Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Disney Effect: The extents people will go to to find 'true love'

I've been at university today and have had my third Broadcast lecture. Each of our production groups (ours is called Visage - I was thinking it sounded very french and chic, but it may have been my love for cheesy 80s music subconciously pillaging into my brain) were assigned a different publication and told to find a feature inside it which would inspire a 10 minute-gap in a daytime television show.

We were given Time Out London magazine, which is mainly filled with reviews of up-and-coming events, although one area did catch out eye...

In the magazine, there were singles ads for 30 Londoners 'looking for someone special', complete with a picture of their most winning smile. This inspired a slot dedicated to the extents people will go to in order to find their soulmate - speed and internet dating, personal ads, even seminars on how to become a 'pick-up artist' (no, seriously, look here).

But what is it that makes us feel so desperate for love and romance that we will go to such extents just to find it? Personally, I blame the culture in which we're raised as a child:

As a kid, I loved Disney films. I'm not going to lie, I still love Disney films - just thinking about Mufasa's death in The Lion King makes my bottom lip wobble. However, look at the basic plotline of pretty much all Disney films and there is an element of romance. Not only that, a romance that always works out. Of course, I'm not saying that it'd be appropriate to conclude a film aimed at small children with anything other than a happy-ever-after. What I am suggesting is in fact that Disney plays a large role in what we expect our relationships to be like when we're older and that this indirectly affects how we go about looking for love.

In an age where around 1 in 4 marriages end in divorce, its not particularly realistic to imagine that love can last forever. However, the images in Disney portray that there is a Prince (or Princess) Charming for everyone and this idea gets instilled into our head at a very young age. During childhood is when it is argued that most of our beliefs are formed and these then carry on into later life.

So is the idea of finding your one true soulmate (and then embarking on weird and wonderful methods to track them down) partly to blame on Disney? Well, to my knowledge there aren't any scientists, sociologists or other academics claiming so. But to me it makes sense - watch a load of media when you are younger about how a relationship should be and these ideals will stay with you for the rest of your life. How many girls have you heard say that they are looking for their Prince Charming? Exactly.

The Disney Effect: Causing people to make fools of themselves in the name of love since Snow White's release in 1937.