In all honesty, Disney is my favorite thing in this world. Half a century after Disney's death, Walt Disney … All too often, that’s how we mate and split in the U.S. I’m exaggerating the impact Walt Disney has had on our love lives, of course. “Disney, you see, contributed to the failure of many marriages around the world. Early Disney, like the House of Windsor, abhors strong women who wish to live on their own terms, leaving those traits to the far more interesting wicked witches and female villains. As my kids would say, how whack is that? Paper presented at the 73rd annual meeting of the National Council on Family Relations, Orlando, FL. But the Disneyized tales now engraved in our consciousness make us feel these things are real, even after years of counseling in which our therapists beg to differ. Even though we will never practice arranged marriage, I believe we can benefit greatly by learning how people around the world routinely tame a beast many Westerners believe is too wild to even think of inconveniencing. He did this by glamorizing and magnifying fairy tales that cause us — women, especially — to have unrealistic expectations about how successful romantic relationships are made and maintained. ... Thakar, M., & Epstein, R. (2011, November). People die. He solves the super secret conspiracy to overthrow the government, or destroys the evil space ship, or has a sword fight to the death where his ear gets hacked off and he barely lives. The people represented in the lawsuits and I have different disabilities, and the theme parks have, of course, played different roles in our lives. Although in recent decades their thinking and practices have been altered somewhat by Western media, their childhood stories — the ones etching fundamental beliefs into their psyches — are still nothing like ours. Or did they? In the article by “How Walt Disney Ruined Our Love Lives” by Robert Epstein explains the unrealistic expectations these films give us about love and what these movies are actually based on that are completely different than the ones we know today. Starting Monday night, September 14, PBS will broadcast American Experience Walt Disney—a captivating four-hour film that takes a … When one hears of “Walt Disney”, you can’t help but get a little bit joyful possibly crack a slight smile. Walt Disney World is in memory of the man who started it all, so people will know his name as long as Walt Disney World is here. Millions of parents now read their children sanitized books that are based on the movie versions, not the original cautionary tales. In the 1960s and ’70s, the Beach Boys, the Beatles and many determined entrepreneurs helped introduce to the West a variety of techniques long used in Asia to improve well-being — meditation, yoga, tai chi and so on. Though this is a trajectory that is hard for Westerners to imagine, it is not uncommon in cultures in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Walt moved with his parents to Kansas City at age seven, where he spent the majority of his childhood. Walter Elias "Walt" Disney was an American entrepreneur, business magnate, animator, voice actor, producer, director, writer, and the eponymous founder of The Walt Disney Company. In the U.S., we say, “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage,” but in India, where more than 90 percent of marriages are still arranged by parents or matchmakers, people learn “First comes marriage, then comes love.” Research I’ve been conducting for a decade now confirms that in India and other countries where marriages are arranged many people do indeed build love deliberately over time. Now such techniques are embedded in our own culture, readily available to whoever wants to use them. “Disney, you see, contributed to the failure of many marriages around the world. Copyright © 2020 Brandeis Magazine. Robert Epstein (born June 19, 1953) is an American psychologist, professor, author, and journalist.He earned his Ph.D. in psychology at Harvard University in 1981, was editor in chief of Psychology Today, a visiting scholar at the University of California, San Diego, and the founder and director emeritus of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies in Concord, MA. In one 1980s study in India, the love experienced in love marriages was compared with the love experienced in arranged marriages. Rupert Murdoch Walt worked hard at making the world a better place. After the prince marries the wrong woman in Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” a despondent Ariel throws herself into the sea and dissolves into the sea foam. How love emerges in arranged marriages: A cross-cultural follow-up study. Thank you, Meryl Streep. Maria was familiar with research I had been conducting on how love can be built deliberately over time, and she thought this would be a great fit for the conference, the theme of which was “empowerment.” She titled my talk “Time to Take Control of Your Love Life.”. I realize many people think this model is romantic, but to me it just sounds depressing. They packaged these methods in terms and forms Westerners could understand and appreciate, and they did so without importing Asian religions or cultures. Walt’s obsession with escapism, imagination, magic, and animals were forged on their Kansas City farm under the repressive, abusive, cruel and loveless tyranny of his father who would allegedly march them to the woodshed and dispense his brutal punishments daily. “On a scale from one to 10,” I asked, “where 10 is the most intense love you can imagine, how in love were you with your husband on the day you married?” This is a standard question in my research. Que sera, sera. However, Disney did indeed ruin my life in a few ways, yet it was ruined for the better. Can anything be done? Disney literally enlarged children’s books — “Snow White,” “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty” — onto 2,000-square-foot screens. Personally speaking, it ruined so many old stories and myths and figures that were far more interesting in their original iterations from the Brothers Grim, Greek stories, and their historical contexts. 