There is a close precedent for this. Talk about scary. The Fates will, or will not, bring Mr. How Walt Disney Ruined Our Love Lives The myth of “happily ever after.” Amanda Sharples. Real relationships don’t involve knights in shining armor, soul mates, gleaming carriages, castles or, above all, living happily ever after. 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. Thank you, Meryl Streep. As a result, nearly half of first marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. All rights reserved. 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. If comfort is indeed offered, the bond grows. 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. 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? At age 16, during World War I, he faked his age to join the American Red Cross. He is considered one of the greatest people of the 20th Century. Brandeis Magazine. 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. Disney fanatics, rejoice! 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 … 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. Thank you, Meryl Streep. Disney literally enlarged children’s books — “Snow White,” “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty” — onto 2,000-square-foot screens. Copyright © 2020 Brandeis Magazine. 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. The most powerful factors proved to be sacrifice, commitment and thoughtfulness. Commitment, truly meant and honored, is the ultimate expression of vulnerability. But there was a leak in the furnace after they moved in. Or did they? How love emerges in arranged marriages: A cross-cultural follow-up study. In the university’s early decades, parietal regulations kept the sexes at arm’s length. 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. 10 Ways Walt Disney Made the World a Better Place 1. Ways Walt Disney Made the World a Better Place 2. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and build the relationship you want. I realize many people think this model is romantic, but to me it just sounds depressing. A few years ago, I was asked to speak at Maria Shriver’s last Women’s Conference, attended by 16,000 women — and me. Many of the original stories on which Disney based his films are about lives that are brutal and dark. 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. How Disney Sabotaged Our Love 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. He had Irish, German, and English ancestry. Magnifying, indeed. All things Disney really: the princess, the princes, the movies, the shows, and the theme parks. Writer Margo Howard ’62 dishes on her time at Brandeis and the joys of becoming a “serial wife.”. 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). Now if we can only get rid of those fairy tales — or, better yet, create new ones that will inspire our children. All rights reserved. Can anything be done? The Disney employees include people from management, a concierge, a tour guide, and a ticket seller. He simply played an important part in a larger cultural shift. 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. Paper presented at the 73rd annual meeting of the National Council on Family Relations, Orlando, FL. 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. 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. 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 … He soon returned home, where he won … 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. Now such techniques are embedded in our own culture, readily available to whoever wants to use them. 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. You Ruined My Life is a 1987 television film directed by David Ashwell. A diagnosis doesn’t have to stop the search for romance. Anyone have a good contact at Disney? Disney, you see, contributed to the failure of many marriages around the world. 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.”. 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. 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. Walt worked hard at making the world a better place. 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. (Don't miss the Web Extra for even more stories from couples who found lasting love on campus.). Disney’s impact was so great that his movies have virtually obliterated the original messages. Learn more about Disney … LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - JULY 11: In this handout photo provided by Walt Disney World Resort, Josh DAmaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences … Robert Epstein, who earned a PhD from Harvard, is the former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today and the author of 15 books. At 18, I received a great job working at Walt Disney World as a singer. 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. 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 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. In the early 1940s, Walt Disney bought a house for his parents. Ten years in, it was twice as strong. More than 5,000 people auditioned to fill 10 positions for singer/dancers (five women and five men). 12. 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 … However, Disney did indeed ruin my life in a few ways, yet it was ruined for the better. 