Ideological criticism examines how ideas are embedded and circulated through texts, this is a production centered approach. Which is different then the other approaches I have examined in my other posts. This will help you better understand the power of media over our social reality. First lets understand what Ideology is.


Ideology is a set of ideas that gives some particular account of the world such as persons outlook on life, it is a mean of exerting power. It acts as an instrument to extend control over others works to maintain existing power relations.

Ideological Criticism 

Ideological criticism, is looking how the text is produced in ways it interacts with our life’s experiences, or understanding the dominant ideas or values circulating in our social world.

This approach does not just study the text itself but the way the text affects, structures and interacts with society. This is what makes this approach diffrent from others. It uses a hegemony approach, which uses ideology as an instrument to exert power. It is important to understand the concept of hegemony because it explains the issue at hand how the dominant elites and many media conglomerates hold power over the masses and how these masses just accept these ideas as natural and norm.

Assumptions and details of this approach are to understand the media texts that establish and sustain existing power relations, to inform and empower for material change to improve equality and to expose and challenge dominant ides and values.

Political Economy Theory

Political economy theory is a theory under the ideological criticism approach. It is based on the marxist conception of socioeconomic order. This theory looks in to how media institutions, texts, and practices establish and sustain existing power relations, also how the media advance the intrests of the dominate elites and how the maintain control.

Political economists are focusing on the current trends of deregulation, growing power to reach the global media conglomerates and to increase dominance of advertising and marketing in our lives. These economics are doing this through synergistic practices such as cross-production, cross-promition, across advertising and blockbusters.

The main concerns are: 

-the social roles of advertising and marketing practices

-the ideology of materialism or “consumerism

-the influence on our “consumer culture

-how advertising and marketing practices to promote a “culture of consumption.”

-The increasing commercialization of our culture.

Their biggest concern is commercialization and childhood, which we will be examining next.

Studying the Approach

Two diffrent documentaries Mickey Mouse Monopoly: Disney, Childhood & Corporate Power and Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood can both be examined by an ideological criticism approach.

Lets take a look at Mickey Mouse Monopoly. This film gives the world a whole other take on Disney. When you think of Disney, what comes to your mind? The most happiest place on earth. Magic, wishes, dreams. Well this film picks Disney apart for what they really are portraying. It shows how a media conglomerate can dominate a societies relatiy.

Disney has raised many generations, and has had a huge impact on the power to shape our culture and society. Were gonna look how Disney movies, portray different race, gender and class.One of the biggest things that are taught through these movies is gender roles and the norms. This is something I really think our society needs to focus on and what we are being taught. Lets take a look on how Disney raises our children how to be in their gender role.


How to be a girl: 

Any little girl will tell you, what princess they want to be or what beautiful dress they want to wear and one day will wait for their prince charming to sweep them off their feet. But when you really think about it, is that the message you want to be told to to young girls? Disney girl characters all consist of the same characteristics: big eyes, big breasts, tiny waists, batting eyelashes, beautiful, and seductive. Theres no in between and anything less than perfection for these characters. Which teaches girls that to be beautiful this is what they need to look like. Disney shows in a lot of their movies of women using their bodies to attract the man, or to manipulate them to get what they want.

They also don’t just teach physical characteristics they also teach these young girls memorable lessons, they give the themes for our society. In every movie somehow some way the girl always needs to fall back on the man, or be rescued or need their help. I think this views women as them being weak. In Beauty and the Beast, It teaches a very shameful dangerous messages. When the beast is being abusive and yelling at her, Belle is the first one to go back and let go and forgive him for all those things and look at the good in him. I think this teaches a really bad lesson to which myself have believe the same thing. As a women to sweep the mans mistakes under the rug and be the one to make things better.


How to be a boy:

In every Disney movie, there is either a handsome prince, or a strong man saving the day. The appearance Disney gives their male characters are strong with muscular figures, broad shoulders, nice hair and a strong jaw. They must be very masculine and tough. They teach that their personalities should have no feelings, and to get the girl is to just be charming.

Disney always shows how men can be changed, in the same film as before in Beauty and the Beast, they  show how abusive and mean the Beast may be but no matter what Belle stays with him and changes him for the better.




