What’s wrong with Disney?

If there’s one thing that gives gender stereotypes a bad name, it’s the Disney princess: a combination of hideous synthetic fabric and an outrageously attractive concept. And yet, the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutiques in the Disney Parks are popular with families as a place where their children can dress and style as their favorite Disney characters, i.e. princesses or, in the case of a smaller number, knights. .

Now, the Streaming the Magic blog, which publishes about the Disney parks, reports that:

Disney will continue its efforts to be more inclusive of all guests and cast members by changing the name of the Boutique cast members to ‘Fairy Godmother Apprentices’ instead of ‘Fairy Godmothers in Training’. In this way, cast members who may not identify as female can still be part of the process of dressing and styling the children without having to refer to themselves as a female Disney character.

The Disney Parks website now refers to ‘The Godmother’s Apprentices’. I’d say the entire exercise is an exercise in cold-blooded cynical commercialism, whether provided by a fairy godmother-in-training or fairy godmothers-in-training. The stereotype of the princess is a caricature of the feminine that fits oddly with the company’s new attempt at inclusivity. It’s an exploitation of children’s natural love of dressing up (which should cost next to nothing) and it’s a very strange image to project on girls so young. See below:

‘Watch the Fairy Godmothers-in-training give your little angel a head-to-toe makeover that’s storybook stunning. Kids can choose one of 3 hairstyles, then add makeup, nail color and accessories, even a Disney Princess costume, to complete the look. It’s a fairytale moment worthy of the best ‘happily ever after!’

Alas, happily ever after is unlikely to include the parents or caregivers of the children in question, who will be set free from $69.95 to $450 plus tax at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, depending on whether they get a Crown Package, a Deluxe Package Castle Package or a collection of Princess Signature dresses.

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The original lyrics of Cinderella, 1948, put it like this:

Sala-gadoola-menchicka-boo-la bibbidi-bobbidi-boo It will do magic believe it or not Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo.

And it works magic: it turns the Fairy Godmothers in Training into genderless apprentices who will extort every penny they have from parents.

It’s all of a piece with Disney’s activism on the sexuality front. Executive director Bob Chapek had a run-in with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis earlier this year. He opposed the Parents’ Rights in Education Act, informally known as Don’t Say Gay, which prohibits teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten to age 8. He also prohibits instruction on these topics ‘in a way that is not age or developmentally appropriate’.

Critics say this is too vague; supporters, which prevents children from being taught these things too soon. Whatever. Ron DeSantis duly stripped Disney, the largest employer in Central Florida, thanks to Disney World in Orlando, of its self-governing status.

The company’s social activism is not limited to lobbying. There was some uproar when journalist Christopher Rufo reported that Latoya Raveneau, an executive producer of animation at Disney, had stated at an employee meeting earlier this year that she:

‘didn’t have to be afraid to like, let’s make these two characters kiss in the background. It was where she could, basically adding weirdness. If you see something strange in the show, no one would stop me, and no one was trying to stop me.

She also revealed that the company’s corporate president, Karey Burke, says that “as a mother of two queer kids,” she supports having “many, many, many LGBTQIA characters in our stories.” She also said that her son told her that “generation Z is 30 to 40 percent more queer” than other generations and that Disney had better “get down to business.” New York Post reported that he wants 50 percent of Disney characters to be LGBTQIA or other minorities.

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Oh ok. How far, far away all this is from the perspective of Walt Disney himself. The great man was a devout Congregationalist, though nothing as strict as his father, who took a dim view of alcohol, frivolity, or entertainment on Sundays.

So when Disneyland opened, it was inaugurated by a Congregationalist clergyman. Walt observed:

‘Whatever success I have had in bringing clean and informative entertainment to people of all ages, I attribute in large part to my congregational upbringing and lifelong habit of prayer. For me….all prayer, from the humble or the highest, has one thing in common: the plea for strength and inspiration to carry out the best human impulses that should unite us for a better world.’

Clean and informative entertainment, huh? That sound you hear from Forest Lawn, California is Walt, turning over in his grave.