The very idea of subliminal messaging in movies and television shows has always been a controversial topic, and the conversation heats up when the discussion turns to possible sexual content hidden within the cutesy images of Disney cartoons. No one likes the idea of someone trying to influence our thinking with subconscious trickery, but a lot of people believe that many commercials on T.V. hide some kind of secret message that makes us want to eat something, wear something, and, most of all, buy something we don’t really want or need.
Is it subliminal messaging when a beautiful model wearing a skimpy bikini takes a huge bite out of a massive cheeseburger bulging with bacon and cheese? That’s a little devious, but how about if the catchy jingle about the world’s tastiest cheeseburger has a barely audible voice chanting over and over, “you want a cheeseburger, you want a cheeseburger…” That’s kind of scary.
There are lots of popular urban legends about sexual subliminal messages in Disney movies. Plenty of them are about movies I’ve watched with my kids over and over, and I never for a second suspected these sexual innuendoes and images. Even after researching this topic and looking at all kinds of video, I’m not sure if it’s the cartoonists with the dirty minds, or the people who say they see the “subliminal messages.” Either way, here are some of the most talked about Disney “subliminal messages.”
“NOT-SO-OBVIOUS” SEXUAL IMAGES IN DISNEY MOVIES
You’ll have to decide for yourselves if you can see or hear the subconscious picture or sound that the “message hunters” say are there. If you have an original VHS (some of these are old school,) or the DVD, look for yourself and see if you can see it on a copy you know hasn’t been touched-up, edited or altered in some way by someone who wants to convince you that what you don’t see is really there.
10 Lion King
If the conspiracy theorists are correct and Disney is on a mission to make children think the word, “sex,” then they went over the top in the making of the Lion King. According to a certain YouTube theorist, the letters S-E-X are spelled out over and over throughout the film, in the grass, in the water, in the flames, in the landscape, in the rocks in the trees, in the animals’ hair. Even drawing over it with red lines just shows me that someone wrote “sex” in red over a movie scene, but maybe you can see it yourself.
The most famous Lion King subliminal message is said to be the scene where Simba as a cub is on a clifftop, communing with his father’s spirit, when he steps on a bed of flowers that all float up into the sky, then turn into stars that align themselves to skywrite the word “sex.”
Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Okay, there’s nothing subliminal or even subtle about the Jessica Rabbit character in this not-for-kids Disney flick. She walks, talks, and acts like a porn queen, and her voluptuous assets are barely covered up at all. The hot button for this movie comes at the end of the car crash scene, when after Jessica is thrown from the vehicle her slit-to-the-hip dress rides up and you can see quite obviously why there’s no panty-line in that skin-tight gown.
The Three Little Pigs
One of the first Disney films, this classic children’s tale gets a different twist (or gets twisted) in a scene where all three pigs are celebrating in the brick house, with the smart brother playing music on his brick piano while sitting on his brick piano stool. The picture hanging on the wall and labeled “Father” is an image of a string of sausages. How is that subliminal? Is it that pigs become sausage, or are they supposed to be phallic sausages?
Mickey and Minnie
Okay, if you take away everything else in the picture, I can see where Minnie’s blue dress kind of looks like a man-part, but come on! You really have to be looking for it. Mickey’s arm is around Minnie’s waist, she’s got her arm up around his neck in a hug. Her shoulder is not intended to look like the head of a phallic symbol…or is it?
3.4 million copies of this video were recalled by Disney officials, who stated that the original home video version had been tampered with and an “objectionable image” could be seen in the background. Anyway, in the version you can see online, there’s a scene where Bernard and Bianca are sitting in a sardine can passenger seat on the back of transporter bird, Orville, and as they fly past a brick building you can see a naked woman standing in front of an open window.
The Little Mermaid
Some of the most well-known and possibly most obvious subliminal sexual messages are said to be found in Disney’s The Little Mermaid. There are two scenes that stand out, so to speak.
One of the potential sex scenes occurs when Ursula is trying to trick Eric into marriage using Ariel’s voice. Apparently the minister performing the wedding ceremony is quite excited, if the suspicious protrusion in the front of his trousers is any indication. However, he does have really knobby knees and unless someone told you to look for an erection, you probably would never think anything untoward.
However, the Phallic Castle is really obvious even to someone not out to put forth a Disney conspiracy theory. It’s actually on the DVD box cover, a scene that shows King Neptune and wicked Ursula larger than life on either side of the spectacular, underwater castle, with a smiling Ariel and Eric in the foreground. The castle is a fairy-tale concoction of tall, soaring towers and spires, one of which bears a striking resemblance to…you guessed it…a man-part.