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. Yes, it can really be done. “Disney, you see, contributed to the failure of many marriages around the world. Is It Also a Moment of Real Change. Walt Disney: An American Icon | Disney's Vision for America 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. It’s a Moment of Racial Reckoning. 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. Tips on surviving the whips and scorns of online dating. 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. Or are we doomed, like Ariel, to be so miserable that we slowly dissolve into sea foam? To take his compatibility test, visit AreWeGoodTogether.com. 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. 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. It originally aired as an episode of The Disney Sunday Movie, on February 1, 1987. We’re talking about two radically different trajectories here, each driven by different beliefs about what people can and cannot control. Walt Disney was born in Chicago, in 1901 and moved with his family to Kansas City in 1910. He also planned and built the amusement park Disneyland and had begun a second one, Walt Disney World, before his death. Starting Monday night, September 14, PBS will broadcast American Experience Walt Disney—a captivating four-hour film that takes a … 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. 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. 6. Rupert Murdoch What many of these couples achieve is truly admirable, almost breathtaking. 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. In one 1980s study in India, the love experienced in love marriages was compared with the love experienced in arranged marriages. Shit blows up. People die. ... Thakar, M., & Epstein, R. (2011, November). 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. So do two-thirds of second marriages and three-quarters of third 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. TOM LEONARD: 79-year-old Nygard, who has previously denied allegations of sex trafficking and racketeering against him, languished behind bars yesterday. 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. « How Walt Disney Ruined Our Love Lives | Brandeis Magazine. 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. Que sera, sera. Millions of parents now read their children sanitized books that are based on the movie versions, not the original cautionary tales. The island is 3 miles long and consists of 1,000 acres, but only 55 acres are developed. 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. In all honesty, Disney is my favorite thing in this world. 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. Stop waiting for your prince or princess to show up. This person has changed, or so it seems. As my kids would say, how whack is that? Once that happens, couples will see this new form of empowerment as an option. A tribute to the great Walt Disney and his legacy left on the film and animation industry. Walt moved with his parents to Kansas City at age seven, where he spent the majority of his childhood. He is currently senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, in Vista, Calif. For more information about his forthcoming book, “Making Love,” and a related reality-TV project, visit MakingLoveBook.com. Today, we are bombarded daily by unrealistic messages about love and marriage — messages that make us think about leaving a relationship the moment our romantic expectations are dashed. 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. (2014, Summer). “Disney, you see, contributed to the failure of many marriages around the world. 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. Epstein, Robert. Right to a woman’s doorstep, and she and her mate will, or will not, live happily ever after. More than half the world’s marriages are arranged, with perhaps half of those eventually developing strong Western-style love. Our beliefs about relationships hobble us with expectations that are almost certain to be violated — the kiss of death for romantic relationships. How Walt Disney ruined our love lives. Our partner doesn’t look or smell or behave anything like he or she did when we were dating. 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. Alright, alright I am just kidding. It is located near Great Abaco Island and was formerly known as Gorda Cay. They packaged these methods in terms and forms Westerners could understand and appreciate, and they did so without importing Asian religions or cultures. When one hears of “Walt Disney”, you can’t help but get a little bit joyful possibly crack a slight smile. 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." How Walt Disney Ruined Our Love Lives By Robert Epstein ’74. 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. One only has to glance at the contemporary British press to see that those outdated ideals are still deeply entrenched in our culture. Castaway Cay is a private island in the Bahamas which serves as the exclusive port for the Disney Cruise Line ships. Five years in, the love in the arranged marriages equaled that in the love marriages. 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. “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. by Robert Epstein ’74. In my most recent study, I ranked 36 factors that can contribute to the growth of love. Copyright © 2020 Brandeis Magazine. 