04/23/2014 11:20 am ET Updated Jun 23, 2014 It has been a been a roller coaster month of romantic headlines, from conscious uncoupling to Dancing With the Stars' crowd-favorite, "Disney Night." Disney, you see, contributed to the failure of many marriages around the world. We’re talking about two radically different trajectories here, each driven by different beliefs about what people can and cannot control. Earlier this year, when you called Walt Disney out as a sexist and a bigot, you made it fashionable to criticize him, and I have a gripe you failed to mention. Disney fanatics, rejoice! All rights reserved. Epstein, Robert. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and build the relationship you want. Right to a woman’s doorstep, and she and her mate will, or will not, live happily ever after. Stop waiting for your prince or princess to show up. All rights reserved. He simply played an important part in a larger cultural shift. Many of the original stories on which Disney based his films are about lives that are brutal and dark. Here’s a surprise: Most people in the world — in much of Asia and elsewhere — don’t think this way at all. He had Irish, German, and English ancestry. It is located near Great Abaco Island and was formerly known as Gorda Cay. Brandeis Magazine. On South Street, Cupid’s aim is true. In the early 1940s, Walt Disney bought a house for his parents. The island is 3 miles long and consists of 1,000 acres, but only 55 acres are developed. Think about the bonding that occurs when two soldiers are in a foxhole, when people grieve over the loss of a friend or, more to the point, when a young couple rides the Space Mountain roller coaster at Disneyland. Appearances notwithstanding, I am not a defender of arranged marriage, nor do I advocate it for Americans; we are too individualistic to make it work. Ways Walt Disney Made the World a Better Place 2. The Fates will, or will not, bring Mr. Writer Margo Howard ’62 dishes on her time at Brandeis and the joys of becoming a “serial wife.”. So do two-thirds of second marriages and three-quarters of third marriages. I believe we can do something similar for relationships: We can introduce into Western culture non-Western techniques for building love — exercises, counseling techniques, videos, workshops and rituals that will help us achieve what people in successful arranged marriages achieve (see sidebar). What could possibly make you more open to harm than a solemn pledge to remain with someone until one of you dies, no matter what? Consider an exchange I had with an urban, highly educated Pakistani woman about her arranged marriage. Anyone have a good contact at Disney? Five years in, the love in the arranged marriages equaled that in the love marriages. So, logically, our orphan-prince-loser-type guy has to save the hot girl, and usually does it by beating up the bad guy. How Walt Disney ruined our love lives. The most powerful factors proved to be sacrifice, commitment and thoughtfulness. Tips on surviving the whips and scorns of online dating. That’s a lot of love being experienced in about 350 million marriages — and a lot of power that people are exercising over their lives. Thank you, Meryl Streep. One only has to glance at the contemporary British press to see that those outdated ideals are still deeply entrenched in our culture. All things Disney really: the princess, the princes, the movies, the shows, and the theme parks. Yes, it can really be done. More than 5,000 people auditioned to fill 10 positions for singer/dancers (five women and five men). Disney has downplayed the arrests, insisting that the theme park is so large that those arrested account for a just 0.01 percent of its overall workforce. Real relationships don’t involve knights in shining armor, soul mates, gleaming carriages, castles or, above all, living happily ever after. by Robert Epstein ’74. A couple of years into a marriage, studies confirm that, on average, our love is about half as strong and we’re having sex half as often. Is It Also a Moment of Real Change. How Walt Disney Ruined Our Love Lives By Robert Epstein ’74. Learn more about Disney … A few years ago, I was asked to speak at Maria Shriver’s last Women’s Conference, attended by 16,000 women — and me. 6. Though Disney Parks today are well-established cultural icons, the Walt Disney Company’s start as an interpreter of American history and ideals began long before it … Stop waiting for your prince or princess to show up. In the former — and this is consistent with the findings of all relevant Western studies — love started out strong and weakened over time, but in the arranged marriages the opposite occurred. Once that happens, couples will see this new form of empowerment as an option. The Grimm brothers’ tales about Snow White and Rapunzel are not sentimental and inspirational; they are creepy and complex, intended to warn children about life’s rough road. You Ruined My Life is a 1987 television film directed by David Ashwell. I study arranged marriage because it is a living laboratory in which to learn about the process of building love. At age 16, during World War I, he faked his age to join the American Red Cross. If comfort is indeed offered, the bond grows. In Giambattista Basile’s story of Sleeping Beauty, the already-married king eventually marries the young beauty, but only after she gives birth to twins — the outcome of his having raped her while she was still deeply asleep. It originally aired as an episode of The Disney Sunday Movie, on February 1, 1987. At 18, I received a great job working at Walt Disney World as a singer. Walt Disney, American film and TV producer, a pioneer of animated cartoon films, and creator of the characters Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. The once famously long lines at Disney World remained short even as Orlando’s free food lines, packed with laid-off hotel and theme park workers, grew longer. When people fall in love, even in Western movies, it is virtually always because they have had multiple experiences together that have made them feel vulnerable. « How Walt Disney Ruined Our Love Lives | Brandeis Magazine. Dozens of laboratory experiments conducted in the U.S. and elsewhere have confirmed that, generally speaking, almost any kind of interaction that makes people feel vulnerable in each other’s presence increases their emotional bond. With every new experience of this sort, each person feels weak and defenseless, and simultaneously hopes or believes the other person will provide comfort rather than do harm. In the university’s early decades, parietal regulations kept the sexes at arm’s length. Finally, one morning, we wake up and realize our partner is actually not “the one.” We have made a mistake, misled, perhaps, by false promises, a gorgeous smile or killer abs. In my most recent study, I ranked 36 factors that can contribute to the growth of love. