Young Boys and Disney: A Qualitative Study of Parents’ Perceptions about their Sons and Disney Media
Hubbard, Caleb G
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This current study analyses parents’ views on the influence and impact Disney has on their sons. Few research studies have focused on the impact Disney has on young males. This study assists in filling that research gap. Using a qualitative approach that included interviews with 11 parents and the theoretical framework provided by Social Learning Theory, my study sought information about parents’ perceptions of how Disney media and Disney merchandise may be influencing their sons. Common themes discovered from coding the interview transcripts were that parents were unaware of the variety of companies owned by Disney, that parents like Disney, that they use Disney media and merchandise as a teaching opportunity, and that they notice an absence of leading male roles in Disney media. Parents identified newer Disney franchises (Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars) as having more influence on their sons, that their sons preferred live action over animation, that their sons’ interest in Disney products was tied to their ages, and that Disney books and Disney produced music was not as interesting to their sons as were action movies. There was a desire expressed by parents for the need to control the somewhat obsessive interest of their sons in particular Disney merchandise and the tendency for their sons to view traditional Disney media as something only girls are interested in. Parents felt that without the new Disney franchises (Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars), Disney would have limited influence on their sons.