Top 5: Disney Stereotypes that are Completely Wrong

As I’ve been watching back some classic Disney films and even some newer Disney films, I keep seeing trends in different characters. Some work very well. Obviously birds travel together so in many films you see birds together instead of just one bird. You’ll also see snakes as predators and not friendly vegetarians. That’s also a true stereotype for snakes. However, in modern society, some stereotypes that Disney has used, or still uses are dead wrong and I’ve grown up being taught lessons I don’t think really work to anyone’s benefit. So here are my top 5 Disney stereotypes that are completely wrong.

professor owl

5-Owls are really wise. Understandably, birds in general are very smart creatures. They fly south for the winter. They know when a predator is near by. They have a strong knowledge of the land. But Owls as the wise old bird of the forest? I don’t think so. I have come to understand that Walt Disney himself was fond of owls from his time spent in Marceline, but in every Disney movie, the owl plays the smartest of any of the animals. In Bambi, we have Friend Owl, who teaches Bambi and his friends, while also being someone of a protector. In Winnie the Pooh, we have Owl, a wise old owl who talks to Pooh and goes way over his head with knowledge. Big Mama from Fox and the Hound plays somewhat of a motherly figure to Tod and Copper, Big Mama also teaches them about love. Seriously what do owls know about love that other animals dont? There is also Prrofessor Owl from several shorts. Now we are getting ridiculous. An owl with a college education. I’ve personally never come across an owl, but I think if I did, it wouldn’t give me advice on love or teach me any life lessons that I could use. It would probably just hoot at me and turn away. So either owls need to start really giving out advice, or Disney (and other entertainment entities as well) need to stop with this stereotype.

4-Short women are fat. Listen, I’m 5 foot 6 and when I go out on dates, I usually date shorter women and I know first hand that not all shorter women are pudgy. I can count numerous films where the taller a woman is, the thinner she is, and this just isn’t true. Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Hercules, and even newer films like Princess and the Frog all have this theme of small fat women. Why? What purpose does this serve? I understand showing diversity and that everyone is beautiful. In that case, why don’t we have a tall plump woman and a short skinny woman standing next to each other? This also goes for male characters as well. Mr Smee is a pudgy small guy, while Captain Hook is tall and lanky. Short people can be in shape too. Also, short people can get the girl and not play second fiddle. Okay, maybe I’m just playing off of my own emotions now, but still, you get the jist here.


3-Bears are good human friends. Bears have always made great animated characters and like owls, there are several in the Disney lineup. Strangely enough, several of them hang out with humans and are quite friendly with them. Baloo, Humphrey the Bear, Bongo, that bear from Peter Pan when they are playing Follow the Leader, or even the Country Bears. All of these bears interact with humans, and in some ways, become good friends with them. This is not a real life situation. If I made my way into the woods and I walked to a bear to give him a high five, I’d probably receive a growl and a high five to the face, either knocking me out or bleeding from the bear’s claws cutting me open. Not a good stereotype of bears and not a good message to be sending the younger audience watching Disney. Shame on you. Bears should be seen as creatures we watch from a distance, not best friends that we can play dress up with.

2-Facial hair is evil. Heroes are always clean cut baby faces while bad guys seem to have facial hair. What gives Disney? Don’t you like facial hair? Walt Disney himself had a mustache for the majority of his life! This list is huge though! Stromboli, Captain Hook, Amos Slade, Prince John, Jafar, Ratcliffe, Clayton, and the Shadow man all have facial hair. Even Pixar gets in on this game with characters like Stinky Pete and Charles Muntz. I can understand some of the earlier films when beards or tattoos may not have been the norm, but some of these later films should take into consideration that the world we live in today is filled with male facial hair, piercings, and tattoos. Even heroes have them. So why don’t we ditch this stereotype and leave it behind us. Can we get a prince with a tattoo? Can we get a clean cut villain? Seems like we are primed for something along these lines.

disney wedding

1-True love always happens overnight. I know it may make for a dull film, but love does not happen instantly, or even over the course of a week. Sure, sparks fly and we get all crazy with someone we like, but that doesn’t mean a wedding should be happening anytime soon. Girls, take a raincheck here. As a male member of society, I have to say that you are ready for marriage way before we are, and some relationships may last years before we finally get down on one knee and propose. That’s not us being flip-floppy or us being lazy. We are taking our time to know you and understand you. We appreciate our relationships with you as is. So don’t get all Snow White on us and get antsy for that wedding right after you wake up from your class coffin chamber thing. We will probably want to wait and go on at least a few dates first. I’m pretty sure every princess movie is like this and that’s simply not the case at all. Sorry to burst this stereotype ladies.

What are your thoughts on these Disney stereotypes? Is there another stereotype you’d like to add? Is there something you’d like to take off of this list? Leave your comments below!

Josh Taylor


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Posted on April 12, 2013, in Articles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I suspect just a little tongue in cheek action going here. Now pardon me while I go find a bear to play with.

  2. Expect to get a letter from the Federation of International Wise Owls (FIWO) in complaint to your post, lol!

    I agree that love can’t happen overnight/in a week, but coming from a different culture, I think love and marriages can occur much quicker than what the Western culture has deemed the normal timespan. Just my $.02, lol!

  3. Well Flynn Rider did have facial hair and Gaston was clean cut, so there are some flips to that hero and villain thing, just saying 🙂

  4. wait, I’m NOT supposed to try to be friends with bears?!
    Also, you’ve ruined all my dreams.

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