This essay, from my University course a few years ago will look into the forms of medium that, from a personal perspective, has influenced the public attitudes towards wildlife and nature. It will show how anthropomorphized characteristics of an animal can bond to an audience. The history of stereotypes and how perceptions have changed over time will also be explored. We expect to see something enthralling maybe as a means of escaping from our everyday life. Which makes sense, as it would be tedious to watch an un-inspirational film. Our modern day interpretations of animals are down to two main men; Marlin Perkins and Walt Disney Davies, Mitman says that Disney represents the ideal family through animals. This is an interesting phrase, as the ideologies are perceived differently, yet both give animals a sense of anthropomorphism. As seen in this clip see link 1 Perkins has visited the countries that Disney portrays in the early films. If broadcast now this would end in many lawsuits and animal right complaints, and not only is the alligator perceived to follow its stereotype, but man tries to show off his testosterone levels too. Its focus is on the myths and superstitions the public have towards animals. Perkins uses staged experiments to find out whether they are true. For example, are elephants scared of mice? This has shown a development of awareness about animal behaviour in a short space of 20 years. There is also a use of binary opposites in this film of Dumbo making friends with the mouse and the older female elephants being scared of him, thus portraying anthropomorphic behaviour. It is stereotyped that humans perceive mice as scary as seen in this poster of a housewife. However there is no evidence that a mouse has ever killed or eaten a human… or elephant for that matter. According to Bignell the dominant ideology of society changes with the economic and political conversions. It allows a vast range of knowledge to be available from all over the world without leaving the house. Without a variety of medium, the effect we are having on the world would go unknown. For example, the effect of plastic pollution, as seen in the images below, animals mistake these for food and can die of strangulation or suffocation. Strong images can play a key part on the public and motivate them to make a change. In order for Disney to sell his ideologies to the audience he will need to act upon an already established stereotype. A theory originated from Vladimir Propp — every character has a purpose. Persuasion involves shaping, response reinforcing and response changing and this can be applied to how the stereotypes of animals in the Disney films are shown. In this context, stereotypes can be effective. The audience then feels a part of that characters life; they like to see how he develops into an adult as it brings out a maternal instinct that engages the audience. The public will have empathy towards an animal if it is representative of something important to them. Lions are seen as majestic and patriotic to the British and are seen in our coat of arms. In the Lion King, lions are the protagonists and hyenas play the antagonist. The characters have been represented in a way that appeals to the target audience be it simple stereotypes or complex representations of a character Bennett, Character can mean an animal, an ecosystem or place. If the filmmaker wants empathy from the audience he will create a character that includes these basic features; a softness in facial expressions, big eyes giving a sense of vulnerability, and small in size when compared to others. According to Kelly the higher abundance of features the advertisement has, the more successful will be. If an animal is portrayed in a negative way, and is established at an early point, both in the film and in the audiences life, any future feelings of that given animal will be associated with that first experience. A main stereotype developed from early years includes the snake, represented negatively because of the bible. A more recent example is this clip of Kaa see link 5 trying to eat Mogli, representing snakes perfectly in a negative light. Disney had strong religious beliefs and they are seen throughout his work. They thrive because they are based on a grain of truth and over re-presentation in the media. It is easier to relate a negative behavioural concept with an animal or human than it is with a positive, as you see with vultures scavenging or Pitbull terriers biting, or Doberman dogs being fierce.
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