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and build the relationship you want. To take his compatibility test, visit AreWeGoodTogether.com. TOM LEONARD: 79-year-old Nygard, who has previously denied allegations of sex trafficking and racketeering against him, languished behind bars yesterday. A tribute to the great Walt Disney and his legacy left on the film and animation industry. Our beliefs about relationships hobble us with expectations that are almost certain to be violated — the kiss of death for romantic relationships. But there was a leak in the furnace after they moved in. One of the most famous and well-known motion picture producers in the world, Walt co-founded his namesake company, Walt Disney Productions, with his brother Roy in 1923. Shit blows up. Earlier this year, when you called Walt Disney out as a sexist and a bigot, you made it fashionable to criticize him, and I have a gripe you failed to mention. Robert Epstein, who earned a PhD from Harvard, is the former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today and the author of 15 books. Ten years in, it was twice as strong. Our partner doesn’t look or smell or behave anything like he or she did when we were dating. Or are we doomed, like Ariel, to be so miserable that we slowly dissolve into sea foam? Though some will continue to gamble their happiness on the throw of the dice, others will choose to take control, using time-tested techniques to create a relationship that grows stronger over time, not weaker. My message was that women had made great strides in realms such as education and work, but in the most important part of their lives — relationships — many were still entirely helpless, leaving everything to chance. A diagnosis doesn’t have to stop the search for romance. What many of these couples achieve is truly admirable, almost breathtaking. There is a close precedent for this. Walt Disney: An American Icon | Disney's Vision for America The Disney employees include people from management, a concierge, a tour guide, and a ticket seller. Disney’s impact was so great that his movies have virtually obliterated the original messages. Walt Disney Company Song of the South: the difficult legacy of Disney's most shocking movie The 1946 film won’t be showing up on Disney+, but its … (Don't miss the Web Extra for even more stories from couples who found lasting love on campus.). He also planned and built the amusement park Disneyland and had begun a second one, Walt Disney World, before his death. How Disney Sabotaged Our Love Lives. To participate in his ongoing research on arranged marriage, visit ArrangedMarriageSurvey.com. He is considered one of the greatest people of the 20th Century. Magnifying, indeed. And he didn’t just enlarge the stories; he did some serious script doctoring to make sure we got the simplistic and, as I’ll show you, dangerous messages he wanted to convey. 12. Although the housekeeper made efforts to save them, Disney lost his mother to the tragic accident. (2014, Summer). More than half the world’s marriages are arranged, with perhaps half of those eventually developing strong Western-style love. 10 Ways Walt Disney Made the World a Better Place 1. Children learn traditional ideas like the importance of honoring family and revering ancestors, and they observe that successful marriages involve two people who are actually suitable for each other (imagine that) and who, with the help of extended family, often build a successful relationship over time. As a result, nearly half of first marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. Copyright © 2020 Brandeis Magazine. In the article by “How Walt Disney Ruined Our Love Lives” by Robert Epstein explains the unrealistic expectations these films give us about love and what these movies are actually based on that are completely different than the ones we know today. Commitment, truly meant and honored, is the ultimate expression of vulnerability. Alright, alright I am just kidding. The names in Epstein’s address book, leaked by Gawker a few years ago, are a stunning array of the rich, powerful, and famous, including Trump, celebrity lawyer … Castaway Cay is a private island in the Bahamas which serves as the exclusive port for the Disney Cruise Line ships. He soon returned home, where he won … Even though divorce is legal in India, the country has long had one of the lowest divorce rates in the world — a little over 1 percent per year — and studies confirm that arranged marriages generally have better outcomes than marriages set in motion by love. LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - JULY 11: In this handout photo provided by Walt Disney World Resort, Josh DAmaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences … From both my research and the research of many of my colleagues in the behavioral sciences, I have come to believe this process can be packaged in ways that will eventually empower millions of people in the West without importing arranged marriage itself. How Walt Disney Ruined Our Love Lives The myth of “happily ever after.” Amanda Sharples. Talk about scary. This person has changed, or so it seems. It’s a Moment of Racial Reckoning. Now if we can only get rid of those fairy tales — or, better yet, create new ones that will inspire our children. Walter Elias Disney was born on December 5, 1901 in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Flora Disney (née Call) and Elias Disney, a Canadian-born farmer and businessperson. He is currently senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, in Vista, Calif. 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