Looking At Arabs Through The Eyes Of Disney

1100 words - 5 pages

Many Disney movies can be analyzed to show racism and stereotypes of different minorities. One good example of this would be Aladdin and the images that it conveys about Arabs. The story of Aladdin is a twisted tale of his love for the princess and the manipulation by an evil man who seeks a treasure that can only be retrieved by Aladdin. Throughout this story Disney is able to convey a negative stereotype about Arabs by displaying their religion, sexuality, and behavior in a negative manner.

The first stereotype that is set by Disney is the location of where most Arabs live. In the first scene of the movie a man is riding a camel in a hot, sunny dessert. While this is going on the song ...view middle of the document...

All these traits that are portrayed by a pesky sales man are negative and reflect poorly on the Arab race as a whole.
The next character to analyze would be Aladdin. In the early parts of the movies he is displayed as a thief. Displaying Aladdin as a thief gives viewers the sense that Arabs are sneaky and conniving (reinforcing similar points as the salesman character). But Disney gives a glimpse of Aladdin being different when he shows an act of humility by sharing his bread with the small hungry children he steals the loaf of bread. Disney used this act along with other things to ‘westernize’ him. In comparison Aladdin has lighter skin, a lighter accent, and a ‘western’ attitude when compared to the majority of other Arabs displayed in the movie. Aladdin also has a pet monkey. Abu, the monkey, is used as a way to show how Arabs are exotic. They were able to do this because in the western world a common pet would be something simple like a cat or dog and are easily intrigued by the idea of an exotic pet such as Abu or Rajah, Jasmine’s tiger.

Jasmine is also a very westernized character in the movie. Aside from her lighter skin and her lighter accent Jasmine has a very westernized thought process. This thought process is seen with her rebellion against the laws of marriage. She is fighting to gain her rights as a woman and to marry for love not because she has a deadline. Jasmine’s view of rights can be compared to democratic thought. Jasmine also mentions how she does not know what life is like outside of the palace and how she had never done anything alone. The father also states how he feels he needs to protect her. This scene helps to define parts of the female stereotype of Arabs. This shows women as being lesser and as being reliant on males in the society because they are not capable of doing things on their own and protecting themselves. This also helps stress the hierarchy stereotype of men over women in an Arab society.

Women in this movie are also overly sexualized. The...

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