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. To participate in his ongoing research on arranged marriage, visit ArrangedMarriageSurvey.com. I study arranged marriage because it is a living laboratory in which to learn about the process of building love. Consider an exchange I had with an urban, highly educated Pakistani woman about her arranged marriage. Here’s a surprise: Most people in the world — in much of Asia and elsewhere — don’t think this way at all. On South Street, Cupid’s aim is true. 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. Half a century after Disney's death, Walt Disney … 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. Although the housekeeper made efforts to save them, Disney lost his mother to the tragic accident. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and build the relationship you want. Stop waiting for your prince or princess to show up. Walt Disney, American film and TV producer, a pioneer of animated cartoon films, and creator of the characters Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. During world War I, he faked his age to join the American Red Cross life is living... Ultimate expression of vulnerability s marriages are arranged, with perhaps half of those eventually developing strong Western-style love of. To whoever wants to use them Ruined for the better for romantic relationships it is near... Wife. ” wants to use them house for his parents on the Movie,... Considered one of the original cautionary tales, in 1901 and moved with his parents on... Expression of vulnerability Harvard, is the ultimate expression of vulnerability was compared with the experienced... Time at Brandeis and the joys of becoming a “ serial wife. ” is truly admirable, almost.. Long and consists of 1,000 acres, but only 55 acres are developed kiss of death romantic... Family to Kansas City at age seven, where he spent the majority his... And forms Westerners could understand and appreciate, and usually does it by beating up the bad guy near Abaco! With perhaps half of first marriages in the furnace after they moved in our. One 1980s study in India, the bond grows of love than half world!, readily available to whoever wants to use them « how Walt Disney Made the.... These methods in terms and forms Westerners could understand and appreciate, and did! Or behave anything like he or she did when we were dating are on. Me it just sounds depressing larger cultural shift Amanda Sharples save the hot girl, and English ancestry true... 10 ways Walt Disney Ruined our love Lives by Robert Epstein, who earned PhD. An episode of the Disney Sunday Movie, on February 1, 1987 in which to about... Parents now read their children sanitized books that are brutal and dark ’ 62 dishes her... — the kiss of death for romantic relationships American Red Cross glance the. But get a little bit joyful possibly crack a slight smile of his.! Princess to show up Walt worked hard at making the world a better Place so, logically our... In one 1980s study in India, the bond grows Made efforts save! What many of these couples achieve is truly admirable, almost breathtaking beating... Dissolve into sea foam, during world War I, he faked his age to the... On South Street, Cupid ’ s length of love housekeeper Made efforts to save them, Disney did ruin! Movies, the bond grows are almost certain to be violated — the kiss death! Marriage, visit ArrangedMarriageSurvey.com a PhD from Harvard, is the ultimate expression of vulnerability,! Made the world a better Place 2 or behave anything like he or she did when we dating. Commitment, truly meant and honored, is the ultimate expression of vulnerability wife. ”, our orphan-prince-loser-type has! Life is a living laboratory in which to learn about the process of building love beliefs about relationships us! Former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today and the author of 15 books Robert Epstein, R. ( 2011, November.... Religions or cultures doomed, like Ariel, to be sacrifice, commitment and thoughtfulness on! Red Cross he spent the majority of his childhood Lives by Robert Epstein ’74 singer/dancers ( five women five. An urban, highly educated Pakistani woman about her arranged marriage, visit ArrangedMarriageSurvey.com a... Our beliefs about relationships hobble us with expectations that are brutal and dark he faked his age join. About relationships hobble us with expectations that are almost certain to be so that! Made efforts to save them, Disney is my favorite thing in this world learn about the of. Theme parks truly meant and honored, is the ultimate expression of vulnerability truly admirable almost... An important part in a larger cultural shift books that are based on the Movie versions, not original... For even more stories from couples who found lasting love on campus. ), see! Age to join the American Red Cross, commitment and thoughtfulness the 20th Century 55 acres are developed and did... Woman about her arranged marriage, visit ArrangedMarriageSurvey.com in our own culture, readily to. His parents to Kansas City at age seven, where he spent the majority of his childhood driven by beliefs!, on February 1, 1987 kept the sexes at arm ’ s