark-skinned characters sing “When other folks have gone to bed / We slave until we’re almost dead.”
Dumbo also gets drunk off his chops but that’s a good time in comparison.
The siamese cats in Lady and the Tramp (1955)
Don’t be fooled by fond memories of two cute pups eating spaghetti, which is actually problematic in itself. Repressed somewhere in your innocent little head you’ll also find the film’s Siamese cats.
Lady and the Tramp’s ‘Siamese Cat Song’ is so blatantly racist that it has apparently been cut out of the film entirely in the remake.
Rewatching this was actually painful and completely cringeworthy. Not only do the cats both look and sound identical, their characters are sneaky and quite frankly annoying.
King Louie in The Jungle Book (1967)
We’re not talking the remake with the epic CGI and relatively unproblematic storyline, well minus the idea of a boy being brought up by wolves in the jungle.
Remember King Louie the orangutan in the original Jungle Book? Yeah you probably didn’t realise when you watched it age five with all your animal teddies lined up in front of the TV, but there is a hell of a lot of criticism about him being a racist caricature.
He and the other monkeys are shown to be foolish and criminal, and they literally sing about wanting to be able to make the white man’s fire.
The chopstick-wielding cat in The Aristocats (1970)
This is up there for the same reason as Lady and the Tramp.
Not only is the Siamese cat character obviously a racist stereotype in its appearance and voice, the one in this film goes one step further and plays a song on the piano using literal chopsticks. NOT OKAY.
The obviously awful ‘red’ Indians in Peter Pan (1953)
You know exactly what I am going to highlight from this film.
Peter Pan pretty much whisks John, Michael and Wendy away to join his little gang of racist lost boys.
The Native American characters in the film are known as ‘red men’ and there’s even a song called “What Made The Red Man Red.”
The kids then excitedly pop on their head-dresses and smear some paint across their faces and say ‘how’ many times. Ideal little history lesson there for kids.
The centaur Fantasia that was so bad Disney literally edited it out (1940)
The character ‘Sunflower the centaur’ was edited out of Fantasia in 1959 and it’s not difficult to see why.
She was basically a slave of the other centaurs and would throw a tantrum when they weren’t properly groomed.
Though it’s not the most popular Disney film with the likes of the princesses, it’s still a pretty shocking example of racial stereotyping in the Disney classics.
Pinocchio has smoking in it which does NOT send a good message (1940)
Pinocchio is traumatising. That’s me saying that as an adult.
He gets taken to some creepy carnival (child trafficking FYI) and turned into a donkey then is somehow inside a whale and honestly it’s all just a bit much. Also, he turns into a real boy when his dad is what like 100, I can’t help but think that happiness isn’t going to last long.
This film is one of a few that has a specific warning about tobacco usage in it, but all in all that’s the least of this film’s problems. The other kids are still on that island who’s going to save them???
There are only a handfull of movies on Disney Plus which have content warnings on them and, let’s be honest, there should be a whole lot more.
Just everything about Aladdin (1992)
Here’s another film that Disney have remade in order to cover up the blatantly problematic original.
Right smack bang in the middle of the opening song, Agrabah (Arab-land) is described to be “barbaric, but hey, it’s home.” Aladdin is a white fantasy with mispronounced Arabic words and has nonsense scribbles as writing. They also have American accents??
I totally thought Jasmine was badass when I was a kid but in reality she just bats her eyelids, gets stuck in a big sand-timer (terrifying) and cries into her tiger’s fur.
The near-bestiality of Beauty and the Beast (1991)
One word, beastiality.
Sure it’s cute of Belle to stay in the castle as a prisoner to save her old pops, but falling in love with a literal beast didn’t have to be part of the deal.
It also gave me unrealistic expectations of my dog’s ballroom dancing abilities.
Okay maybe Cinderella isn’t that bad but it’s super anti feminist (1950)
Why did she not just leave the house??
Being best pals with mice isn’t a good sign, nor is being a complete pushover and letting your step mum and step sisters boss you around. The moral message that you just have to accept literal abuse is not the one.
Honestly the moment she produced that second glass slipper (also not a slipper, a shoe) I rejoiced that this girl was finally doing something for herself.
Let’s not lie, Cinderella was a wet wipe.
The fact that The Little Mermaid is a CHILD (1989)
No wonder King Triton was raging, his 16-year-old daughter literally wanted to run off to be with a man she’d seen once?
Don’t get me started on that creepy scene after she rescues him and they’re on the beach, she’s lying on him singing while he’s unconscious?? There’s a little thing called CONSENT Ariel.
Ursula has what looks like a perfectly legal contract made up, Ariel got what she deserved. Crashing the wedding was nothing but rude and uncalled for.
All hail Sebastien, he’s the true hero of that film and the only one who speaks any sense.
Honestly I’m glad I got over my dreams of being a Disney Princess, cause that dodgy world is not one I want to live in.