Here's my criticism of Disney, no matter who's at the helm of the company but primarily after Disney's death. Marketing has driven the direction of these movies. Marketing experts determined that if you "brand" your item as for girls or for boys, it will make more money. So instead of having wonderful movies for children (like The Rescuers, which I saw in a theater when I was 7), we have movies that are explicitly for boys or for girls. That brings us to movies that lack male or female characters, depending on which "brand" you're watching. In Planes, faster planes deride slower planes as being "ladies" because they're slower -- message? Being a girl is not as good as being a boy (or a man). If there is a female character in a boy's movie, then she's background only, or perhaps what other writers have called a "minority feisty" - an apparently strong female character thrown in so no one can say there are no female characters. I think this is also problematic of the princess genre movies, with a near-complete lack of male characters in some, and with his role being the most crucial one -- to save the princess, and the day (see Sleeping Beauty). The movie is about the girl, but she's still passive and in need of rescuing; another horrible message for modern girls.
|The villain has more agency† than the supposed heroine of the story.|
(Maleficent as the dragon, in Sleeping Beauty)
|Pop quiz! Which of these girls has agency?|
I have had some issues with Disney for years, before my daughter was born, but now I can see the potential damage of the same message of passivity/inferiority over and over again from them. And the gendered marketing juggernaut that is Disney just gets bigger and bigger.
|StrideRite -- girls skip and twirl, boys are powerful;|
blogger Margot Magowan is through with you.
* Massive Open Online Course
† Agency: when an individual is free to make choices and to act independently on them; Aurora lacked agency because she was "cursed" to find a spinning wheel and forced into that long sleep