Being self-admittedly frivolous here, but I'm getting concerned about the messages recent Disney movies. I've now seen 'Cars 3' and 'Ralph Breaks the Internet' with my kids and these have messages I'd claim are quite strange. They seem to be of a leftist nature. I found it bizarre enough to warrant a post from me here.
I'll first give a throwaway to the theory that the recent Star Wars movies made by Disney (save 'Solo') are pushing a girl power theme. A 'those silly boys need to be taught a lesson from the girls' message. I'd don't put much stock in this, but the most obvious example was 'Last Jedi' which you CAN make an argument for this. But I'd say the biggest problem there was it was a very bad movie on numerous levels.
But moving back to my primary topic, 'Cars 3' and 'Ralph Breaks the Internet' were installments of series predominantly aimed at boys (the Cars franchise especially). But in these latest entries, the messages of both could be broadly summarized as boys need to help facilitate the success of girls over and above that of themselves. And that message is bizarre to send to little boys.
'Cars 3' literally has a storyline matching 'Rocky 3'. [spoilers ahead...] But in the end, the protagonist realizes that he should set up his younger female trainer, literally mid race of the final Mr. T fight equivalent, and let her win the race instead of himself. They vainly tried to introduce the idea just before the big race that he always wanted to be a coach anyway so now he can coach her.
So the message there is....when the going gets tough, quit and find a girl who can compete in the final contest in your place, and let her win the glory.
'Ralph Breaks the Internet' is even weirder. The original movie had Ralph being a guy with an anger problem who is selfish and causing problems for others. Then he realizes that he should stop being selfish, try to right a wrong, and even is willing to sacrifice himself in the end to save his female friend. (And it had a Mentos in CocaCola ending which was cool for kids science experiments.)
That's a good message for boys. Many movies aimed at men and boys have this message, stop being selfish, consider other people, even be willing to sacrifice yourself for the welfare of others. It matches exactly what society needs men to do in order to have a productive society.
'Ralph Breaks the Internet', the sequel, weirdly sets up the friendship of Ralph and his female friend years later as being a pseudo marriage. And she's bored while Ralph is happy. [spoilers ahead...] While he's off trying to help her, she finds fulfillment with a female racer in a 'better' game and wishes to stay with her. Ralph gets jealous, screws up the game, and realizes he needs to let her move on and be happy. And she does.
Now...this hits close to real life with extremely negative messages. (Married women should move on when they get bored with their husbands?) Maybe I'm reading too much into this. But at a very basic level, the female character acts completely selfishly and Ralph just has to deal with it. That's what he is given to do in the movie, deal with his female friend leaving him.
And if you notice in most movies aimed at men, the male character is expected to sacrifice for the greater good. But in this movie (and many movies aimed at women), the female character has to sacrifice nothing.
Most of the traditional Disney princess movies aimed at girls, the female character independently steps out in violation of her parental figure to discover her true self and usually find her high status man. There is nothing innately wrong with this message because the female is growing up. Stepping out from parent figures is part of that-.
But 'Ralph Breaks the Internet' twists this concept where a female treats a friend or spouse-surrogate in the same manner which is a terrible message to send girls if you ask me.
I'll end with a note that if you live in a society were women initiate divorce 70% of the time, maybe we want to NOT be sending messages of this sort to kids. And if the tables were turned and the male character leaves his pseudo wife to upgrade to someone better and the female has to deal with it, everyone would say that's terrible. But our moral clarity seems to cloud when females characters act selfishly.
And I don't know the point of taking kids movies aimed at boys and purposely giving them messages like 'help the girls to the detriment of yourself'. Especially since, as adults, women seek to marry up or 'date up' when choosing partners (once they've been helped to succeed, a very real result is women aren't romantically interested in those who helped them).
Such messages, and the real life fallout from actually listening to them, have the potential of causing males to check out of participation in society. And just act selfishly...which disadvantages everyone. (Society benefits when men agree to marriage and put women and children ahead of themselves. This has the flow on effect that many married men coach little league, stand for the PTA, volunteer for organizations, live for the benefit of society. Men are not necessarily inclined to do this like women are. Men are perfectly able to have James Bond-style relationships with women for life, and view kids as annoying little creatures who cramp their style.)
I suppose what I'm getting at is society is a careful balance of give and take. Everyone gives something and everyone gets something. When men see that the cards are stacked against them (respect for fathers and the family is taken away, respect for 'good men' is eroded) then they stop 'giving' and women and children and ultimately society loses out. Books like 'Coming Apart' by Charles Murray explore this concept in greater detail. And movies and messages aimed at children should encourage behaviors that lead to a greater functional society.