IB English 3
30 January 2015
Orientalism in Aladdin
Walt Disney’s Aladdin was released in 1992 and was a huge box office hit. Aladdin was a movie about a young boy, Aladdin, who wanted to get out of poverty and be something more than a thief. As soon as the movie starts we are hit with stereotypes. Orientalism seems to take a major role in Aladdin that it even affects the characters. The characters are exaggerated by their features, Arabs are seen as violent and dishonest, and the female characters are seen as nothing but sexual objects . Therefore, Aladdin was influenced by Orientalism and is not appropriate to be viewed.
In Aladdin , we are able to listen to the song “Arabian Nights” at the opening credits. The song went through a dramatic change due to how it described the barbaric ways of the Arab people. The original lyrics of the song said, “where they cut off your ear if they don’t like your face. It’s barbaric, but hey it’s home.” (Clements, Ron). The song describes how the violent the Arabs are in Agrabah and that the only way they resolve their problems is through violence. Later on the song was changed into, “ where it’s flat and immense and the heat is intense. It’s barbaric but hey it’s home.” (Clements, Ron). Although the song was changed after much controversy and protest, it still held the word ‘barbaric’ and did not change the meaning of verse.
After the intro we are met with an Arab who is a lousy salesman. The peddler is a very small man with tanned skin, a thin, black goatee, and a rectangular mustache with a triangular gap at his philtrum. The most noticeable aspect of the peddler's outfit is his extremely large, white turban, which is twice as big around as his own head. The peddler sells insignificant objects, finding dozens of uses for the object just to convince the audience to buy it so that he can make money. Everything he sells is fake or useless and this shows he is only out there to rip people...