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.
I’ve seen a couple arguments this guy has made to the tune of “Disney would NEVER make a character trans and/or gay”, and…I feel I gotta be the bearer of the following news.
(Bear in mind, I am not saying this means we’re 100% for sure gonna get confirmation of Trans Marco, I’m just offering a counter-argument. I don’t know what the writers are up to any more than the rest of you.)
1. LGBTQ+ representation has seen a big surge in American kids’ entertainment, including some Disney properties. Obviously the biggest example is Steven Universe, which features several examples of gay/bi characters (i.e. Pearl, Rose Quartz, Ruby and Sapphire) , or characters that don’t fit in the gender binary (i.e. Stevonnie). We also have Legend of Korra ending with two women being paired off romantically, Gravity Falls confirming that Blubbs and Durland are a couple in its last episode, and more and more instances of same-sex parents popping up in cartoons and live-action kids’ shows. Hell, remember when it was a big deal that the Disney Channel show Good Luck Charlie featured a character with two moms? And I’m not even listing every example on TV right now, let alone entertainment in general (hello, ParaNorman)
2. Disney is not quite as conservative as you think. While there have been instances of creators getting requests to hold back on some things (just ask Alex Hirsch), I think Disney is very slowly dipping its toes into more progressive waters, with the only major setback being possible censorship in foreign markets (and really, it’s Disney, they’ve got enough money to not worry about that). On top of that, everything I’ve heard about working at the company itself indicates a very LGBT-friendly workplace environment. I’m not saying they’re perfect in this aspect, but it sounds like they’re trying.
3. Trans characters can exist in kids’ entertainment without bringing up genitals or whatever you’re worried about. I’d like to turn part of this argument over to Charlotte Finn at Comics Alliance, who, like many people, sees transgender overtones in the character of Tip/Princess Ozma in L. Frank Baum’s Oz books. She was inspired to write about this after reading the graphic novel adaptation of Land of Oz put out by Marvel (again, a Disney-owned company!), and pointed out how a character written over 100 years ago in a book for children very closely matched a usual transgender experience:
One way that Marvelous Land of Oz is not out of date, however, is with the fate of the central character, Tip — who turns out to be the most important person in the narrative, since Tip is actually Princess Ozma, transformed to look like a boy in order to be kept hidden. This happened to her as an infant, so yes, Ozma is literally assigned ‘male’ at birth, a transgender term for the gender they tell a person they are based on sexual characteristics shortly after being born. (In this case it’s a wicked witch instead of a doctor who’s great once you get to know them, but still.)
Upon this revelation, Tip/Ozma goes through denial, then quickly realizes that this is what’s meant to be, and all of Tip/Ozma’s friends treat her with acceptance and kindness. The vast majority of the Emerald City is glad to have Ozma as their sovereign, once she returns to reclaim the throne from General Jinjur. So really, this plot point in The Marvelous Land of Oz hasn’t aged at all and is not only ahead of its time, but ahead of ours.
A frequent defense of the regressive nature of many fantasy worlds is that they take place in Ye Olde Medieval Times But Let’s Add Magic, and therefore outdated attitudes just come with the territory. The Marvelous Land of Oz takes a different path, and postulates a world where the presence of the strange and unusual makes us more tolerant, not less so. In a world where your best friend is made out of straw and you got indigestion from a wishing pill activated by numbers, finding out that you’re not the boy everyone said you were supposed to be is small potatoes in comparison.
Honestly, if kids in the 1900s could handle this sort of plot twist, I think kids today are more than capable.
So yeah, just my two cents. Again, not saying anything’s for certain in regards to any trans theory regarding any cartoon character right now, but I like giving a little food for thought, and I’ll take any opportunity to defend how progressive kids’ shows can really be.
Kitchen Plate - A sampling of three different house-made sides: Iron skillet sweet potatoes, cheddar cheese drop biscuits & Momma’s mac and cheese from Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming located in Disney Springs.
The 2017 theme park landscape is full of innovation and excitement, but it is united by the common theme of intellectual properties. Like it or not, for many of the major park companies, including Disney, Universal, and Dubai Parks & Resorts, the trend is to develop lands and attractions based on specific film and/or television properties. Perhaps we have the incredible success of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to thank for that. For the next few weeks, we’ll take a look at some IP-based attractions coming to parks around the world in the coming years.
Tokyo Disneyland’s massive expansion may be heavy on the Beauty and the Beast, but it also will feature a “musical whip ride” featuring everyone’s favorite lovable robot, Baymax. Tokyo’s guest clientele is interesting, as they prefer original attractions that feature a property’s characters and atmosphere, rather than riding through a film’s story, ala the classic dark rides. (See: Monsters Inc. Ride and Go Seek!)
all of the hype about vader’s 2+ seconds in the rogue one trailer really makes me want to write a sociological analysis on why everyone loves darth vader.
lucasfilm rakes in billions off of vader merchandise alone. people who don’t know shit about star wars know that darth vader breathes funny and is a dad, but they don’t even know luke’s name. there are entire walls on disney property dedicated to vader merchandise; you can buy a fucking darth vader toaster that toasts his face into one side!
it’s safe to say that vader has his own place within pop culture separate from the star wars saga, but how? why do we love asthmatic sith lords? i would pay for someone to write this
Disney Channel is a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company and its financials are internal. That’s how it is with all Disney properties. The theme parks are separate from the film studios are separate from Radio Disney are separate from Disney Channel are separate from the cruise line, etc.