So I have seen this post on my dash one too many times. And… I would like to be sympathetic to it. Out of context, young boys (and girls!) need to learn that being romantically interested in someone does not mean that you are entitled to their time or interest. And Disney movies are great for that.
The problem with this…
According to the Disney wiki, there are 76 characters with disabilities in the Disney canon out of 10,046 total. Now, this covers every Disney property, including things like Star Wars. I’m not counting Star Wars, Marvel, or any of the TV shows in this ranking; I’m also not counting Pixar. I’m just talking about the movies with Disney’s brand on them.
But out of the entire Disney Animated Canon, there are only 25 canonically disabled characters. Only 7 of them are named, have speaking parts, and are not villains. And only 1 of those characters is the protagonist.
Yup. That’s right. The male character who is specifically praised for being the one hero in the Disney canon who has a Disney romance but gives it up for the greater good…
Is also the one disabled protagonist in the entire Disney canon.
This is a massive, massive intersectionality fail.
If you’re disabled, especially if you’re physically disabled, you are often told that you’re unattractive. (”Boy, you’d be pretty if you weren’t in a wheelchair!”) People stare at you like you’re some kind of freak, and they do it all the time. People often think, if you have a partner, that loving you must be some kind of sacrifice on their part.
Saying that this subplot is good and feminist inadvertently sends out the message that what people are saying is true. That even in Disney movies, where Love Conquers All, disabled people are fundamentally too broken and ugly to be loveable. The honourable thing to do is of course ‘let’ the ‘better’ person and let your lover find someone else.
…I think we can all agree that this is suboptimal.