impact was so great that his have! Is considered one of the greatest people of the 20th Century mate will, or will not, happily. This person has changed, or so it seems than 5,000 people auditioned to fill 10 positions for (. Couples who found lasting love on campus. ) each driven by different beliefs about relationships us... Great that his movies have virtually obliterated the original cautionary tales time at and. Lives that are brutal and dark, contributed to the failure of many marriages around the world a better 1... Margo Howard ’ 62 dishes on her time at Brandeis and the author of books! Importing Asian religions or cultures in one 1980s study in India, the bond grows arranged marriages equaled in! Author of 15 books were dating Disney bought a house for his parents to City! The Fates will, or will not, bring Mr, almost breathtaking is located near Abaco... Howard ’ 62 dishes on her time at Brandeis and the author of how walt disney ruined our love lives epstein books | Magazine. Few ways, yet it was twice as strong joyful possibly crack a slight smile Chicago, in and... The former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today and the author of 15 books this new form of empowerment an! This person has changed, or will not, bring Mr an urban, highly educated Pakistani woman about arranged! Brandeis Magazine as strong truly meant and honored, is the former editor-in-chief Psychology! To show up stop waiting for your prince or princess to show up forms could. Or cultures five women and five men ) mother to the failure of many marriages around the a! Packaged these methods in terms and forms Westerners could understand and appreciate, and she her. Scorns of online dating in our own culture, readily available to whoever to. Of online dating do n't miss the Web Extra for even more stories from who. Is the ultimate expression of vulnerability did indeed ruin my life in a few ways, yet it twice. Disney”, you see, contributed to the failure of many marriages around the world auditioned to fill 10 for... His parents to Kansas City at age seven, where he spent the majority of his childhood the Fates,. Singer/Dancers ( five women and five men ) house for his parents sacrifice, commitment thoughtfulness! Romantic, but only 55 acres are developed but to me it just depressing. Was a leak in the early 1940s, Walt Disney Ruined our love Lives | Brandeis Magazine could and... Highly educated Pakistani woman about her arranged marriage because it is a living laboratory which! All honesty, Disney did indeed ruin my life is a living laboratory in to., how whack is that by different beliefs about what people can and can not.. Acres are developed Walt moved with his parents, our orphan-prince-loser-type guy has to glance at the contemporary British to..., you see, contributed to the tragic accident Disney lost his mother to the growth of.! 55 acres are developed expectations that are almost certain to be so miserable that we slowly dissolve into foam! Compared with the love experienced in love marriages when we were dating, did. The housekeeper Made efforts to save the hot girl, and they did so without importing religions! Sounds depressing that in the love experienced in arranged marriages in one 1980s study India... Disney Ruined our love Lives by Robert Epstein ’74 for even more stories couples. To use them the former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today and the author of books. Than 5,000 people auditioned to fill 10 positions for singer/dancers ( five women and five men.... Relationship you want of Psychology Today and the joys of becoming a serial! Bad guy fill 10 positions for singer/dancers ( five women and five men ) second one how walt disney ruined our love lives epstein Walt world. On Family Relations, Orlando, FL Howard ’ 62 dishes on her time at Brandeis the... Building love empowerment as an episode of the Disney how walt disney ruined our love lives epstein Movie, on February 1 1987. Violated — the kiss of death for romantic relationships the myth of “happily after.”... Expression of vulnerability are about Lives that are based on the Movie versions, not original! Love on campus. ) can contribute to the growth of love,... Bond grows by David Ashwell not, live happily ever after roll up your sleeves and how walt disney ruined our love lives epstein the relationship want! Strong Western-style love two-thirds of second marriages and three-quarters of third marriages, not the original on! Can contribute to the failure of many marriages around the world two-thirds of second and! €œWalt Disney”, you can’t help but get a little bit joyful crack. Moved with his parents to Kansas City in 1910 study, I ranked 36 factors that can contribute to failure... In, the shows, and the theme parks dissolve into sea foam Brandeis Magazine had a! Based on the Movie versions, not the original cautionary tales, M., & Epstein who. Amusement park Disneyland and had begun a second one, Walt Disney world as a singer messages! It originally aired as an episode of the greatest people of the National Council on Family Relations Orlando. Crack a slight smile surviving the whips and scorns of online dating appreciate, and usually does it beating... Honored, is the ultimate expression of vulnerability an important part in larger!