After watching this film, It really showed me how it affected my perception about a lot of things. Learning about ideologies and how to use an ideological approach helps you to look further into the meanings of what your being exposed too. Media conglomerates do have so much power, and society is controlled by their messages. Disney is everywhere and is a very powerful company, they control many things. It is important to remember the messages that are hidden and what is being exposed to you.


3 thoughts on “

  1. In Kaila’s third blog she discussed ideological criticism and more specifically the ideologies Disney films portray. I loved that she brought in person experience when discussing Bell from Beauty and the Beast and her decision to take the beast back, or try to make things right after his abusive, angry behavior. She mentioned that Disney as females we often believe that it’s what we’re expected to do, Disney princesses we’ve looked up to our entire adolescent lives do-why wouldn’t we react similarly? I enjoyed Kailas discussion of the physical characteristics of Disney princesses which I never really paid attention to before. When you look at it all of the female characters in Disney films practically have the same exact build-big boobs, tiny waist, and long straight hair. Diversity in body type is nonexistent.
    I feel that it’s important to emphasis the impact of such media conglomerates. What makes them so dangerous and so powerful is the fact that they own several channels on various different mediums including film, TV, radio, music, theme parks, and cruise lines to name a few. These ideologies are everywhere, in virtually everything we consume.
    Masculinity and femininity is just one of the things we learn from socialization and our media intake. There are so many examples of potentially dangerous ideologies presented to us in Disney films. Where else do we see them and what else do they tell us about how things are “supposed to be”?

  2. Hey Kaila,
    I just got finished reading your Blog in Ideological Criticism. I really enjoyed your blog and wanted to applaud you on how well it was put together. The first thing that really popped off the page was the way you set your blog up. Your choice of format was very appealing to the eyes and easy to read. You kept your paragraphs very short while giving great content and evidence at the same time. I really though you explained the idea of Ideological Criticism well and then made a perfect seg-way into Political Economy Theory. In my blog on I.C. I focused much of it on Hegemonic power of the elites and their ways of perpetuating the norm through messages and symbols. By explaining how this theory presses the notion of socioeconomic order you were able to move onto Disney’s perpetuation of the “ideal” boy and girl. Again you explained how Disney presents their ideologies of gender perfectly by giving examples of gender roles in their movies. It is important to discuss these perpetuated norms because it gives light to how this large conglomerate tells children how they should look and act.
    The only part of your blog that I may have changed was your focus on Hegemonic Power. I am a little biased because this was the scope of my blog but I feel that expanding on hegemony and the ways that Disney exhausts their power thought corporate synergy is very important. Here is a video that similarly shows how Disney presses its ideologies on society through their images of roles and genders.
    All aspects of your blog were discussed perfectly and if I were someone who knew nothing about these topics I would be able to understand them and relate to your entire blog from my experiences with Disney. Your flow was perfect and you really set up your blog well with formatting and pictures while making it an easy and fun read. The suggestion I made was a very small one but in no way was a means to improve your paper just a different idea that I had. I was very impressed with your blog and enjoyed reading it!

  3. Kaila,

    I really enjoyed reading your post and I think you did a great job. Your post does a wonderful job of explaining what ideology and ideological criticism is in detail. I also feel that understanding what ideological criticism is, can help individuals understand what the media is exposing it’s viewers to. Many of us watch TV programs, movies and advertisements without realizing how the message is shaping our society and culture. Another good point you made was how this is a hegemonic approach that is used by these media conglomerates to maintain some form of control and manipulation over its viewers. With the tool of ideological criticism at our disposal, as viewers we can be more skeptical of what we see from these media outlets. Your example of how Disney accomplishes this hegemonic approach through the film Mickey Mouse Monopoly: Disney, Childhood & Corporate Power, was very informative. I like your two examples how Disney portrays gender roles and what it means to be a boy or girl. You give some very good examples with images, but I feel you could have given more examples of Disney’s ideologies through video like this one. I also would have referenced how Disney uses their commercialization power to distribute their ideologies to the public with an example like this. Aside from those two suggestions, I feel your post was nicely done and informative.

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