Today, I would like to begin my research on subliminal advertising/messages with an image from the Disney movie, The Rescuers. Below, you will find a link to this image that you can click on so that you have some idea as to what I am talking about throughout this blog post.
Look carefully in the window behind the two mice and you will see clearly an image of a topless woman. On January 8, 1999 3.4 million copies of The Rescuers were recalled because of the image (Business Wire, 1999).
Now, what I initially wondered when I saw this image was, "Why would Disney feel it necessary, or even morally apt for an image of a topless woman to be in what is supposed to be a children's movie?". After thinking about it further and finding research on this topic, I came to a conclusion.
Overall, this comes down to one thing: sex sells. Now we hear this all the time, but never really in conjunction with a kids movie. According to Brittani Saab's article titled, "Does Sex Sell?" Disney puts these sexual images into their movies for the people who sit and analyze Disney movies for certain subliminal messages such as that. Saab goes further to say that Disney wants these people to find these shocking images so that it arouses curiosity in other people to go and buy those movies and increase sales.
I think that that is absolutely ridiculous. I do agree that Disney puts those images in their movies on purpose, but not for adults. I think that Disney actually wants the kids to subconsciously recognize those sexual images, and I think that by doing so, it will make the kids want to buy the film. I do believe that sex sells and I believe that it even sells with younger children. I think sex is internally ground into all of us starting at such a young age, especially with advertising how it is now. Women are portrayed as sexy and skinny with few flaws, and we praise that in our society. So, yes, I do believe that younger kids catch on to that even at the ages of 3 or 4 and learn that sex really does sell in our society. So by Disney putting these images in their movies, they are just reinforcing what younger children have already learned growing up.
This is very smart on Disney's part because they can grasp younger children by using such images as a topless woman without the child even consciously recognizing it. By doing this, Disney makes a huge profit off of the movies that they create that have these images in them. However morally wrong, Disney is doing this to make money, which is any huge corporation's primary goal.
Overall, this issue of explicit images in children movies for capital gain is wrong and reinforces why subliminal messaging and advertising is illegal in the United States. Next time, I hope to talk about subliminal messages in ads and analyze the meaning of the messages as businesses try and sell products to you through your subconscious.