Behind the Smoke Screen of Publicity

Disney has become a staple in kids’ entertainment diet.  And not only kids, but parents of these kids.  But how did Disney grow to be large enough to be recognizable throughout the world in all ages?  “Disney positions its films in the theatrical market by using various imprimaturs: Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood  Pictures, Caravan Pictures, Miramax Films, Dimension Films (Wasko, 2002, 2003) and in May 2006 acquired the computer animation studio Pixar (Sikora and Harrison, 2006)” (109).  You can see from McDonald and Wasko’s edited anthology, The Contemporary Hollywood Film Industry, Disney is a conglomerate and a very well-known brand.  It is made of so many different parts that there is always something, somewhere.

My last blog post, I wrote about how women are utilized for their sexuality in films and on television.  And for some reason I can’t seem to escape that thought for this blog post, especially when McDonald and Wasko’s edited anthology mentioned Disney and publicity.

Disney is notorious in creating brands out of their films and television series.  One example is Hannah MontanaMiley Cyrus was made to be a role model for young girls around the world.  The public only knew her from the television show that she was on, there was never any real public exposure of what she was like, it was only what her publicists wanted her to look like.  “Hollywood publicists create and manage relationships between film stars and the array of other media channels through which the identities of stars are circulated.  Stars have a dual relationship with publicity… today the majority of stars in Hollywood hire publicists to manage their media visibility.” (174) 

In an interview with Marie Claire, Miley Cyrus spoke about her experiences growing up in the spotlight and forced to be a ‘perfect’ role model.  She says, “I was told for so long what a girl is supposed to be from being on that show. I was made to look like someone that I wasn’t, which probably caused some body dysmorphia because I had been made pretty every day for so long, and then when I wasn’t on that show, it was like, Who the fuck am I?”  At such a young age, and even for older people, the separation between her professional life and personal life became blended when a brand is created and a certain image had to be kept.

This goes for when I mentioned Toddlers and Tiaras last week.  The parents who put their kids through these pageants are essentially the publicists for the kids.  McDonald and Wasko continues to say this later on in their anthology, “[b]y controlling access, publicists increased their importance and influence, becoming “gatekeepers” between the stars and the media (Walls, 2000)” (175).  There is a smoke screen between the two sides, performer and audience.  What we don’t see is what we shouldn’t assume, and not only about the performer, it is also the writer, the producer, the director, and the laborers that we don’t think about in the creative industry that we (and the conglomerates) take advantage of.


  1. MILEY ❤ 🙂

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