Disney movies are notorious for their catchy, memorable songs that children’s minds seem to love to grab on to. That’s great for some – after all, who doesn’t love singing along to Disney classics. When listening to some of the songs of the most popular Disney movies, you might actually be surprised at how inappropriate the lyrics are. Here is a list of some Disney songs that you definitely don’t want our youth to listen to:
- “When I see an elephant fly” – Dumbo
The movie Dumbo actually contains quite a significant amount of racism. The song “When I see an elephant fly” relies heavily on roots of southern racism in America. The song is sung by black crow birds – the lead crow’s name is actually Jim Crow, referring to the racist Jim Crow laws. Use of common southern black vernacular and slang is distributed throughout the song. Actually that whole song is just built off of stereotypical racist ideals.
- “A girl worth fighting for” – Mulan
This song presents itself in Mulan as a somewhat comedic romantic war song. “A girl worth fighting for” gets quite less romantic once you hear the lyrics describing what kind of girl is worth the soldiers to fight for: “I want her paler than the moon” , “My girl will marvel at my strength”, “It all depends on what she cooks like” , “How about a girl who’s got a brain, Who always speaks her mind? Nah!”. Sounds a just a tad bit patronizing, right?
- “Under the sea” – The Little Mermaid
This song contains examples of racism. The scene in which this song plays depicts a “Duke of Soul” and “Blackfish” marine characters. While they were made to resemble popular black musicians, both were obviously and painfully stereotypical in their way of hinting at black culture.
- “Mother knows best” – Tangled
If you’ve ever seen the movie Tangled, than it is obvious to you that Rapunzel and her “mother” did not have a healthy relationship (um hello she kept Rapunzel locked up in a tower for her whole life). This is why the song “Mother knows best” is not good for kids watching to hear. It contains lyrics like: “Don’t forget it, You’ll regret it, Mother knows best”, “Gettin’ kinda chubby, I’m just saying ’cause I love you”, “On your own you won’t survive” , “Mother’s right here, Mother will protect you, Darling, here’s what I suggest”. These words are harmful for kids who may have been abused by their mother to hear. They actually exemplify some of the emotional abuse tactics mothers use.
- “I’ll make a man out of you” – Mulan
This is the second song on the list that is from Mulan. This song relates directly to hyper-masculinity. It’s essentially all about toughening up the soldiers in the most simplest way known – make them as least like a woman as possible. Some lyrics are: “Did they send me daughters when I asked for sons? You’re the saddest bunch I ever met”. Mulan undoubtedly kicks ass and ends up saving China, but this song is just really sad. It’s a perfect example of blatant hyper-masculinity. It depicts girls as weak and undesirable in harsh times and boys as strong and better suited for war time. Its message is loud and clear – if you want to be a strong, ideal soldier then you simply have to not be a girl.
These are only 5 Disney songs I could come up with that contain shocking messages. I’m sure I could make another article revealing even more Disney songs that are just straight up wrong. So, maybe next time when you’re babysitting, make sure to skip past these songs or better yet, explain their message and the real meanings found within them. These are the songs our youth grew up listening to and the movies our parents trusted. Learning that some of Disney’s songs and movies aren’t so great is eye opening. We are constantly being slapped in the face with horrible things by the media. These songs are just another example of this.