Disney’s Active Shift in Public Perception

It’s fair to say that Disney is one of the largest entertainment companies on the planet if not the largest.  Not only do they produce their own animated features and live action films, but they also own Lucas Films, ESPN, Marvel Entertainment, ABC Television, theme parks, cruise ships, and the list goes on and on. Many people have criticized Disney saying they trade in stereotypes, are solely interested in merchandising rather than the creativity of their artists, and use their immense resources to suppress anyone who speaks out against their family friendly image.  Disney also has a very long history which means that there are unfortunate examples of racism, misogyny, and homophobia in their films all of which would cause modern audiences to cringe which is why they’ve worked so hard to overcome some of the more tragic aspects of their past.

While Disney is most certainly a for-profit business, they realize that progressive attitudes are something that modern audiences are asking for.  Therefore, they’ve been making a very conscious effort in recent years in order to reflect more modern sensibilities and overcome some of their more tragic past. Both Star Wars movies that have been released since Disney bought Lucas Films have had female leads.  Zootopia delivered a social commentary that was intricately intertwined within the narrative of the film.  Marvel Studios, in both their television and film franchisees, have been pushing for more diverse casts with Agents of SHIELD having two female Asian leads, the upcoming film Black Panther is being directed by Ryan Coogler and has an almost all black cast, and the other upcoming film Captain Marvel which will be their first female lead hero being both written and directed by women.  These are just a few examples of their progressive attitudes being inserted into their productions, but Disney has also tried to support alienated groups such as the LGBT community.  When a bill was going through the Georgia legislature that would restrict LGBT rights, Disney threatened to no longer produce any of their films in Atlanta which is a huge deal because that’s where just about every Marvel film is made.  So not only does Disney try to incorporate more diverse casts and deliver more positive messages but clearly, they’ve also been quite supportive outside the realm of media production.


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