The Secret of Walt Disney’s International Appeal

Walt Disney, a celebrated figure within the American animation industry and perhaps globally, has helped the United States become a global superpower.

As a mogul in the entertainment business with astonishing recognition around the world, Walt Disney had done some great works not only representing the way how America thinks and behaves, but the animation he created has changed international thinking of American culture, customs, and society.

walt-disney

Walt Disney. Credit: creativethinking.net

The animations represent joy, pleasure and happiness, which are more powerful than weapons and diplomats.

America’s soft power is the reason why the United States can sustain its supremacy after its policy failure in the Middle East, the 2008 financial crisis, and now obsessing over preventing negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership with Japan and the crisis in Ukraine.

Although the United States has faced some setbacks in the  past decade, the temptation of American dreams continues to attract heavy immigration to America.

China and India are two important places which attract immigrants to the United States, and generation after generation is molded by Disney animations. This influence allows America to sustain its strength in human resources such as high-tech personnel and low-cost labor.

Cinderella’s high heels, Sleeping Beauty’s blonde hair, and the most powerful weapon of handsome princes in every story, are also cultivating non-American citizens to unconsciously embrace the value that Disney has made. Chiseled jaw features with deep-set eyes and Caucasian figures dominate the aesthetic landscape, and it is this sense of beauty that has deeply shaped our mind at a young age.

To be sure of this cultural impact, there are more white male-Asian female relationships in the United States than the other way around, and research attributes this phenomenon in part due to white male privilege.

So is Disney just entertainment?

No, it is more like a “culture factory” because these movies and cartoons have fed American style, fashion, and the criteria of choosing your companion to the younger generations in and out of United States.

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Until 2011, Russia was still the world’s largest untapped territory by American entertainment. If the powerful government of Vladimir Putin fails to resist the powerful influence of Mickey Mouse, how can we stop the invisible marching of other forms of American soft power?

Hsiang-en Huang is pursuing a Master’s degree in the Department of Politics at New York University with a concentration in International Affairs. Read other articles by Hsiang-en.