The article I want to focus on this time is “The Internet Marketing of Disney Theme Parks: An Analysis of Gender and Race,” by Auster, C. & Michaud, M. (2013). This reading is a little different from what you would expect, because it chooses to look at how Disney was affected by the Internet in terms of diversity. In particular it analyzes “the portrayal of gender and race in the images on the official Disney websites used to market five theme parks: the Disneyland Parks in California, Paris, Tokyo, and Hong Kong, and the Magic Kingdom in Florida.”
What we see is a deeper look into the use of the Internet in Disney theme parks and a study done to gage the use the Internet and online marketing; however, the part that is different is how they go from a different point of view. To reiterate, the study is done on the basis of diversity of Disney websites. For example, the company markets itself online using different images of diverse genders and races. We learn how Disney transitioned from eventually being diverse in films (like the Princess and the Frog), to being diverse in its advertising and Internet marketing usage. We are given an in-depth look at the Disney websites (in particular the different Disney World and Disneyland pages), and how they present themselves to different cultures to bring people of all kind to their parks.
Furthermore, the findings reveal that females have been underrepresented throughout Disney’s history and animated films (as a whole); this is contrary to popular belief since many Disney movies are about princesses. Similar findings were discovered with non-white races in Disney’s movies. One particular part I want to highlight is that the authors conducted a study of the images of attractions, entertainment, and dining establishments that appeared on the official websites of five Disney resorts to examine human characters, human-like characters, animals, and cast members in terms of gender, as well as guests in terms of both gender and race. Because of the fame of Disney, and the influence of the Internet today, Auster and Michaud sincerely believe that “powerful, multinational corporation, The Disney Company is in the position to potentially influence how individuals viewing their websites see gender and race.” If done and used correctly (which they are making notable progress), Disney can use their Internet marketing and present their sites in ways to better represent all people.
Feel free to read more about the study and findings in the link down below: