Cultural representations in Walt Disney films: Implications for social work education
critical thinking, cultural competency, culturally sensitive, culture, indigenous, Social work
Journal of Social Work
Summary: This article investigates images of race, sex, ethnicity, and consumerism in contemporary Walt Disney productions. The purpose is to discuss the reinforcement of critical thinking skills in social work students through mutual examination of multicultural images presented in Disney movies. The films selected for close critical examination – The Lion King, Pocahontas, The Princess and the Frog – are those with multicultural themes and characters. In recognition of the fact that the one who controls the arts controls the message, this article is informed by bell hooks’ methods of critique of racialized and sexualized representations in children’s film. Findings: The hidden messages in the popular Disney films should not be overlooked. The methods of critique applied to these earlier films also have resonance for the newer films, such as Frozen. Applications: The case is made in this article that social work educators can enhance the critical thinking of students concerning culturally offensive, stereotypical images conveyed in the media.
Department of Social Work
Original Publication Date
DOI of published version
UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa
van Wormer, Katherine and Juby, Cindy, "Cultural representations in Walt Disney films: Implications for social work education" (2016). Faculty Publications. 1037.